This post has been brewing in me for awhile now. I frequently post about politics on both Twitter and Facebook, much to the chagrin of the majority of my followers and Facebook friends. I mean, I figure if I get annoyed at the “LIKE IF YOU REMEMBER THIS ONE THING FROM THE 90s” pictures and the up-to-the-minute baby updates (she pooped! I put her in this funny box!), I’m sure folks aren’t exactly eager to click my latest “hey guys, I really don’t think Mitt Romney should be President” link.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably bummed that this post isn’t about sports. I get that. That’s what I “know” and Cavs basketball is pretty much reason anyone pays attention to me. It’s cool. I love the Cavs but I’m interested in a bunch of other stuff too.
But with the election coming up next Tuesday, I had to get this off my chest. Call me wrong. Call me uninformed. Call me a mindless, naive liberal. That’s fine. People disagree. I’m ignorant on a whole host of subjects, this could very well be one of them.
But I needed to get these thoughts down.
My goal is to explain why I feel the way I feel. This is gonna be long and this is gonna be weird.
Every Sunday for the first 17 years of my life, I went to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Hudson. I grew up in that church. I was in Sunday school every week and I attended (and then taught) Vacation Bible School during the summers. When I got older, I played trombone during services and went on youth trips. I eventually graduated(?) from their confirmation class. I was confirmed. I pledged by soul to Christ and meant it.
There’s also a Cavalier connection here. Because of course there is. At the time, the Cavs were playing down the road in Richfield and assistant coach Dick Helm was a member of our church. Every now and then a random Cavalier would show up on a Sunday (I distinctly remember Larry Nance giving me a thumbs up during one service, after I stared at him for probably a good 25 minutes). Mark Price took his kids to the preschool (which was run by my mother), Craig Ehlo had a chapter in one of the books on Christian athletes and much to my chagrin, I once bugged Brad Daugherty for an autograph after a service.
I was a fairly conservative, straight edged kid. I wasn’t super religious but that’s what I identified with. But I was into it, I was interested. I mean, that people in the Old Testament lived to be 900 years old fascinated 9-year-old Ben. I took this shit seriously. If I could’ve voted in 2000, I would’ve voted for Bush.
I also liked the message every Sunday: “Do unto others”, “don’t bear false witness”, “the meek shall inherit the earth”, you know, stuff like this:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
In short, don’t be an asshole. Especially to poor people, because then you’re being an asshole to Jesus.
But I did have some issues with the doctrine. I could never get past the “if you’re not a Christian, you’re going to hell” stuff. Sure, you can live a good, honest life as a Hindu, (love your neighbors, help the poor, etc), but since you chose to believe the religion of your ancestors and your community, as opposed to some stranger who was trying to convert you to Christianity, you were going to spend eternity in hell. God was going to damn millions (billions?) to eternal damnation? Really?
My confirmation teacher really got on me for reading fantasy novels (which, if you know anything about me, I enjoy them very much). She would tell me not to read them “because they may trick you into believing that they’re real and you’re in that world.” We also got the D&D speech. I was dumbfounded. If I read a book of fiction and then believe that I’m inhabiting that world and that the characters are real, that’s a not a problem with the book, that’s a problem with me.
Like many many many many people, I grew away from church in college. I had been forwarded one too many of those “it’s the gays and the liberals to blame for 9/11!” emails and wasn’t particularly enamored with the folks who publicly called themselves Christians. Plus, there was an anti-abortion group that drove around campus in a billboard truck that displayed giant pictures of aborted fetuses. Way to take a sledge hammer to a delicate issue, assholes.
I’ll never forget the letter to the editor that ran in the PD after Hudson was hit with a bad flood. A kid from my high school died in that flood; he jumped into electrified water to save an elderly man, who he thought was drowning. The letter’s author, self-proclaimed Christian, blamed the flood on the fact that downtown Hudson held a “Harry Potter festival” for a book release and God was punishing the town.
The Bush years were weird.
Finally, and most importantly, during my freshman year, my church’s youth pastor, my favorite person in the church, the one person I’d have deep religious conversations with, committed suicide.
That’ll make you question a few things.
There are three charts that sum up the 2012 election for me.
1. The recession that Barack Obama inherited was really fucking bad.
2. The long term deficit problem wasn’t caused by Barack Obama’s policies.
3. Obama’s policies haven’t made things worse.
Also, I lied. There’s totally more charts that sum up this election for me. Like all this stuff on growing inequality in America; the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Mitt Romney, behind closed doors, says he doesn’t care about half of the country (the poor half! Like Jesus wanted!).
I’m not going to say Obama is perfect or that I support him on everything. There’s plenty of reasons to dislike Obama. But if you can’t decide between Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan, you haven’t been paying attention. There are major difference between the parties:
In fact, this election is really about whether the New Deal and its descendant, the Great Society, will survive or whether they will be dismantled. And that is historic.
What does dismantling the New Deal and Great Society mean? It means converting Medicare from guaranteed medical insurance to a possible privately run system of health procurement. It means Medicaid could be capped, which could strip millions of children of their healthcare. It means scaling back financial regulation. It means poverty programs, like food stamps, may be cut dramatically. It means the Davis-Bacon Act, insuring that workers on government projects receive the prevailing wage, could be revoked. It means the end of subsidies for public transportation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and, of course, the Public Broadcasting System. It even means slashing disaster relief.
All these cuts, and so many more, are enumerated in the Ryan budget. More, they are a systematic program to gut government action – action that has accreted for decades to meet public needs.
Yes, both sides suck. Politics is awful! It’s so boring! I totally get that. But this is the choice we have, not the choice we wish we had. I agree more with Jill Stein than I do Barack Obama. But if Jill Stein got elected, she’d have no allies in Congress. No political infrastructure. Would she really be able to advance causes I believe in if she had no institutional support? I don’t think so.
Sometimes you have to grow up and make a decision between two shitty choices. No candidate is going to pander to your every issue. That’s fucking life as an adult.
It is simple, compelling logic. We have two major political parties. Until that great gettin’-up morning, when purists on both sides of the ideological ditch manage to create workable third parties that look like something more substantial than organized unicorn hunts — which won’t happen until we have proportional voting, and I wish you as much luck with that as Lani Guinier had — we always will have two major political parties. One of them is inexcusably timid and tied in inexcusably tight with the big corporate money. The other one is demented.
This is not “fear” talking. I watched the Republican primaries. I went to the debates. I saw long-settled assumptions about the nature of representative democracy thrown down and danced upon. I heard long-established axioms of the nature of a political commonwealth torn to shreds and thrown into the perfumed air. I saw people seriously arguing for an end to the social safety net, to any and all federal environmental regulations, to the concept of the progressive income tax, and to American participation in the United Nations, the latter on the grounds that a one-world government threatens our “liberty” with its insurance-friendly national health-care reform bill. I saw Rick Santorum base his entire foreign policy on the legend of the 12th Imam, and I saw Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann actually be front-runners for a while. I saw all of this and I knew that each one of them had a substantial constituency behind them within the party for everything they said, no matter how loopy. When you see a lunatic wandering down the sidewalk, howling at the moon and waving a machete, it is not fear that makes you step inside your house and lock the door. It is the simple logic of survival. Fear is what keeps you from trying to tackle the guy and wrestle the machete away from him. And, as much as it may pain some people to admit it, the president is the only one stepping up to do that at the moment.
I know that the liberals have their crazies. I just don’t think that they’re anywhere near as dangerous as the other side. PETA and Code Pink aren’t exactly influencing Democratic elected officials. The liberal media helpfully explains how both sides are equally nuts:
The conservative “conspiracy theories” are: 1) That (black) Obama supporters will riot nationwide if he loses and that Obama will then declare martial law and refuse to leave office. 2) That Obama is secretly planning to seize all American guns. 3) That Obama will “hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N.”
The liberal “conspiracy theories” are: 1) That the Republican are attempting voter suppression of black citizens on a massive scale. 2) That if Republicans win they will … weaken reproductive rights for women.
I know these all sound like totally crazy, out-there notions, but look carefully: Do you see any differences between those two sets of nutty apocalyptic idea? Here is a hint: One set of them is made up of actual stated Republican Party policy goals. Goals that they have acted on with legislation in multiple states.
They’ve [The State of Pennsylvania] formally acknowledged that there’s been no reported in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and there isn’t likely to be in November.
The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”
Additionally, the agreement states Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absense of the Photo ID law.”
And in Ohio, Sec of State Jon Husted is busting his ass to make sure that Ohio’s early voting doesn’t help African Americans.
The Romney campaign says, out loud, that they won’t be dictated by fact checkers. Seriously. Think about that. They aren’t lying. The Romney campaign is doctoring photos to make a campaign rally look bigger. When called out on his tax plan, Romney cites sources and studies that proves that it DOES TO add up, then it turns out those studies are blog posts. And then there’s his shifting position on abortion.
Romney will often say something in a debate or a rally, only to have his campaign walk it back hours later (not an accident). Even at this late stage of his campaign, he’s lying about Jeep moving Ohio jobs to China and he keeps airing these wholly discredited ads on welfare.
It’s no secret why Romney keeps pushing the welfare stuff. It’s the same reason why Newt Gingrich happily labels Obama “the food stamp President”. These are racially loaded phrases. It’s called “dog whistle politics”. They’re trying to “otherize” Obama. From Lee Atwater, who ran campaigns for Nixon and Reagan, on the Southern Strategy:
“You start out in 1954 by saying ‘n—–, n—–, n—–.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—–‘ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now (that) you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic … because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘n—–, n—–.”
This shit is on purpose. Romney surrogate John Sununu routinely goes on (liberal!) TV and says things like Colin Powell endorsed Obama because he’s black or that Obama is a foreign drug addict or that he’s lazy or that he doesn’t know how to be American. This is not an accident. Nevermind the fucking birther shit.
* Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism
* How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter
* Godless: The Church of Liberalism
* If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans
* Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America
According to Ann Coulter, liberals are demonic, treasonous, dumb, victims and godless. Coulter says a lot of hateful things, and, for her efforts, the (liberal!) media puts her on the cover of their magazines and on their cable news shows.
When Michael Moore, the “liberal equivalent” of Ann Coulter (and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, etc. Moore is super fat, so apparently he counts as the equivalent for every RW asshole) gets on the cover of (liberal!) magazines, they ask a different question entirely, like “is this good for America”.
But the media aren’t the only ones biased against Republicans:
- The polls are biased against Republicans!
- Nate Silver is especially biased!
- Academia is biased against Republicans!
- Whites suffer more discrimination that blacks!
- America is discriminating against Christians!
- The Congressional Budget Office is biased against Republicans!
- The Department of Homeland security is biased against Republicans!
- Global Warming is a multinational conspiracy theory!
When Jack Welch makes an unsubstantiated tweet saying Obama cooked the job numbers, he immediately gets booked on all the (liberal!) cable news shows. Whatever the right wing bitches about, no matter how full of shit, the media covers it.
Look how the (liberal!) media bends over backwards to avoid calling Paul Ryan a liar. This is 30 years of “working the refs” in action. If they call Ryan a liar, they’ll be labeled “liberal”. To not appear liberal and piss off the legions ditto-heads, they won’t call a lie a lie.
I also love when MSNBC is supposed to be the mirror image of Fox. Right.
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Chaos on Bulls**t Mountain – Video Distractions|
I see over and over again that Obama has failed and he hasn’t gotten anything done. And that’s because Obama is totally too partisan. He broke his promise to bring Washington together! Totally Obama’s fault:
Under Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43, the Senate confirmed between 79 and 93 percent of the judicial nominees put forward during each administration’s first 18 months. The confirmation rate under Obama? Forty-three percent, or roughly half the historical norm. In 1981, 37 Senate Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts; 20 years later, 12 Senate Democrats voted for George W. Bush’s. In contrast, Obama pushed seven major bills before Republicans took control of the House in 2011. They received only 15 Republican votes—total.
Since then, very few challenging pieces of legislation have even reached the floor of the Senate, thanks to the GOP’s record-shattering reliance on the filibuster. In the last three sessions of Congress, Republicans have threatened to filibuster on 385 separate occasions—equaling, in five short years, the total number of filibuster threats to seize the Senate during the seven decades from the start of World War I until the end of Reagan administration. A recent study showed that post-2007, with Republicans in the minority, threatened or actual filibusters have affected 70 percent of major legislation. In the 1980s, that number was 27 percent. In the 1960s, it was 8 percent. “This level of obstruction is extremely unusual,” says Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “And the core of the problem is the GOP.”
Every time I hear about Obama’s “failed policies,” from the guy running on the policies of George W. Bush (MOAR TAX CUTS AND WARS), I lose a little bit of my mind. All I hear “he didn’t clean up our mess quick enough!” Nevermind that this is a global fucking recession or that the Republicans “cut everything” policies are failing over in Europe.
I can fully admit that both sides of the aisle can suck. But that they suck equally or that both parties are equally to blame is just as much of a bias as “choosing a side.” Sometimes in life, someone is right and someone is wrong. Sometimes there are major differences between that Turd Sandwich and the Giant Douche.
The best pro Romney argument I’ve heard is that he probably really doesn’t believe the things he’s saying. “He’s probably lying” is a pretty fucked up reason to vote for a Presidential candidate, but here we are. David Frum goes a step further:
The question over his head is not a question about him at all. It’s a question about his party – and that question is the same whether Romney wins or loses. The congressional Republicans have shown themselves a destructive and irrational force in American politics. But we won’t reform the congressional GOP by re-electing President Obama. If anything, an Obama re-election will not only aggravate the extremism of the congressional GOP, but also empower them: an Obama re-election raises the odds in favor of big sixth-year sweep for the congressional GOP – and very possibly a seventh-year impeachment. A Romney election will at least discourage the congressional GOP from deliberately pushing the US into recession in 2013. Added bonus: a Romney presidency likely means that the congressional GOP will lose seats in 2014, as they deserve.
If Obama wins, the GOP will hold the country hostage. Therefor, we must vote for the party of the hostage takers.
Well ya, not when you fill it with assholes.
I voted early this past Monday. I stood in the rain, in downtown Akron, and voted for the guy that billionaires hate. I voted for the guy who tried to get more Americans to have access to health care (I feel Jesus would approve). I voted for the guy with a sensible tax plan, the one that won’t decimate programs for the poor.
I wasn’t as excited as I was in 2008, but I feel good about my vote. Even though it could very well damn me to hell.