(This post is unusually long, so sorry about that, but sometimes you can’t say everything that needs to be said with a few fun catch phrases. Look for key words in bold to find topics of interest if you don’t wish to read the whole thing.)
Believe it or not, I have wrestled with whether or not I should or shouldn’t write this post in particular and whether I should or shouldn’t publicly discuss politics in general. After all, politics can be a polarizing subject, and I’m not immune to the passions it can stir up. Recently, I’ve had to apologize to a few people for the things I said within a political discussion. I will do best to be civil this time, so I hope that you’ll at least give me the benefit of the doubt before dismissing everything I have to say.
Since I often think with a designer mentality, I do care about what the user experience is like for my readers, and I’m sure that many readers who like design, authenticity, and a less corporate existence may disagree with me. Beyond that, as someone trying to make a living by being creative, I’m not exactly advancing my career by taking a position that goes against what most industry professionals think.
But, part of the function for this blog is to argue that there are more important things in life than just advancing a career. To do everything for the sake of career advancement or profit or hipness is corporate thinking, and if I can’t avoid that kind of thing when there are stakes involved, then I shouldn’t waste time writing here.
I’m not an angry left-wing blogger or a shiny celebrity, so I’m not going to throw around swear words, insults, or cheap accusations at my opponents, but I do think it is important to speak up in a respectful but firm way about what I believe. In our world where almost every public figure feels compelled to tell us how to think, keeping quiet about politics means offering implicit consent, and that is not something I can do.
I may lose some readers and job opportunities as a result of my position. Since creative jobs are already scarce enough, that’s a big deal. On a lighter note, I’m probably also hurting my chances of making out with the Obama girl or making it into the inter circles of the celebrity-of-the-month’s entourage. Oh man, how will I live? [long, contemplative pause] … I will find a way.
Before going further, let me mention that I am an independent who leans right, but I don’t identify with either party anymore. I am not trying to suggest that the Republicans are always right while the Democrats are always wrong. I am only writing to explain why I believe the McCain ticket is the better choice in this particular election.
I do respect Senator Obama as a person, and I acknowledge that he’s a graceful speaker, but I believe that John McCain and Sarah Palin are better suited at resisting evil and guiding us through these troubled times. Follow along and I’ll explain.
Let’s consider a popular but misguided idea that hipster Democrats dish out: namely that anyone who values a strong military does so out of fear. I imagine that these types have a secret urge to draw up a chalkboard with love on one side and fear on the other and suggest, in Donnie Darko style, that enlightened souls should move from fear to love and avoid violence in the process. Nothing wrong with avoiding fear and choosing love, but it’s too simplistic.
There’s a difference between acting firmly with prudence and doing so with fear. Unfortunately, our popular culture doesn’t seem to understand the difference. When I rode my bike around in Boston, I locked it up when I’d go into a building. Why? Because I’m a racist? No, it’s because my bike’s actually been stolen before, so I don’t see any reason why I should make things easier for thieves. In the same way that a lock protects me from the baser impulses of the people around me, a strong military, used prudently, offers similar protection against the baser impulses of rival countries.
I’m not someone who believes that we should go to war at every opportunity, but I do believe it is important for us to stand firm in some matters, with force if necessary, if doing so allows us to preserve or expand freedom, opportunity and decency.
In John McCain, I see someone who has shown strong resolve in the face of conflict, whether it involved refusing to get released early as a prisoner of war, breaking with his own party on some prominent issues, or refusing to undermine the slow and steady progress in Iraq for easy political gain.
(We Americans have a wide range of thoughts on Iraq, and discussing whether or not we should have gotten involved is beyond the scope of this post. But at this point with the money we’ve spent and the lives we’ve lost, it would be a great tragedy if we left before bringing lasting improvement to the Iraqi people. John McCain acknowledges as much with his firm language about winning the war by stabilizing the region and then leaving when the job is done. Senator Obama doesn’t talk about achieving victory but about timetables for withdrawal. Here, McCain insists on achieving goals and doing good before exiting, while Obama talks about practical considerations and diplomacy in the region. The tougher, more principled stand comes from McCain.)
In general, I have not seen Obama take a strong stand when faced with conflict. He waited until it was politically expedient to distance himself from Rev. “God damn America” Wright, even though the Reverend had been saying similar things for years while Obama attended his church. As a member of the Illinois Senate, he voted present 130 times, which means he voted without taking a position one way or another.
In spite of his insistence on change, Obama has sponsored very little significant legislation, and only 3 of the bills he has sponsored in the Senate have been enacted. More troubling, when asked at what point babies get human rights at the Saddleback discussion, Obama responded that it “is above my pay grade” to answer. Not in your pay grade, Senator? I know you talk a lot about change, but that just sounds like more of the same positioning that politicians do to avoid taking a firm stand.
Speaking of which, I get a little disheartened by the way that the language for abortion is phrased in the context of a woman’s right and as something that makes it possible for an inconvenience to go away. Here’s what Obama said about abortion at the 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008:
“People of good will can exist on both sides. That nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion. How we determine what’s right at that moment, I think, people of good will can differ.” Once again, ambivalence: a lack of a strong position one way or another. Contrast this with John Mcain who goes on record to say “at its core, abortion is a human tragedy” and that we’ve got to work at ending abortions as a society.
If we are going to insist on talking about a baby’s life in terms of woman’s rights, why should this stop at child birth? I mean, surely it is also within a woman’s right to enjoy Manhattans at lunch instead of paying for food to support the baby. Shouldn’t it also be a right for her to enjoy luxury items without having to take care of a child day after day? Why should her dreams, or those of the father for that matter, be burdened by another messy creature’s demands for food, shelter, and love?
Isn’t it time that we free ourselves from these past, oppressive traditions, and legalize child abandonment? What’s the problem as long as it’s done at government sanctioned disposal centers? A modest proposal indeed! No, let us do what we can to embrace life and avoid such a horrible future. Let us choose leaders who celebrate human life even when it’s not convenient to do. It’s hard to get sex, lust and passion right, but let us not degrade the value of human life as we struggle to deal properly with this challenging part of our lives .
So what about the economy? Yes things are kind of rocky right now. And yes, part of the problem was greed on Wall Street, but another part of the problem was due to the way Clinton-era Democrats encouraged lending organizations to make more subprime loans. These institutions were promised that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would cover the loans should the people default on them. As a result, citizens with poor credit history and low incomes were given loans that they couldn’t afford to pay back. (Read more about this under theLegislative changes 1992 heading here.) Eventually the banking institutions wanted their money back, and when a lot of that money isn’t there to pay back, all kinds of things collapse.
We should take some measures to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, but in our concern let us not completely destroy our innovative economy in the process. We already have the second-highest tax rate in the world, so why raise it? Businesses give us jobs and innovations that improve our lives, and they let people take success into their own hands. (When was the last time you heard about the rights of the nobility in American society?) Yes, there are corrupt businesses just like there are corrupt people, but in our zeal to stamp out the corruption, let’s be careful not to also stifle innovation and incentives for success.
I don’t consider Obama to be a complete socialist, but his quote about “spreading the wealth around” does have historical connotations to socialism. Don’t believe me? Try searching the phrase “spread the wealth” on Wikipedia (or click here). Notice that a link for socialism is listed under the See Also heading. In other words it is just slightly less of a loaded phrase then something like, “soak the rich, and bleed the bourgeois, comrades!” Consider also that the National Journal found Obama to be the most liberal senator in 2007. Notably, Bernie Sanders, who is a self-described socialist, ranks number 4 on this list. So, Obama might not be an outright socialist, but he sure seems to talk and think a lot like people who are. And since Obama dramatically reversed his position on accepting public funds for his campaign, how can we be sure that he’ll keep his word about another financial matter, namely that he’ll cut taxes for anyone while expanding government programs?
Helping other people is important, but in a socialist society, the government decides how resources are redistributed. Free economies, in comparison, allow individuals to choose the people and organizations to which they will give financial aid. Done properly, this kind of giving allows a healthy relationship to develop between the giver and the receiver. When the government becomes involved in wealth redistribution, it tends to separate the two, since giving isn’t done directly or by someone’s free will. And so neither the giver nor the receiver fully benefit from the act of giving.
As to Sarah Palin, I don’t see her as liability. I see her as person of character, strength and inner goodness. Just because you’ve read a lot of books and can quote a lot of facts doesn’t mean you know how do what’s right or that you can effectively resist evil. I’ve had so many professors who were insanely book smart but absolutely dead inside. Sarah Palin isn’t like that. There’s an inner spark in her that gives her a certain magic and grace. Forget everything you’ve heard about her so far, and take another look with unbiased eyes. Then, maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t write all of this with the belief that I am completely right, and whole, and good. I’m not. There are a lot of things that are crooked about me, but like Lestat de Lioncourt in Anne Rice’s Blood Canticle, I can recognize and admire goodness in others even as I acknowledge my own shortcomings.
Some people run from a goodness greater than themselves or try to muddy it into ugliness. (Perhaps this explains why there are so many derogatory Sarah Palin videos out there? Don’t get angry, folks. It’s just a thought about the unusual level of public viciousness toward a decent lady.) I am astounded by this goodness, and I want to do whatever possible to preserve it.
Like any country, we have our problems, but we are still, at our best, a noble country for good, one that openly debates problems, encourages innovation, embraces freedom, and shares compassion with the world. In these challenging times, we need leaders who will stand up for what’s right and lead with courage and decency. That’s why I’m voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.
(OK folks, this post is already long enough, so I won’t respond to any comments here if any such comments should come. I will allow opposing positions but if you resort to degrading insults, I reserve the right to delete your comments. This will be a blog that features only civil discourse.)
Thank you for reading, and God bless.