I meant to quickly follow my last post with one more tempered, more consistent with the tone of political moderation that I was hoping to foster on this blog (typically through an active campaign of NOT talking about the election). I was going to excuse myself by saying that political debate provides excellent dramaturgical exercises in keeping-your-director-honest-to-the-vision. But OH WELL! The business of the week ambushed me and left my naked vitriol towards the McCain campaign out there for you to see. And now that the gaffes out of the bag …
Coming to the San Francisco from the Midwest has given me a new appreciation of what it means to be a moderate, which I considered myself even before coming west. But San Francisco’s unique flavor of liberalism makes me look conservative by comparison. Some issues are easy for me: gay marriage, simple. When straight people stop their divorce rates from escalating to, where are we now? 50%? then they can talk about family values. When spousal abuse between straight married couples drops to nil, then they can talk. The whole business of anti-gay marriage confuses me. What god wouldn’t want two loved ones to showcase their commitment to one another? Even if your god is anti-gay, wouldn’t that god be pro-gay-marriage in order to isolate the moral epidemic to a sinner-party of two?
But then there are stickier issues like heath care and abortion that are WAY too complex for me to define my views as anything other than my own, and the super-liberal knee-jerk reactions to these issues (abortion: yes please!) terrify me as much as the super-conservative quick-draws (abortion: you’ll burn in hell!).
There are a few elements of this last administration that I would rather avoid: 1) poor communication (in the form of the classified, the closed doors, the secrecy, and the deception, 2) divisiveness, and 3) backseating diplomacy and compromise. These are my biggies, and back in March I thought that either candidate would do just fine! Sure I was an Obama supporter, but PRIMARILY because I thought that he was better prepared to repair our international image and bring with him a wave of youthful political energy and social hopefulness.
I do not think that McCain is W., as much as the Obama campaign would like to link the two. Seeing W. last weekend further convinced me of this. They are very different individuals with different temperaments and different records. McCain has been in politics since ’76 (the year after W. graduating from Business School); W. only got into the game in ’94. I’ve had my mind made up for a while, but early on I wasn’t too upset by the prospect of McCain.
Then the Republican Machine took over. The Machine, not the Republican ideology. The Republican ideology focuses on the seperation of powers with an emphasis on state powers; economically, they believe that personal decision-making fosters prosperity, business is key, and that a government should be fiscally conservatism except when it comes to the protection of the country. In other words, lower people’s taxes and let them pay for what non-vital services they want to pay for. You may disagree with it, but is it really all that nuts?
Jon Stewart had a guest on once that got away from him and actually was quick enough to make his point. He summed it up thus: Democrats believe in equality. Republicans believe in freedom. Do you disagree?
But McCain the Campaign doesn’t argue the roots of Republicanism because he is too busy promoting xenophobia in parts of the country where it is not particularly wise to light that match. The protection of Palin from the media suggests that McCain’s administration will follow the W.’s strategy of Say Nothing and Carry a Bunch of Bombs, and calling Obama a terrorist of wanting to talk rather than fight…what the fuck, McCain?
And then there is the divisivenss. I wonder if his advisors have actually used the phrase “divide and conquer” in their meetings, because it sure feels like it. “We’ve lost the cities and the intellectuals, so let’s make the rest of country HATE the cities and the intellectuals so they vote AGAINST the cities and the intellectuals.” Gold! But then what? Then you have a divided nation under your control. If he does win, what’s McCain’ exit strategy out of the divided country he’s created?