Will the choices we make November 6th be based on reality or fantasy
Well at long last we’ve arrived at the final week before the Presidential elections and the outcome looks like its going to be a close one. Most people have made their minds up and supposedly there are still a few holdouts that haven’t been able to determine where the candidates stand on issues they feel are important to them. Really? Did they just return to Earth last week or have they been ignoring all political commentary and the debates for better TV fare like Real House Wives or Pawn Stars?
The economy is still the biggest issue for most people and many are basing their choices on how well they think Obama has handled the mess he inherited from the Bush White House. Thanks initially to Bush’s Secretary of Treasure, Henry Paulson, Wall Street is prospering while many on Main Street have yet to get past this recession. Yes, I know. Obama has carried out the second part of this bailout but he didn’t completely abandon Main Street either.
Many voters will be unduly influenced by the distortions and lies they hear from the right about taxes being too high (they’re lower for 98% of us than they’ve been in fifty years) and debunked notions about Obama’s birthright and political philosophy. Despite bringing many Wall Street types in to fill cabinet and administrative posts and continuing the Bush-era use of torture, keeping Guantanamo open and accelerating the use of drones in Pakistan, Obama is portrayed by the right as a radical who wants to impose sharia law. Beyond all of this I have heard comments from people I love very much that Obama is weak because he “bows to foreign rulers”. George W. can walk hand in hand with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia but if Obama extends a cultural courtesy to the man one time, as he did at the 2009 G-20 summit in London, he is somehow demeaning the stature of the American presidency?
Adding fuel to the doubts of some about Obama’s legitimacy to be president is a film recently released with the hope of exploiting this absurdity. The movie, “2016: Obama’s America” written and directed by Dinesh D’Souza, is what one critic calls a “shaggy, piecemeal right-wing screed” and a “crude and sloppy … piece of campaign-season partisan hackwork”. Part of the film deals with D’Souza’s attempts to exploit the fear of those duped by the nut-case, Orly Taitz, who claimed she had proof of Obama’s birthright as a Kenyan only to find out it was a forged, amateurish document.
But D’Souza’s scheme is much grander than Taitz as he tries to make the outlandish link between Obama’s “socialist” father and some anti-colonial notion that he inspired his son to spread around the world, I suppose that in the event he would someday became the leader of the free world. After all, what father doesn’t think his son can be President of the U.S. So what if the father in this case was an African national who gave his son an endearing American name like Barack Hussein Obama. Some just dream deeper than others. Others critics of this film have equally debunked the premises of D’Sousa’s.
Not wanting to be outdone and insuring that his ego doesn’t suffer, Donald Trump is back in the news again challenging Obama’s academic creds. “The Donald” is a bit of a joke to even most conservatives so I won’t waste a lot of space on this here, but will encourage you to read Jean Calomeni’s Snoring Dog blog piece about this moronic move by the reality TV host.
I fear that well-intentioned people have been led astray by these huckster’s and to the likely detriment of our democracy in the future. I have a young friend who posted the following on his Facebook page:
“I don’t care for Obama or Romney but Obama had his turn and didn’t do that good. So Romney it’s your turn buddy! Please do better then(sic) what we had to deal with the last 4 years!”
I just want to shake the young man and tell him that this isn’t a crap shoot. This is like thinking your luck at a casino will change if there’s a different card dealer. Learning all you can about poker is more apt to benefit a player than picking someone the casino selects.
Like so many others who have listened more to the angry and unfounded claims of political pundits rather than using legitimate fact checkers and reading a variety of sources that haven’t had their credibility tainted, my young friend is fixing to make a choice that has long-term consequences. If in fact Romney gets elected and carries out his campaign strategy and promises, this young man’s grandmother’s prescription drug costs will rise once Obamacare is shut down and the “donut hole” comes back.
His own parents’ medical costs will be negatively impacted when they reach the eligible age for Medicare in about ten years if this safety net program becomes the voucher program Paul Ryan wants it to be. He and his children will suffer the ugly consequences of climate change that are so connected to the increase of CO2 from fossil fuels having failed to implement policies that would convert to cleaner, renewable energy sources sooner. We’ll all be getting a demonstration of this as Hurricane Sandy makes it way along the East Coast. It will start to come inland today and meet another massive storm, becoming what weather forecasters are calling a “frankenstorm”. This monster storm that will impact anywhere between 50-60 million people has possible climate change links from global warming.
The climate change link may be more than just more precipitation. A 2010 study found“Global warming is the main cause of a significant intensification in the North Atlantic Subtropical High.” Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman explains a possible influence:
Recent studies have shown that blocking patterns have appeared with greater frequency and intensity in recent years….
While it is not unusual to have a high pressure area near Greenland, its intensity is striking for this time of year. As Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang wrote on Wednesday, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which helps measure this blocking flow, “is forecast to bethree standard deviations from the average — meaning this is an exceptional situation.”
I don’t want to disrespect anyone’s decision on why they are voting for the candidate of their choice but I would find greater respect for those who do so for more concrete reasons based on careful study and conviction of beliefs. In E.A. Bucchianeri’s novel, Brushstrokes of Gadfly, his fiery, idealistic heroine Katherine makes this observation:
“…they say if you don’t vote, you get the government you deserve, and if you do, you never get the results you expected.”
As important as voting is in a democracy, it is informed voting that will garner better results and ongoing participation in the political process that ensures any likelihood that you’ll get the government you expected.
There will never be an ideal candidate that meets each person’s criteria and values and the 30-second ads during the campaign are not aimed at informing you about what you need to know. Democracy is a group effort and one that extends beyond the voting booths. Voting for or against someone because you don’t think he is American enough, or christian enough or hasn’t provided a silver bullet to make everything better is unfair to those of us who have studied the candidates and make choices based on the realties of this world as we best see them.
” … if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.” Pulitzer prize-winning Economist Paul Krugman
To emerge out of one’s emotional cocoon and make a long-term decision that comes from plutocratic influences and narrow ideological views is a fear that the framers had immediately following the days this country joined the world as its first democratic-republic. To make a farce of it is to shame us all with those people around the world today who so desperately want to experience what it is like living under anything other than an iron fisted ruler.