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Political frustrations

This may be a bit of a rant; thanks for putting up with me.

First: Obama/Biden will win. This is now clear beyond any real doubt, unless we see a very widespread incidence of the "young people don't vote phenomenon".

I think an Obama win is a good thing for the following reasons:
1. Obama is black. I'm excited about having a black president. One glass ceiling down.
2. Obama seems to me to be a real political thinker, much like Al Gore. After the blathering idiot we've had in the White House these past eight years, that's a refreshing change.
3. I look forward to having an all-Democrat power base at the national level. More on this later in this post.

I think an Obama win is (potentially) a bad thing for the following reasons:
1. He is very inexperienced for this job. He has zero executive branch experience, and only a couple of years of national experience, most of which has been spent campaigning. He talks a lot about things, but we have precious little evidence of his actions.
2. He has a lot of troubling associations with divisive and anti-American people.

Having said all of that, I think I have to give the guy the benefit of a doubt and vote for him.  But it's fairly close for me. I'm an independent - maybe the only true independent in my regular crowd. I believe that there is trult not much difference between Republicans and Democrats. They are basically one party with the same goal - extending and expanding power and making money.  I really wanted Ron Paul to have a shot, and the way he was torpedoed and character assassinated was quite disheartening for me. I think George Bush is one of our worst presidents ever, and the neocons really frighten me.  But John McCain is a truly great man.

And this is where my frustrations set in.

I mostly hang out with dyed-in-the-wool liberals. If you're reading this, you are probably one of them. And in fact, you're probably seething to tell me that John McCain is terrible, he's mean, he's dumb, he's old and senile, that I have drunk the Republican Kool-Aid on my Obama cons above, and so on. 

I have never seen such vitriol and hate, such a lack of willingness to talk about real issues and have a civil discourse as during this election.  It seems that the default position of all libs now is the following:

Every Republican is:
1. Dumb and /or uneducated
2. Unkind
3. Furthermore, "Republican" and "intolerant Christian bigot" are for all practical purposes the same terms.

Intelligent, well-meaning people must be able to admit that there are rational worldviews on both sides of many of these issues, but that has all been thrown out in the political feeding frenzy.  I have tried to have civil conversations about actual issues with my friends, and it has become impossible. At this point, I am resigned to simply saying "You're right, McCain is dumb and hateful, you're right, please stop, yes, you're right." and waiting for next January when there are no major Republicans in power for my friends to bitch (constantly) about.

So yes, I want Obama to win, based on the merits I have thus far seen from him. He's convinced me that he's worth gambling on, inexperienced or no. But at this point, I mostly want to see if in fact the Dems, once they are totally and completely in control of everything, will just make it all magically better as my friends seem to believe. 

Because if everything isn't better, I have zero doubt that it will still, somehow be the fault of those mean, dumb Republicans.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Most of the Republicans I know would sooner eat their own foot than "admit that there are rational worldviews on both sides of many of these issues."

You say, "I have never seen such vitriol and hate, such a lack of willingness to talk about real issues and have a civil discourse as during this election."

Well, I have. For a long time. When I was in high school the guy in front of me in English class used to write "Baby Killer" on the top of papers he was handing back to me, based on nothing more than I liked Mike Daniel better than Carol Campbell for Governor that year. (yes I'm old!) The guy in question had no idea what my views on abortion were, and certainly wouldn't be interested in discussing them rationally. I favored a Democrat, therefore I'm a baby killer. That was in 1986 and I wasn't even old enough to vote.

In the past 20 years it's been so difficult, nearly impossible actually, to hold rational political conversations with someone calling themselves "Republican" that most of us gave up years and years ago. Being liberal in South Carolina is like being gay in the army. Don't ask, don't tell. Obama has inspired a lot of people, and I think what you may be experiencing is the coming-out-of-the-closet honeymoon. Liberals are tired of having to nod and smile and say "yes, you're right, you're right" to every conservative that will call them a traitor if they speak their minds. They've been doing that since 1980! Now all of a sudden it's OK to like the liberal guy and maybe you're on the receiving end of some emotional payback that's being unfairly thrown your way. That's truly unfortunate, but I believe the Obama zealotry is actually a sign that the political discourse in this country is finally balancing out.

I don't think McCain is mean and stupid. I think he's a dinosaur of an old political system and got the nomination 8 years later than he should have. I most likely would've voted for him over Gore in 2000, but now it's 2008 and the world has passed him and the Republicans. I'm sure they'll catch up, especially if they wake up and see that the future of the Republican party lies with the Ron Paulites, not the neocons.
Oct. 6th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
You may be right, but it seems to me that it all changed with Bush. I think that Bush is absolutely despicable, truly an idiot, and the old guard Neocons around him (Ashcroft, Cheney, Rumsfeld) really are the closest thing to "evil" in the political arena. But it's like we all just got so _used_ to Repubs being just plain _evil_ (as opposed to "wrong" in a political sense) that we forgot that it's this particular _group_ of them that's so bad. We didn't hear this about Reagan, or Bush Sr.

There always been assholes (like your "Baby Killer" guy), but I'm pretty sure that if Mother Theresa were to run today with an (R) next to her name, we'd be hearing the same level of attacks on her (apart from the fact that she'd have to be a zombie to run. ;-) ).

Keep in mind that have been (sort of) a Clinton fan, I love Carter's post-presidential work, Truman is one of my favorite presidents ever. It's not that I'm a Republican just complaining about my side being down. I just fear that we've entered a new era in which everyone in my social group will be blindly and arrogantly dismissive of anyone who doesn't march in lockstep with them.

Probably the real problem is that I'm reading "zealously partisan" as "average Democrat". Just because I read Digg and HuffPost and DKos and have a friend who runs the local chapter of Drinking Liberally, doesn't mean that Joe Democrat feels that way. It's kind of like hanging out with a bunch of IPTAY guys and saying they don't say nice stuff about Gamecocks. Well, duh.
Oct. 7th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Not all Republicans are ignorant racists. It's just that all ignorant racists are Republicans. :)

All joking aside, I think the last eight years have made many people that are left of center very bitter and they are out for blood this time around. I actually feel sorry for McCain. I like the McCain of 2000. The one who stood up to the religious right and was a champion of campaign finance reform. I was actually very relieved when he won the nomination; however, this time around we get the McCain who sings about bombing Iran and wants to appoints radical right judges to the Supreme Court.

I think what you are mostly witnessing this time around is Liberal backlash. one of the reasons I stopped coming to DL so much was that I would hear nothing but the same talking points from the same political websites every time I came out. Every now and then I'd get stuck between people who obviously had no respect for anybody who would disagree with them in the slightest bit. Nothing's worse than being stuck in a political echo chamber.

What I really miss though is a civil exchange of ideas from people of different views. Unfortunately, 9/11 changed everything as the right-wingers like to say. I have quite a few family members who do more for the Republican party than I will ever do for any political organization. I'm talking about the Republican base. I used to be able to talk politics with them, but now I'm suddenly a terrorist if I disagree with them on anything ranging from the War on Iraq to Gay Marriage. And I'm not kidding here.

I will say that most Republicans have brought most of this on themselves. The base of their party has done their best to run out the most rational and decent members of their party. Even the conservative intellectuals are having a hard time because they don't seem to like Palin.

Speaking of Palin, she's a good example for why so many on the left think Republicans are stupid. Not only does she have least amount of experience of all the candidates, but she doesn't seem to bright either. I think the problem isn't so much that people think Republicans are stupid. I think the problem is that Republicans think the American people are stupid.
Oct. 23rd, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
I understand your point, and agree to some degree. However, I do not think it is fair to complain about Republicans being stereotyped based on the Bush administration, and then throw in this line:

"It seems that the default position of all libs now is the following: ..."

Is that how "all libs" feel? I would identify my political views as strongly liberal, and I have never asserted nor suggested any of the points you list thereafter.

No matter how frustrated we get, the courtesy goes both ways.
Oct. 24th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right. I should have couched it in terms of my personal experiences. I did say "seems" as in "seems, based on what I encounter," but please accept my apology for slighting libs in general.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )