Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two Evils

Nah, I don't actually think either Obama or McCain are evil but I don't like 'em neither. It's so late and I'm exhausted but I have to record my observations and conclusions of the debate or I will hate myself tomorrow.

I've been really riding the fence this whole election season. I refuse to have anything to do with the major parties and in fact utterly despise the bi-partisan system. My mother is a Democrat-turned-Republican and my father is something like a radically constitutional alt-energist conservative with Libertarian leanings. They have instilled in me an understanding that one of the fundamental ideas America was founded on is that government is a necessary evil and therefore should have a smaller rather than a larger role in the lives of citizens. Another is that all the power within a country and, following, its responsibility, stems from and ultimately lies with us, the citizens. Not the state.

Tonight, after watching and listening to both candidates, I still am really borderline. Both candidates managed at times to utterly impress me, and at other times completely disappoint me. However I did arrive at two new conclusions. 1. I really can't stand McCain - his "stage presence" is horrible and he's a pompous braggart. 2. I'd feel safer with McCain leading the country than Obama.

This is why: Obama, for all his smooth speech, intelligence and even sincerity, is Democratic to the very core. He has many, many grand ideas, for increasing volunteer opportunities, bailing out various people groups in need, and extending financial help to struggling countries, etc. etc. And yet, he claims he's going to reduce our net spending. As many projects tonight he suggested funding, he did not elaborate on one solid idea for where to cut. Except, of course, cutting taxes for "95% of working Americans." Oh wait, that's less money to spend on these government projects, not more. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the government siphoning money off of my honest labor any more than the next person, but where does he expect the money for all these great dreams to come from? Are we supposed to just print it up and get bit in the butt by inflation?

McCain brought up Obama's vote for a 3-million dollar projector for a Chicago planetarium. My Democratic friends, with whom I was watching the debate (at Hub-Bub), considered that an irrelevant attack. But it brought to light Obama's fundamental belief about the government's role in society. To him, it was the federal government's responsibility to write legislation to give one projector to one planetarium. As much as I'm sure that planetarium really needed that projector and it benefited a bunch of people, I do not believe that a law should have been written about it, or that it was the Fed's responsibility to think about it in the first place.

McCain acknowledged that we will need to make sacrifices to get through this economic crisis. He indicated broad measures to cut back on federal spending "across the board." Obama attacked this, saying McCain wanted to use a "hatchet" while he would use a "scalpel" to only cut spending where it wouldn't hurt "everyday people." It appears his plan for getting us out of this economic hole is to generously fund new projects while tiptoeing around shaving money off of certain projects he doesn't like.

As much as I hated the way McCain kept plugging himself as a reformer (thank heavens he managed to completely avoid the term "maverick" this time) and harping on his "record," he made a solid point when he stressed his willingness to step across party lines and even challenge those whom he respected the most when he felt they were wrong. While I admit, it was just what America needed to hear in order to vote for a Republican after Bush, I believe he means it. Obama made no effort to challenge the claim that he has never challenged Democratic orthodoxy. Independent thinkers (an ever-increasing percentage of Americans) need to know that a president is willing to take off his red- or blue- tinted glasses if there's a chance they are hindering his ability to make the best choice.

On the flipside, I believe Obama truly understands cooperative leadership and the importance of building on one anothers' strengths. I am not sure how much Mr. Maverick will trust and rely on the experience and expertise of those around him. Or inspire the average citizen for that matter. One thing Barack certainly has is the ability to inspire and coordinate grassroots leaders and ordinary people, to tap the strengths of the citizens to effect change in their immediate surroundings. If only he would use that power to advocate a radical rethinking of the "American lifestyle"; sustainability on the family front, environmentally-aware consumer & transportation choices, healthy financial habits, physical wellness...but after tonight, I just don't think such advocacy would make it onto his priority list. It's not Democratic enough.

Like I said before, I'm still not deeply committed. I may choose to wield my vote against the tyranny of bi-partisan politics. But it's looking more and more like I won't be voting for Obama. Even though something in my gut tells me he's going to win. He is charismatic, sharp, a visionary perhaps. As the figurehead of our country, I think he could inspire a lot of people towards doing whatever they could to change the world for the better. But as its leader, I believe his choices would only benefit the short term, leaving us deeper in debt than ever. Like a few other "great" presidents that come to mind, Obama, praised by future generations as a "hero", would create and then step untainted from a huge mess that his unfortunate successors would spend entire terms trying to clean up.


  1. both of these people are pro establishment and puppets of their party. I think we are in big trouble either way. Ron Paul! (politics are so draining)

  2. ~ Both pro-establishment, pro-war, pro-draft, pro-globalism, and pro-status quo. Despite all the lip service about change, they want to perpetuate the current debacle of increased national debt. Our economy and currency is backed by nothing, but that doesn't mean we can prolong the inevitable self destruction of the system forever. Our current economic system was set up to fail from the get-go, created to rob us of our capitol. There is no solution other then changing the system fundamentally, and that's a threat to everyones current lifestyle, which people are scared to death of, hence it's political suicide, and these guys are only concerned with winning and not about the well being of the public.

    ~ Politicians are really irrelevant honestly, because we live in a monetary based society there can never be ethics, or plenty, or peace, not when profits are the focus. A profit based society must have scarcity, suffering, and eminence need, supply and demand 101.

    ~ Fundamental change is needed unlike the world has never seen. In reality we could automate all jobs with current technology doing away with the need for work and for money. Sounds crazy I know, unimaginable. This would restructure things to where greed would be out of the picture, no need for wars, no need for suffering, or the endless toil of voluntary servitude. The corporations have taken over the world, everything is a priced resource, even people, in our current standing.

    ~ I think this is where the future is headed, maybe not overnight, and we'll probably face a lot of turmoil before we get there, but I see it on the horizon. There is a really fascinating documentary about all of this stuff, and I wish everyone could watch it, everyone needs to anyway. It's one of those that really put me through days of really deep thought. I seldom come across a film that effects me in such a way.

    ~ So here's the link, it's two hours, but it'll amaze, astonish, and, all in the same, make you disgusted with the way things are by showing you how it could be. Please watch it with an open mind>

    ~ The first big chunk explains thoroughly our economic system (more interesting then it sounds) and the end talks about a new resource based kind of society. (fascinating)


  3. ~ I was thinking about this and thought I should add, when you watch this film, or if you watch this film rather, don't think I agree 100% with everything it says, I'm actually very suspicious of some parts of it, maybe even the thing as a whole, but I thought it was very thought provoking at least, and, if you do have time to watch it, then I'd like to hear your thoughts. The economic part of it is right on, but the whole futuristic utopia aspect is something I'd like to hear other peoples opinions on.

    .. I'm totally asking around about this to people like yourself who would probably have different takes on it then I would, as to provoke even more thought about it.

    ~ I concur with Peter above about Ron Paul by the way, but yeah, Paul kinda passed the buck to Chuck Baldwin, but I'm still debating on him, or even a little more leaning towards Ralph Nader, but still up in the air. Either or though.

  4. Can't say I agree with pretty much any of what you said, but it's still nice to see people thinking and writing about the election. It's a nice well written post.

  5. Nice post. If we can arrange it, we should have another impromptu blog meet-up before the election, with the express purpose of having a nice, cross-blogger argument about the role of government in our society. I'll play the Chomsky-loving social libertarian from the revisionist liberal media, if no one minds.

    Oh, and we picked this post for the Blog Report on SpartanburgSpark.com, by the way.

  6. Lydia, I love you, but I can't say I agree with you. I have feared asking you about your political leanings because I wasn't sure I would want to hear it. It's good to know that you "really can't stand McCain," but the fact that you'll probably vote for him anyway is a little disheartening. I still feel like Obama will be the best thing to happen to our country in years. Unfortunately, he will be inheriting a mess that is so horrible that it may be nearly impossible to clean up in 4 years or even 8. The person who inherits this mess has a lot of work cut out for him, and I have faith that Obama will handle it with more grace and peace than McCain.

    Although McCain has "stepped across party lines," he has done so to support democratic values rather than the skewed values of his own party. Obama has not needed to cross lines so much, as his values have already been where they need to be.

    You mentioned in regards to Obama's leadership and inspirational abilities, "If only he would use that power to advocate a radical rethinking of the 'American lifestyle'; sustainability on the family front, environmentally-aware consumer & transportation choices, healthy financial habits, physical wellness..." That is exactly what he has been proposing to do. He has been promoting those values since he began his campaign. I fully believe he will follow through.

    Although I don't dislike McCain, and I've actually enjoyed his sense of humor and his appearances on The Daily Show, I do not want to see him lead our country. Although he is not George W. Bush, he has supported his policies much more frequently than I would like. His judgment is in question, especially his choice of running mate. I don't hate Sarah Palin, but she's not ready to lead our country, and McCain ain't no young whipper snapper. The idea of him kicking the bucket leaving someone to lead our country who's foreign policy is "being neighbors with Russia" frightens me tremendously. If his judgment on such an important issue of second in command is so questionable, how will he act on other matters? On other matters so far, such as the war in Iraq, his judgment is lacking.

    I may just have to agree to disagree with you, and I may not be able to sway your vote. But I do not like the direction that I see John McCain taking this country. I do, for the very first time in a long time, have hope that we will have a leader who can bring about positive change. He has not only earned the respect and support of many Americans, but of many people in our global society. That in itself is tremendously important. His sense of environmental and global responsibility is so much more astute than that of McCain, and he is more in tune with the needs not only within our country, but of our country's role in the global community.

    Enough of my political soap box. I'm proud of you for thinking for yourself, even if that means we don't agree.

  7. I will join your storm of comments. :) I don't want to talk about politics on my blog, so I'll talk about them on yours!
    I also don't like either of them, but I think I'm going to vote for Obama.
    I'm an independent and unfortunately there is no representative that actually represents me. But I totally lean (as you know) towards the Democratic party, not the Republican. I'm pro-life. I don't believe in gay marriage (though I don't think anti-gay legislation is the answer either). I am anti-war, but think that it's sort of unavoidable now-- but think we have to get out of Iraq (though not overnight) and put our efforts in Afghanistan (where the terrorists originate and also, I admit, where a loved one of mine was a prisoner of war). Economically I am totally democratic. Educationally I am anti-voucher, for tons of scholarships, and don't think that early education has to be a priority (pre-K) Studies show it's not necessary, but poor families want it b/c it's free daycare, which they need... so I'm not anti this, but I don't find it a priority. Healthcare-wise I'm turning socialist, but neither candidate is so... (Seriously, why don't we model ANY of our Western European allies who don't have issues in this area? Because we're Americans and don't like foreigners? I mean, seriously. They're doing GREAT. I think it's criminal that a poor person's teeth will rot away because they can't afford dental and a rich person gets three plastic surgeries a year for aesthetic reasons. There's got to be a better way.
    You say you were raised to believe the government is a necessary evil. While I wasn't raised to view the government as evil, I do view it as a necessary evil nowadays. I also know it is always been necessary.
    I know the government is large, far larger than it *might* need to be, but at the same time I think that it is necessary. I think, especially in light of our recent economic crisis, that government is meant to protect us from us. And economically, I think we need to protect the 95% from the 5%, or at least the top 1% that own so much of our country's wealth. I am not a fan of the free market system I admit: it's what caused the abuse of children in the industrial revolution until the government stepped in and passed legislation and it's what is making the poor poorer and the rich richer in the current climate. It's probably growing up in a small town in the south, and then going to a private four year college, but I am awed at the disconnect socio-economically. When I hear the anchor go on about how "if you need money, don't get starbucks everyday" when most people figured that one out already, or hear someone in LA rave about how you should use public transport or bicycle when I know my parents are at least 15 miles away from their jobs with NO public transit available I just shake my head. And when I hear people rave about how no one should be angry that the illegal immigrants are taking jobs that "no one wants anyway" when I KNOW people who would crawl on glass to get those jobs because they are struggling to keep their house...

    I'm not saying Obama is awesome. He's not. He's certainly charismatic, but he's also too liberal for me. But economically he is DEFINITELY better for the average American that total-disconnect McCain.
    Seriously, if I made $250,000+ a year, I'd gladly take higher taxes. Maybe that's because I know people who make less than $25K and so would know how good I had it, but it doesn't change the truth of the statement. The fact that McCain thinks that this will affect small businesses so adversely shows me how extremely out of touch he actually is: Obama would only tax profit. Which means that after overhead of equipment, the building or whatnot, other expenses, PLUS healthcare and of course the salaries of employers, if the business owner has $250,000 LEFT OVER he will be taxed higher. Well, that's great! I know some people would get upset that someone is 'punished' for success but hey, big taxes when you make that much mean you have to have a "certified preowned" BMW instead of a new one. Taxes on lower income families means, these days, foreclosed houses.
    Someone has the pay taxes, or the government would be broke. And when you consider that teachers are gov't employees, as well as post office workers. Also clerks and others in city, county, state, national gov't, as well as politicians. Also the construction company that works on the roads, the artist that gets a grant, lots of nonprofit agencies. We're talking cops, social workers, and firefighters. The scholarships and loans that almost all our friends as well as us received. And of course, the military.
    Actually, I heard on the news that the ONLY industry employer not cutting jobs is the government.
    So, if a real conservative went in and cut all that stuff out, they would hurt the only firm job market, and watch the economy die.
    I'm an idealist. I know. But I'm also practical. I'm practical enough to know that if you didn't take the money away to fund feeding the poor (also called welfare), some would do it, but not enough. Same with healthcare for children or old people. And all the other programs that are NECESSARY.
    The horrible, horrible truth of this world is that the people with money have power (note I said in the "world"-- using the Christian definition of this term). When the money is so disproportionate as it is in our country, an agency like the government is the only worldly advocate that the poor have. In some countries this government only works for the rich. I think there is a LOT of that corruption in Washington, but not as bad as in many countries.
    When the government is putting it's money in the hands of the people-- which is what it's doing when it spends most of the time! -- it is helping the people. If they don't tax and spend, the money just stays with the rich people.
    I know this sounds like a letter against rich people... it's not, really. It's just against immoral rich people. Those are all too often the ones with the power...
    I believe, honestly, that if you are a rich person with a conscious you'll feel just like Obama does-- you'd understand paying higher taxes!
    Now that's just one issue, I know.

    And all that being said-- I want to vote for Obama...
    But I'm giving my vote to God. I suggest you do the same. I'm going to spend time in prayer. I do think that God will want me to vote for Obama, but I don't know. I'll do what he tells me too. I wish more Christians would do that, instead of what Focus on the Family or their pastor tells them to...
    I do know that even though the power that rules the world is money, I don't serve money. I serve God. And if he wants to use McCain, then I know it's to the greater good. After all, suffering can be to the Lord's Glory.
    But the American side of me definitely doesn't agree with McCain economically.
    I agree with on other issues, but I think economically he's VERY republican and I think it's republican politics that got us into this economic dilemma.
    Economically is where America is hurting the most...

    Now, I wish (and who knows maybe it will happen) we could have a democratic president and a republican congress. That would be best. Somehow I think a republican president and democratic congress (current system) is not good. But I also think a democratic president and democratic congress is SCARY. While economically I am a democrat, I am NOT a democrat in most ways...

    So if God lets me vote how I want (He does do that sometimes) I'll vote Obama president but for our republican incumbent for senator. That I think would be the best solution...
    But we'll just see. It's in God's hands. I'm not going to worry about it.

  8. Wow! So many comments! This is great.

    Esther: I never said I was going to vote for McCain. I don't think I have the stomach for it.

    Pam: "government is meant to protect us from us."

    "When the government is putting it's money in the hands of the people-- which is what it's doing when it spends most of the time!"

    Those two statements tell me that your faith in government is way past idealistic. It's dangerously naiive. (And I'd have thought with a Christian understanding of the depravity of man you'd know better)

    Like I said, I think Obama's going to win regardless.

    Hmm...Baldwin, Nader, or Mickey Mouse?

    But you are absolutely right about one thing. The most important thing for Christians to do this election is to pray for their vote to be God's choice. (And then listen for His leading.) I will definitely be doing that.

  9. Regardless of who you chose, I do certainly hope you'll exercise your right to vote. It is, after all, your right. Choosing the lesser of two (not so evil) evils is still choosing. And you have a good, strong head on your shoulders. I'm sure you'll be able to reason it out and make a choice that you can live with. Like I said, I'm still proud of you for thinking for yourself and not being afraid to voice your opinions. But I'm still voting for Obama! ;-)


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