Sunday, April 06, 2008

A generational thing?

This past weekend I had the pleasure to visit Boca Raton, FL, to celebrate my Dad's 65th birthday. The celebration included about 30 guests, at events spanning the weekend. Disappointingly, most of my cousins and their families did not attend. My brother was present with his wife and daughter, and one of my cousins attended, with one of his sons. Otherwise, all of the guests were of my father's generation - aunts, uncles, and friends.

Now, in my usual circles, it's pretty much a no-brainer that in the upcoming presidential campaign, of the remaining candidates, anybody would be better than McCain, and Barak Obama is the obvious choice.

Surprisingly to me, among the chatter I heard this past weekend in a crowd that was almost entirely of my parent's generation, the sense I got was that McCain was the obvious first choice, and anyone with half-a-brain could see that Obama was the worst thing that could ever happen.

I think the contrast is interesting.

The guests at this gathering weren't unintelligent, or uneducated people. They weren't evil. I simply can't reconcile these people's political opinions with my opinions of their intelligence and character, and my beliefs and opinions of the state of the world today and our present government and politicians.

One other thing I found notable is that it seemed to me that a prevailing belief among the group was that authoritative national and world news came from Fox, CNN, and maybe MSNBC. I don't trust the presentation of the news from any of those sources, least of all Fox, the network that habitually identifies Republicans as Democrats whenever reporting on a scandal involving a Republican Congresscritter.

I believe a more truthful and factual representation of the news can be obtained from Rolling Stone, The Daily Show/Colbert Report, Google News, and actually sitting, reading, and comprehending most newspapers. I've got biases just like anybody else, routinely reading Huffington Post, and occasionally Slate or Salon, but I like to think I can recognize bias in the articles I read, even if it supports my opinion. For example, a while ago I tried listening to Air America when it was carried by Sirius Satellite Radio. After a day or two I was completely turned off by the channel. Yes, it espoused the views and opinions I shared, and bashed the people and groups I oppose, but the tone and characterizations were juvenile aqnd hateful, just like the rantings of malevolent windbags like Rush Limbaugh or Hannity. The point is, I didn't like that sort of behavior even if it was 'on my side'.

Personally, I think any clear-thinking person with even a shred of intelligence or simple human compassion or empathy recognizes immediately that the current occupier of the White House is without a doubt the worst president our country has ever suffered through, and is also a contender for the most dangerous person alive today. I think the damage done to our Nation, if at all repairable, will take literally generations to repair.

I lost all respect for McCain after 2000, when he completely sold out his principals and became Bush's biggest boot-licker and yes-man. I think McCain becoming the next president would extend the current administrations practices and priorities for another term. I already have doubts our country can ever return to what used to be an America based on the rule of law and the US Constitution. If McCain becomes President, there's no way we'll ever get any of that back.

So he's out. Not at all an acceptable choice.

Hillary seems to be the type that will say or do anything to become President, and it seems to me she wants the job more so that she can be President than for any other reason. I don't like her, and I don't trust her. BUT, I think her agenda probably/hopefully aligns with mine, at least somewhat, so if she gets the nod against McCain I'd unenthusiastically vote for her.

That leaves Obama. I don't know much in-dpeth about him. BUT, I also haven't seen or heard anything substantive about him that I don't like. I think it's unfair to judge him because of some association with somebody else. I think it's ridiculously immature to judge him due to his NAME, and I think it's childish and bigoted to oppose him because of a suspicion that he's a Muslim. I don't believe he is, and even if he was indeed a Muslim, so what?

Listening to or reading his speeches gives me more of a feeling of hope than I've ever felt from any politician in my lifetime. After everything the Republicans have done to our country over the 30 years or so, I usually feel very despondent and discouraged when thinking about national and world politics. It's very, very refreshing to feel a sense of hope. I've never tried mood-altering drugs - no cocaine, no heroin, not even Tylenol with Codeine. BUT, I definitely felt uplifted when I heard Obama speak at the 2004 Democratic Convention, or when I read his speech on race relations last month.

Maybe Obama is just a better used-car salesman than the others, and he'll prove to be jsut as much of a lyinbg dirtbag as the others. But their generation has had it's chances to improve our world, and we're in worse shape than we've ever been. Continuing the status quo, as I believe either Hillary or McCain would do, is unacceptable. If Obama is taking a chance, I think there's no other choice but to take the chance.

For the record, among all of the candidates that were originally running, I'd have preferred:

* Dodd
* Richardson
* Edwards
* Kucinich

over any of those still running, but sadly they're no longer a choice.

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