Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008: QCI Off Topic

I'm going to suspend my "No National Politics Rule" for this post. I generally avoid getting into the deeply partisan world of Democrat vs Republican contests, partly because I don't want all that I have said and will say to be judged against my political views. I feel that what I want to say today is important enough to risk that.

I'm an Independent. I've stated many times before that I don't believe political parties in general are good for America. I won't get into that now. I am not and have never been a fan of George Bush, so I did not vote for him in 2000 or 2004. Many of you will say that he's not running today. To them, I put forth the parable of the house-sitting companies.

"The Parable of the house-sitting companies"
Lets say you're going away for a number of years. You want to hire a company to maintain your home and yard, and basically house-sit for you while you're away. When you return 8 years into your absence, you find that the crew sent out by the company did a terrible job, burning down part of your home, flooding another part, and somehow turning all of your neighbors against you. Unfortunately, you still need someone to take care of your place. The company you hired before (We'll call them "Grand Ol' Property Maintence") says, "Hey, don't think about the last 8 years; we'll send a different crew out for the next 4. They're totally different from the previous bunch, we swear." Do you give them another try, or do you maybe say "No, you've lost your chance at earning this job for a while. I think I'll try the other company in town." The end.

The Republican candidate needs to be defeated in this election to show the formerly-honorable GOP that they've strayed far from their roots. When Bush won 4 years ago, I was saddened by the results but also by what I saw coming in 2008. I have been a fan of John McCain, and I correctly assumed he would be the Republican nominee to succeed Bush. Unfortunately, I knew I would have to vote against someone who I respected because I believe that the current administration has done so much damage that the pendulum needs to swing back the other way. Unfortunately, John McCain has made it all too easy to vote against him this time around. He's not the man he was in 2000. Actually I believe that he is that man somewhere deep inside, but he's sacrificed his character to win the election.

I am an Independent, but the Republican Party keeps trying to make me a Democrat. When I opposed the Iraq war, they called me a traitor and said I didn't support the troops. Apparently they don't remember opposing nearly every military action taken by Clinton. When I was outraged by the United States of America using torture, I was told that I was sympathizing with terrorists. I hear Republicans accuse Barack Obama of being a terrorist, a Muslim, a socialist. Since when do others decide what religion we are? Now we have to prove what religions we aren't? I'd like to see John McCain prove he's not a Dark Lord of the Sith. As Colin Powell said, even if Obama was a Muslim, so what? Has religious freedom been eliminated as well? I hear Republicans shout "off with his head," "traitor," and "kill him," at rallies, yet there is no national outrage. During this election, several McCain folks have called Obama supporters "un-American", "unpatriotic", and said they're not part of the "real America." I am not some raving Democrat activist, but I am still deeply bothered by these things. I don't see Barack Obama questioning people's patriotism or love for this country.

To me, all of these things are deeper than politics. On a purely political level, I agree and disagree with some of both Obama and McCain's policies. I lean towards Obama's economic and diplomatic solutions, but I also value McCain's experience as a veteran, war hero, and long-time Senator. I would have loved to see a clean election about the real issues facing America. A real discussion about taxes, health care, diplomacy, etc. Instead we've had a race to the bottom of garbage campaigning, led by former Bush campaign strategists. Barack Obama could be a great President. The John McCain of 2000 could have been as well. However, since he seems to be once again Missing In Action, I'll be voting for Obama today.

Whoever you vote for, I'd urge you to remember that both sides are trying to do what they believe is best for this country. Neither side has a monopoly on patriotism or love of this country.


pioneer98 said...

The Republicans are reaping what they have sown for so long. What we are seeing is the end result of Karl Rove politics. Zero substance, just red meat after red meat thrown to the base. I couldn't think of a better combination of no substance and red meat than Sarah Palin.

They would have been way better off leaving the slurs to the professionals like Limbaugh. This is where they went fatally wrong. Let Rush and Hannity and Swift Boaters do the bashing, while McCain gets to keep his dignity. Maybe it didn't work this time around because ratings are down at Fox and Rush, but it did work twice for Bush. I think they believed that McCain's vast experience advantage would allow them to resort to these tactics while still seeming credible. Instead, it made McCain look like he was abandoning his principles.

Who knows, McCain still might win if he wins the right states. I don't think there's any way he wins the popular vote, though.

Anonymous said...

qci just wanting to be on the winning side to flake it around the town.

Dave Barrett said...

Very well writen, especially for someone who does not ususally talk about national politics! As you point out, Americans can support Barack Obama without becoming Democrats or becoming partisan.
With two wars going on and the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression confronting us we are going to need all the national unity we can get to try to get the country back on track.
I certainly hope that at least some of the the partisan Republicans who have been attacking everyone who does not think exactly like them as being unAmerican will take the defeat of the Republican Party today as a cue to drop the divisive rhetoric and join us in trying to solve America's problesm.

Anonymous said...

Whoever you vote for, I'd urge you to remember that both sides are trying to do what they believe is best for this country. Neither side has a monopoly on patriotism or love of this country.

This is the most important point that gets lost over and over and over again in our current way of politicking. Bush didn't start the Iraq War as a favor to his Halliburton friends. And Obama the doesn't favor progressive taxation to punish white people. Both parties have their associated interest groups, but I honestly believe that the vast majority of politicians (even Bush) want to do what's right for our country.

As for how someone can vote for Obama without being a Democrat, I think we only need to mention one name: Jim Leach.

QC Hussein Examiner said...

Barrett is so right when he hopes "that at least some of the partisan Republicans who have been attacking anyone who does not think exactly like them as being unAmerican".

Playing the "patriotism" card is so stale.

We can all look forward in an Obama Administration when partisan Democrats attack anyone who doesn't agree with The One as being "racist".

That's an improvement, right?

Can't wait for Obama to crush any and all dissent by playing the race card---should be a hoot!

Kim & Ryan said...

This is a well-written entry. I also think that your analogy is a good one. I think that if you have been unhappy with the current administration, you cannot in good concience vote for the Republicans again. They had their chance.

Shelley said...

Well done, QCI. I just hope that people will take a moment today and remember Karen Fitzsimmons. Karen was a dedicated public servant who devoted herself to ensuring that access and accountability for the vote is the hallmark of the Scott County Auditor's office. She loved the work, her staff, and the community volunteers who run the elections. I think that she would be so proud of the turnout and we should be proud of her legacy.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately karen ended up an alcoholic who rarely reported for work and shelley helped get her there. sorry for her early and tragic death. too bad the real story isn't told but that is the nature of scott county politics. Sad, but avoidable.

Hannah said...

I am 22 and I'd like to capture my thoughts before America either elects a president who its first 26 presidents could have legally owned, or brazenly subverts the very ideals it was founded upon by manipulating numbers in a final embarrassingly overt goosestep towards corporate totalitarianism.

I am nervous. And not night-before-the-swim-test nervous or even night-you-lose-your-virginity nervous, it's a low rumbling primal panic which I can only liken to Star Wars panic. Disney panic. The edge-of-your-seat-terror that makes you wonder if Skywalker's doomed after he refuses to join Darth Vader and drops down into the abyss, if the wicked octopus or grand vizier or steroid-pumping-village-misogynist is going to wed/kill/skin the dashing prince and then evil people in dark funny costumes are going to take over the world... if it wasn't a movie of course.

And tonight it's not. It's not a movie and yet I feel like Obama might as well be wearing an American flag cape while a decaying McCain, in a high-tech robotic spider wheelchair wearing an eyepatch and stroking an evil cat, gives orders to a sexy scheming Palin who marches back and forth through their sub-terranian campaign lair in four inch thigh-highs and full-body black leather catsuit bossing around the evangelical ants with a loooooong whip... umm... is this just me?

Anyway, the point is that things feel weird folks. I have friends who have peed in waterbottles to keep from interrupting a Halo-playing marathon who got off their asses/couches to volunteer for the Obama campaign not once, but many times. Friends so cheap their body content is at least 1/3 Ramen Noodle who donated a good deal of their hard-earned cash to the campaign. People have registered to vote in record numbers, and yet, something just doesn't feel right. I think we should stop congratulating ourselves for just voting. To vote is a privilege which people have died for, and I think there's a whole lot more to be done for the country than to simply help win an election every 4 years.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man-hours spent on both sides by good-intentioned people who want to make a difference in an historic election, so many resources and voices and energies devoted to a single day. After tomorrow, half of that is going to have been a waste. And I can't help but wonder what could have happened if all that muscle had been put towards something else, and what will happen to its momentum after the election has come and gone. Shouldn't we be donating our money to good causes whenever we can? Helping people who don't have? Dedicating some of our time to contribute to making the country which provides for us a better place? Of course a power shift is a hugely significant step on the path to great reform, but worrying about this election has been a wakeup call for me:

Even if Obama wins, we have not "won." This isn't a movie and we can't toss every greedy lobbyist oil fatcat bigot down a reactor shaft. I think if we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing welfare of the country as much as we have to the outcome of this election, we'll have a much better shot at coming closer to the overwhelming good the liberals hope Obama will usher in, but which no mere mortal could fully realize alone.

Which brings me to the other side. I've heard a lot of people claim that if McCain wins, they're leaving. I heard the same thing about Bush's reelection, and his unelection before that, and nobody seems to be leaving. And that's fine. Because as much as I complain about certain political happenings, atrocities, etc., I really do like it here and I suspect most other people do too. We have New York and Hollywood, purple mountain's majesty and sea to shining sea, we created jazz and country music and baseball and cars and lightbulbs and computers and that movie with hundreds of animated singing Chihuahuas! I mean who among the shivering Plymouth pilgrims ever imagined ordering hundreds of animated singing chihuahuas onto a magical box from an invisible information superweb?

The point being, if things don't turn out the way I want tomorrow, I feel compelled, as a college-graduated adultish-type-person, to take a stand. And if I'm going to leave I'm going to leave. But if I'm going to stay I'm not going to sit around whining like I have for the past 8 years. It's like when I don't clean my room because it's dirty and then I blame the dirt. So in my very indecisive way, before you and your screen, I'm declaring my intention to make some kind of stand in the event of -(Ican'tevensayit)-, and encouraging you to consider making one too...

Jump the ship or grab a bucket?
Wasn't everything so much easier back when the worst possible affront to your values was a PB&J sandwich cut diagonally with crust?

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is that if we're going to stay on board, we should probably be generous with our time and resources when times are tough even more than when the hero saves the day. Because what if he doesn't? And what if he can't? If we're serious about real change, election day should only be the beginning of "Yes we can," not the end.

Hannah Friedman

Anonymous said...

That was an incredibly fair and well written piece, QCI.

I might just put this on my fridge. Honestly, man, nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Last night on television, Obama looked me in the eye and said when he became President of the United States of America he was going to order an audit of all government programs and those which were not working were going down.

You gotta wonder who is going to do the audit and how does one apply for the job(s). I really hope he keeps his word and the audit process is wide eyed open.

Anonymous said...

Instead of putting it on my fridge, I put it on my Myspace blog instead (with credit to you of course.)

Even in all the national blog sites that I've been reading, this is still one of the best blogs I've seen with a concise overall assesment.

QuadCityImages said...

Thanks for all the good comments folks.

I agree that Karen Fitzsimmons deserves credit for keeping our election process easy, accessible and transparent. I was checking the Phoenix election website earlier today and its nowhere near as comprehensive as Scott County's. To the person, probably Keith, who felt the need to insult her after her death, shame on you.

Another person who passed away this year who should be remembered today is Tim Russert, who I always enjoyed watching. He clearly loved the nitty-gritty of politics, and the tactics and strategies of campaigns and elections. Everyone will always think of him in 2000 with his little dry-erase board, scribbling possible electoral combinations. All the fancy high-tech stuff they're using now somehow isn't quite the same.

Anonymous said...

I agree shut the f#&%( up keith for once and for all . . .

pioneer98 said...

I'm going to keep track of the number of times the race card is played. So far it's:

Barack Obama: 0

qc hussein examiner: 1

Matt said...

good post, QCI. and Palin's "real america" comment? well, the returns for the county where she made that statement are not good for her side of the aisle. Obama scored almost 58% of the vote, while McCain scored just over 40%:


Anonymous said...

I agree. All of the Davenport's problems can be traced directly to Meyer. If he would go away the city would be close to perfect.