Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Return of Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Remember way back when some of the radicals talked about not voting for Tweedledum or Tweedledee? (they wanted us vote for Eldrige Cleaver or Tim Leary or some such citizen.) That's pretty much what it amounts to; both candidates are centrists, both statists. One's slightly to the left and one's slightly to the right. McCain is a not-too-bright and not-too-ethical Republican, and Obama is bright, but super-ambitious and a Democrat out of the Illinois Democratic Machine (which has never won any awards for ethics or particularly high moral standards—Christ, it gave us Mayor Dailey, back in the old days and what a creep he was). The howls that Obama is a “crypto-Marxist” or a “crypto-Muslim” completely ignore the political machines of America: no Marxist and, these days, definitely no Muslim is going anywhere. These guys are regular old politicians. Neither one will do anything unusually radical nor unusually reactionary.The line to remember is, "If voting could change the system it would be against the law."

I've cast a lot of protest votes—very few people I've voted for have ever won any election—and when I do that I feel a little less dirty, I'm not sure that it does much good in the long run. It's a problem. For me, just for me, the Constitution Party seems about as bad as Sarah Palin or Jerry Falwell. Ralph Nader should take up tinkering with antique watches in his old age and leave the rest of us alone. Marxist parties and libertarian free-market parties are delusional—they both have great theories, wonderful ideas, but theories and realities are quite different. They only way those ideas can be tested, it seems, is by killing everyone who doesn't want to play that game—Cuba and Chile are good examples. Cuba tried to force Marxism and Chile tried to force free-market capitalism and the results were awful in both cases. China and Laos, the current mess in South Africa...ideologues are dangerous people.

On the up side, only three weeks to go before they shut up and leave us alone for a while.

Senator Obama is a populist, a humanist, a person who truly seems to embody what people said they wanted from Bush, someone who will work to bring people together around common goals. He is an international man with a breadth of knowledge and experience, from a background in which he learned first-hand about the world outside the US in his formative years. He gives the US in a time when we need greater international cooperation a chance to turn around a negative image, being a whole new type of American president to usher in a whole new type of American policy. I like that he immediately understood that inviting talks with leaders from unfriendly countries as a very early act in office is vitally important. All the posturing being done in our name has only increased ill-will and hostilities. I really like that he comes from community organizing roots and knows the real concerns of real people. I like that he is the father of two young girls, giving him the kind of compassion and hopes for the future that comes with parenthood. I like that he is so enthusiastic in making this election about all of us. I am impressed by his organizing ability, his sleeves rolled-up demeanor, and his inspirational approach. Of course he's not perfect; nobody is. But he's a helluva lot better than what we often get as our voters' choice.

What really moves me about Obama, in my crazy idealist soul, is his "of the people" exhortation to self-empowerment. The only righteous answer to big government is community. The only real defense against big government ruling our individual lives is taking back our power, first by believing we can.

When I say Obama is exhorting us to take back our power, I mean the power of community, of working together for the common good, rather than opposition based on false differences. His rallies are like revival meetings in the best sense -- not about how we are better than others, or must trust in God, but we are in this together and need to take back our values. Empathy, harmony and compassion are what he is selling.
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