Friday, January 25, 2008

Election Stuff

I am a Liberal Jew and I am Pissed has a great post that articulates most of the reasons why I will be voting for Obama when the primaries swing out West.

I will vote for Barack Obama because I like him more. His speeches make me proud to be an American. His ideas energize me. I like to listen to him because he sounds presidental. I truly believe either Clinton or Obama would be a great president, I just don't have any passion for Clinton. That said, I will vote for who I want in the primary and who I need in the general election.

This has been an interesting question with some of my family and friends. One man, who has known me for forever, asked me several months ago if I planned on voting for Kucinich. I was confused. "Why would think that?"

"Well, your politics seem to match up pretty well."

Not quite. Kucinich is in the same boat for me as Ralph Nader, only less contemptible. Not only did he never have a snowball's chance in hell in the first place, he has built all of his campaigns around the fact that he can say whatever he wants because he will never in a position where he has to implement his ideas. Which is sort of brilliant, if also brain-hurty. Not unlike Ron Paul (no offense to Sholom, who is apparently much more conservative than I realized- not that that's a bad thing!- but I just don't see it happening), Kucinich's impact comes from him being able to be as honest and direct as possible without any danger of being held accountable for his views when it comes time to put them to work.

So then the question came to who would I actually vote for. I pretty much side with Abbot Yid as far as understanding that in a general election one is often forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, though his constant chant of "electibility" is getting somewhat annoying, only slightly less so than the now-regular, "I just don't think America's ready for a black President. *shrug*" speech, as if his choice of vote doesn't have any impact on that supposed readiness.

It's also a tad odd to hear from my father (who frankly, while being quite smart doesn't always bother doing much reading to substantiate his opinions) that he thinks that Hillary Clinton, who the right wing has spent more then ten years pillorizing in every media outlet available, is more electable than a relatively unknown newly minted Senator who happens to be black. I think it's far more likely more people will vote against Obama because of his lack of experience than his skin color or (and on this, I really am asking a favor from all-mighty Sweet-Buddha-Vishnu-Christ, not for me, but for my faith in my fellow Americans), the ongoing BS rumors that he is a closet Muslim.

Maybe it's because I watch too much Fox News (though not as much as I used to- these days, O'Reilly just seems like a crankier and less funny rip-off of Stephen Colbert), or because the "Washington Insider" label (combined with the inanity of the election cycle) is making me want to have someone as least tainted by Washington as possible. Maybe I'm even a little bit subliminally sexist and am holding Hillary up to an unfair likability standard. But I don't really like her. I don't feel inspired by her. And after her spending so much time trying to move herself as centrist-ward as possible, I don't really trust her. She seems very calculating, more so than Obama. Part of that is image, admittedly, but in terms of who actually gets me EXCITED, it's no contest.

Shiska Girlfriend's father, Habakkuk, made an interesting comment when he came to visit with my parents. He referred to himself as a "Yellow Dog" Democrat (not to be confused with Blue Dog Democrats), which means he would rather vote for a Yellow Dog than a Republican. It made me smile and a little sad at the same time. (More interesting stuff on the Yellow Dog history and phenomenon here.)

I like to think I'm open-minded. And intellectually, and even socially, I think I am. Compared to my peers at college, I didn't seem to be quite as angry or personal about "Republican SOBs." I don't think, as some dillholes insist on bleating, that conservatives are evil. I just seriously disagree with them.

But in terms of who I would personally vote for? None of the Republicans on the ticket, or any in my lifetime, come anywhere close to where my personal values lie. I am not negotiable on Roe v. Wade. I believe that there is, in fact, a social contract between the government and the citizens of its country, and that it has a responsibility to assist those who need it. (I don't know enough about economics to have much of a position other than that the idea of a truly "Free" Market seems about as Utopian as a truly Marxist society, and that in any event, Bush was about as fiscally conservative as a dog turd.) I want the religious right to keep its faith confined to Churches and private schools. I like that Mike Huckabee is the first non-bitchy evangelical politician I've seen in ages but it's not enough to make me vote for him. I hear them talking and it's like we're on different planets or speaking different languages. And though I believe the War against Jihadist Nutjobs is important, I'm unconvinced that either Republicans or Democrats have all the answers. Frankly, even if the Republicans DID have all the answers, their tactics for smearing their opponents as pansies or traitors is enough to make me not want to have anything to do with them (and if Guiliani says 9/11 one more time, I'm going to make him eat his glasses).

So that's where I stand. Feel free to sound off.

Oh, and I visited my parents over MLK weekend and was highly amused by one of the Propositions on the SF ballot. Apparently some group of bozos wants the city to purchase Alcatraz from the Parks Service, tear it down, and replace it with a Global Peace Center, consisting of a conflict resolution room (we'll just shlepp the Israelis and Palestinians over there from now on instead of Camp David), a Medicine Wheel, a labyrinth (???) a "Harmonium," and, not to be overlooked, a series of something called "Artainment" multimedia centers. In my house, usually the second you make up a new word you lose the argument, but if that wasn't enough, one of the very left-wing papers in the city also panned the idea. Best line: "People don't have to support everything with peace in the title."

Though my family often feels uncomfortable siding with the SF Republican Party (in this case they were the only ones who bothered to write anything against it on the ballot packet), this time I don't think there will be too many qualms. These guys look and sound like nutjobs, and besides, Alcatraz is a major tourist attraction precisely because of its checkered history. Plus, old prisons are cool.

But apparently things are more complicated than I realized. Just observe this exchange of letters in the SF Chronicle:

'Negative' landmark?

Editor - San Francisco's Proposition C - The city acquisition of Alcatraz in order to tear it down and replace it with a so-called "peace center" ("Park bond, police pension measures await city voters," Jan. 22) certainly ranks among some of the idiotic issues brought before San Francisco voters in recent years.

I'm not sure what "negative energy" proposition backer Da Vid feels Alcatraz generates, and it's beyond me how the mere presence of Alcatraz, as Vid claims, "is negatively affecting the psychology of the entire Bay Area." When I view Alcatraz, I see a historical landmark that is part of the rich history of San Francisco. Also, I have certainly not felt any negative energy as the result of touring the former federal penitentiary.

Perhaps Mr. Vid and his Mill Valley followers would better serve San Francisco by focusing their energy on resolving more pressing issues such as graffiti, homelessness, gangs and the Municipal Railway.

Proposition C tells me that Da Vid and his followers want a location with million-dollar views to conduct business but want San Francisco taxpayers to foot the bill. Vote no on this measure.


San Francisco

Editor - I was astounded at your editorial ("A vision for Alcatraz?" Jan. 23) writing off a global peace center in favor of ... an old funky prison? Duh. No local people ever go to this place called Alcatraz. It is a tourist place and a certain kind of tourist place. What social merit does it have? What cultural merit does it serve? What artistic merit does it share? None.

Please, liberate yourself and your readers from this old way of thinking. To move forward into a new and better world is noble. Do we need an old, falling-down prison to show "our history is rarely uplifting"?

We could use some peace, though. The proposed center sounds wonderful. Give peace a chance.



Wow, you stupid, stupid moron. You know, no New Yorkers ever go to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty either. What should we turn those into, a 20-story Dunkin' Doughnuts? You know what's also depressing? The Alamo. Oh, and don't forget concentration camps. Let's turn them all into global peace centers. Or at least Harmoniums. Wait, didn't they already do that in one place?

And again, notice how the people supporting this idea are NOT residents of the city! Fascinating, ain't it?

Frankly, the only people involved in this weird venture I have any respect or sympathy for are the Native Americans, who seem like they're getting conned.

"My bottom line is getting the actual prison off the island," [Native American spiritual leader Marshall "Golden Eagle"] Jack explains. "There's a lot of crystal energy, spiritually wise, on the island. It's an icon for a lot of tribes around the Bay Area who were here way before the Europeans. A Global Peace Center idea is just an option, but if it doesn't manifest that way, if it becomes an ecological center, fine."

Must... resist... smart-assery... Has... valid right to... weirdo... crystal theology...

Oh wait, more white people. I can ridicule them guilt-free.

Jack serves as assistant director of the Global Peace Foundation, a branch of the nonprofit San Francisco Medical Research Foundation, which Mill Valley resident Da Vid founded in the late 1970s — about the time he first had a vision of domes on Alcatraz.

"I saw them during a Celestial Healing Festival on Mt. Tam in 1978, seven years after the Indian occupation ended," says Da Vid, who says he is a medical doctor and artist — and currently serves as treasurer of the Alcatraz Conversion Project, a political action committee whose coffers contain $30,000 from Da Vid's mother, Miriam Ornstein.

GPF assistant director Kevin Ohnsman told the Guardian, "We feel that the Republican Party's opposition to Prop. C is our best endorsement."

I wouldn't bet on it, bobo.


Jack said...

I don't believe Obama is going to win but it has nothing to do with race. There may be a small percentage of people who won't vote for him because of his color, but I have a hard time believing that there are a significant number of them.

He just doesn't have the experience.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

I agree that the experience thing is a killer, which is why I'm annoyed that Richardson wasn't charismatic enough to get people to pay attention to him as the Clinton alternative.

SNL had it dead-on with a sketch several months ago where they had a debate and the guy playing Richardson just starts talking to the moderator: "I was an ambassador! And secretary of energy! I negotiated with North Korea! I'm a governor! WHY WON'T ANYONE PAY ATTENTION TO ME?"

And everyone keeps acting like he isn't there.

It's sad, really.