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November 2008 Archives

November 1, 2008

Palin's Anatomy

Is it possible a President McCain will finish his term without suffering serious illness? Of course. But the statistics of his type of skin cancer suggest otherwise. It is extremely likely a President McCain will, at the very least, be forced to undergo grueling and debilitating treatment at some point during his first term. Palin continues to refuse to release her own medical records, the only of the four major candidates to do so. Her refusal fuels ongoing speculation that baby Trig is, in fact, Palin's grandson and that Palin's daughter is pregnant for the second time, rumors a release of Palin's medical records would immediately put to rest. A young, vibrant woman of 44, the only reason we can immediately suspect for her to refuse to disclose her medical records is the fake pregnancy. This is how politically un-smart this woman is, to either try and hide something the pubic will inevitably discover or, even worse, to fuel public doubt simply by being an onion. This is not a person I'd want sitting across a conference table from Vladimir Putin.


November 9, 2008

The Guy With The Microphone

I find it ironic that black Christian voters overwhelming supported Proposition 8. I’m trying to find a way to explain the sad irony of an oppressed people making history by electing the first African American president while, at the same time, opposing one of Obama’s key positions: his inclusivity and acceptance of same-gender loving people. Obama abhors gay bigotry, and yet his most ardent supporters overwhelmingly backed the California constitutional amendment by some 70%. These folks apparently reject the notion that any denial of civil rights can ultimately be used as a weapon against they themselves. That the language introduced to argue for the ban on gay marriage is identical to language once used to ban interracial marriage was either inconsequential or unknown to them. Nutty claims that gay marriage somehow undermines the sanctity of straight marriage is totally ridiculous. First: whatever you consider sacred is, therefore, so. If you consider a navel tangerine sacred, it is so. For you. But don’t rally the neighbors to force the local grocer to commit to handling tangerines differently.

I’ve never understood this fascination about what people do in their bedrooms. I mean, if you take sex out of the equation, gay people are, well, people. Just like everybody else. So why do we get so mad when we think that, retiring from our day, some people will be sharing a bed with folks of the same gender? Why do we even *care*? The notion of gay marriage being a threat to straight marriage is ridiculous. The sanctity of marriage was undermined and trashed by *straight* people. These days, people treat marriage like it is the same as dating, people having “starter” or “trial” marriages—all of which I find offensive, and all of which undermines the sanctity of the institution. People, so committed to one another that simply dating is no longer enough for them, who fight for the right to be married, who risk their livelihoods and, in many cases, their personal safety if not their lives in order to marry—I can’t imagine in what way that kind of dedication undermine the institution of marriage. But, to be blunt—who cares? I mean, seriously, why do I care what other folk do?

Continue reading "The Guy With The Microphone" »


November 10, 2008

Obama Backlash

There’s tile on the Oval Office floor. Tile. Not the royal blue carpet we’ve grown accustomed to from episodes of the West Wing, but a glassy, polished opalescent tile with the seal of the president emblazoned upon it. And green striped lawn chairs. Well, at least they look like lawn chairs. How utterly disappointing. I hope Michelle Obama does something about that once she gets there. Yesterday’s Obama-Bush photo op was interesting only in the sense that everything this guy does—up to and including, literally, blowing his nose—just seems to fascinate America. With a reported 70% approval rating, Mr. Obama sat down with the president, whose approval rating remains somewhere in the 20’s. From all reports it was a congenial affair, likely with the president offering up his opinions and Obama saying, “yes, sir.” The president-elect has smartly distanced himself from the current president, reminding impatient voters daily that he is not yet president. The polices currently being pursued are those of the Bush administration, for which he wants neither credit, blame, nor responsibility.

But his posture does offer up an interesting observation: Obama Backlash is undoubtedly coming. Everybody (well, everybody who liked the guy) has some agenda, some cause, they want the new president to champion, and he has promised almost everything to everyone. The new president will be saddled with a complete mess, which might actually be fine Republican strategy—hand off the mess to the new guy then blame him for failing to fix everything in four years. But even rabid Obamaites will be disappointed in how long change actually takes. That, a year from now, America could still be in Iraq, could still be reeling in economic turmoil, would probably result in Obama Backlash when the new president proves himself to be only human. With a friendly congress (albeit divided by 535 individual agendas), we expect Obama to move quickly. But, the reality is, as big a mess as we appear to be in, I’m quite sure much worse news has been hidden under that gleaming tile or in closets around the West Wing. That bad news, no matter how bad it is, has been doctored by the politics. It remains to be seen if Barack Obama is an FDR (or even competent at the gig), but our hopes have been raised to unrealistic levels. Keeping hands off of Bush’s mess until it becomes Obama’s mess is certainly right thinking, but the new president really needs to prepare the nation to roll up its sleeves and put our collective shoulder to the wheel to fix this thing, instead of sitting back and expecting Obama to do it by himself.


November 11, 2008


The euphoria experienced around the world was not really about Barack Obama. It was not even about the historic significance of a black man being elected president of the United States. The weeping and rejoicing, shown in clips from metropolitan cities to primitive villages around the globe, was for America. For an end to the oppression and tyranny the Bush administration has come to represent. The world has no idea whether or not Barack Obama will, in fact, be a good president. And, internationally, Obama’s race is of much less concern than is his policies as America remains one of increasingly fewer places in the planet still struggling with issues of its own identity and grappling with its own childish immaturity concerning skin color. While our domestic reaction is certainly a mixed bag of emotions posited by our individual visceral responses to Obama’s race, the matter is of mostly peripheral concern to the international community, where the outsized reaction to a political contest in America is much less about race than it is about tyranny, justice and competence; about America’s soiled image and its place in the world. The tears and shouts of joy from Bangkok to Sydney to Paris to Milan have very little to do with the color of Barack Obama’s skin. It is, instead, a collective sigh of relief that America’s wrongheaded investment in the Bush Doctrine had come to an end. That America would once again become the shining beacon of moral integrity and the global standard bearer for human rights, a proud legacy the current administration cashed in during years of inept prosecution of uncertain goals.

This has been an administration which has behaved much more like a fascist regime, legislating against its own citizenry, stripping away our civil rights while exponentially increasing the powers of the presidency. A presidency with no accountability, a government which locks up anyone it wishes as an “enemy combatant.” A government that creates hateful places like the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay and the torture center at al Ghareeb. An arrogant presidency which naively and childishly calls other nations “evil” and whose inept pursuit of a man who took 3,000 American lives on 911 has now cost more than forty times as many innocent lives and created untold numbers of bin Ladens-to-come in orphans left crying amid the charred ruins of their lives.

We have no idea at all whether or not Barack Obama will be a good president.
But Obama has a quality George Bush (and, based on his campaign, John McCain) does not: the possibility of being good. Domestically, we are so starved for leadership, for uncorrupted, unselfish, mature vision, that even the possibility of Obama being good at the job is enough to earn our vote. Some of us voted for a black guy. Some of us cast a vote against Sarah Palin—whose vanity, intellectual bankruptcy and blind adherence to right-wing policies she herself has little understanding of made her likely and probable ascension to the presidency a significantly worse threat than even a literal third Bush term. Some of us voted for change, as the unprecedented, mean-spirited and unfocused nature of the McCain campaign mirrored the worst aspects of the current president. But, my guess, is, the vast majority of U.S. voters have simply tired of the childish, selfish, empty rhetoric and failed policies which perpetuate and exploit divisions between us. In the midst of serious threats to our very existence as a nation, our most experienced and, therefore, most trusted candidate chose to scare us instead of reassure us. Chose to divide us instead of unite us. Chose to play ridiculous blame games and place a completely incompetent person whose executive experience was dwarfed by her inability to grasp even basic policy next in line for the presidency. John McCain’s vision for America was him running it. He laid out no coherent plan for moving forward and presented no opportunity or incentive for us to come together as a people. He was not reassuring, he was scary—made all the more scarier by his advanced age, questionable health, and Sarah Palin waiting in the wings. McCain's sad stumbling through the trees did not allow him to see the forest: in the larger picture, he ran a campaign of hate and fear. At a time when America was desperate for leadership and reassurance, John McCain resonated the emotional viscera of the current administration. He felt like more of the same, despite claims to the contrary. And America had finally had enough of that.

In that sense, the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America represents globally what it has strived to represent domestically: hope. Hope is not a guarantee. Hope is about potential. And, yes, we’ll take that.



About November 2008

This page contains all entries posted to According To Me in November 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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