Allow me to begin by paraphrasing a quote, cleverly manipulated to agree with my point of view and not the originator of the line, who would probably disagree: It’s not Obama I have a problem with, it’s his fan club.
The man who said that was originally talking about Jesus, and it’s a clever line because the man who said it is clever, too: the Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius. He’s the primary creative force beind the Church, which exists as a club, a business and ultimately as a satire. It’s a fake religion that pretends it isn’t. It is a dadaist, absurd, Zappa-esque indictment of cults and gods and religion, but you’ll never hear them admit it. On the surface, the Church is a very serious cult that is rather completley certain that the world is going to end on July 5th, 1998.
If the candidates stood up at next debate, embraced, and admitted to the world that they’re essentially the same person and that nothing substantive will change regardless of which one of them we elect, I wouldn’t be surprised. In other words, this whole thing feels like one big dadaist prank, a satire of a presidential election.
I’m sure Barack Obama is a very nice man. I think a conversation with him, held in private and away from somebody who might blog about it later, would be an enriching experience. I think he’s an excellent writer, and an even better public speaker. I think he has a lot to offer this country, as long as he does precisely what I expect him to do, which is absolutely nothing.
He’s not going to end the war. He’s changed his rhetoric from full-stop finality and added “responsibly” to the end of it. It’s a wiggle word. It gives him space to breathe, and opens the flap a little crack to let more hawkish indies crawl into his tent.
He’s changed his drum-pounding call for change by squirting out bits of politically-saavy maneuvers - getting a multi-term senator as his running mate, voting in favor of telecom immunity, taking the high ground one moment and taking pot shots the next. He wants the job really badly, which is one reason not to vote for him. Since you can’t elect somebody who doesn’t want the job, that might not be the easiest thing to do.
His lack of experience isn’t what bothers me. In the tradition of many libertarians before me, I think lack of experience is much more appealing than a lot of it.
In fact, I agree with Obama in many issues. I’m very much pro abortion and pro gay marriage. I like what the democrats say about upholding the constitution, but I don’t like their interpretation of the second amendment, and they have been just as vocal as the rightists about limiting free expression when it comes to people who say words they don’t agree with. The Fairness Doctrine, for example, is like reverse censorship, and is no less authoritarian than the other version.
I don’t like McCain for the very reasons why I do like Obama. His anti-abortion, rightist social values are pretty gross. His economic ideas are more in line with Bush, who is not shy about expending the power of the government and to increase spending taxpayer money. I can’t put that squarely on McCain’s shoulders, because Obama’s going to spend as much, if not more, than McCain will.
I’m a single-issue voter, but my issue is a broad one: individual rights. I want you to be able to have fun, live your life and pursue your goals as long as doing so doesn’t hurt someone else’s ability to do the same things. Both parties and both candidates want to restrict your rights, but in different ways and for different reasons.
I am, as Penn Jilette would say, a nut. I think we should start with no laws and work our way up. I think government should be as small as possible. I think the free market should be trusted to be fair for everybody. I believe that people are capable of deciding what is best for them. I think people are essentially good, smart beings who can accomplish amazing, wonderful things, epecially without the government restricting them.
Democrats want to tell people what to do - witness laws against fatty foods in restaurants, smoking bans in bars and gun control laws. Many of them think that people, especially poor people, are too stupid to figure things out for themselves. They think the rich are greedy and selfish, and the corporations will do anything, including outright mass murder, in order to make more money.
Republicans want to tell people what to do - the religious ones among them, especially, increase funding for religious programs while reducing it for scientific ones. They want to tell a woman that she can’t have an abortion, or tell two men that they can’t get married.
Every Presidential candidate has something in his platform that makes me frightened by the prospect of him winning the office. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and I can’t bring myself to vote for evil. Voting just to vote is a stupid, brainless thing to do. It’s like going to a cocktail party and blabbering nonsense into everybody’s ear - it’s noise, static. Your vote is your voice. Make it clear who you want to win and have a damn good reason for it, don’t just flip a coin. If you’re comfortable selling your vote out to somebody because you agree with 40% or 50% of their beliefs, then go ahead and vote. I’m not going to do that. It’s a game I can’t win.
So I’m not going to play. They say you can’t complain if you don’t vote, but that’s just as stupid. Not speaking, like not voting, is still making a point, and it’s still exercising one’s rights. I’ll still complain, and I’ll still bitch about the person who gets elected, and make fun of the people who lose, and laugh when the guy goes back on his promises and reforms nothing and changes nothing and continues the country’s slow, agonizing slip into politically-correct, over-regulated, over-legislated insignificance.
When the time comes to pull the lever or punch the chad or push the button, make sure you’re making the right choice. The future of the country is in your hands. Which is it going to be? Paper or plastic? Red or blue? Coke or Pepsi? Left or right?
I choose none of the above.