|To Convince an Undecided
||[Sep. 23rd, 2008|11:02 pm]
This is arguably the most important election that a member of our generation has yet faced. And this is unarguably a partisan issue. I am, and have been since the early days of the campaign, an Obama supporter and I offer no apologies as such. This essay is intended to explain my decision to support Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden over Senator McCain and Governor Palin, and to spell out the reasons that undecideds like her should as well.
Senator McCain’s pick for running mate is nothing short of an insult to American women everywhere. Senator McCain’s choice not to go with those Conservative darlings like former Governor Mitt Romney, or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, in favor of a little-known governor of the largest state in the union with the 3rd smallest population in the union is a political play intended to shave support from the disaffected women who feel they were short-changed with the defeat of Hillary Clinton. Sarah Palin’s politics are at the opposite of the political spectrum. Palin’s pro-gun, anti-choice conservatism rivals only a figure like Ann Coulter – a bastion of feminism if I’ve ever heard of one.
What is being lost on most of Hillary’s supporters is that Governor Palin is opposed to virtually everything that Senator Clinton believes in and ran on. All that Governor Palin and Senator Clinton share is a biological similarity – and nothing more. And if Hillary Clinton’s reproductive system was the only (or primary) reason that her supporters voted for her, then her supporters need to seriously reconsider their political priorities.
Consider for a moment the political positions important to this race, the political positions that Hillary Clinton believed were important when she ran for President: The issues that are important to women.
Senator McCain’s views on abortion have been made clear. Despite the attempt to portray himself and his ticket as a moderate shift from the Republican party, the Senator’s views on abortion have certainly met with staunch approval from the likes of Reverend Pat Robertson and Senator Sam Brownback. In fact, Senator Brownback read a statement by Senator McCain to a protest march in Washington on January 22, 2008 reading “If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the next President of the United States, I pledge to you to be a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement.” NARAL Pro-Choice American has prepared a report stating that Senator McCain has voted against the right to choose in 115 out of 119 relevant votes. McCain has an opinion on determining what choices a woman should and should not have regarding her body and her family that is direct contrast with the views shared by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And Senator McCain’s selection of a female running mate does on no way counters or balances these positions – in fact, they exacerbate them.
Sarah Palin is lock-step with Senator McCain on the issue of a woman’s right to choose. The website of NARAL Pro-Choice American cites an article from the Juneau Empire: “Palin, a member of the anti-choice group Feminists for Life, said during her campaign for governor that she is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.” Any comfort that female supporters of Hillary Clinton get from McCain’s running mate can be dissolved by realizing that the first female Vice-President will be an ardent supporter of eroding her gender’s hard-fought rights and victories over the male establishment over the years. And the woman who would be president should John McCain – who would be the oldest man ever to assume the Presidency – die or become incapacitated, would use her office to select Federal judges who would erode those freedoms, and would veto any bills that attempt to further those freedoms.
The McCain/Palin ticket's plan to wean America off of oil is predicated on drilling for more oil here in America. While this plan may help to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will do nothing to reduce our dependence on oil, which is the underlying problem.
In his state of the union in 2006, President George W. Bush, a product of the oil industry, announced that "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology." Even T. Boone Pickens, one of the hardest-core oil men, has endorsed a plan that does not include oil!
The McCain/Palin plan not only does nothing to curb America's addiction to oil, it means to increase it! Assuming for a second that the President was right, and that America is addicted to oil, is the cure for an addiction more of the same? Think of it this way: If a man is an alcoholic, do we suggest that the best cure for his love for Scotch is to switch to American-made Tennessee whiskey? This is what the McCain/Palin plan is tantamount to. Don't work on the addiction, just bring the addiction closer to home. The only ones that benefit from the McCain/Palin plan is the people who make the record profits from oil revenues. Because they will have all sorts of new places to drill, and they won't have to go far from home.
Obama/Biden's plan is surprisingly-Republican sounding. Huge government investment in businesses to create economical alternative energy solutions. Basically they want to invest in the private sector and have industry solve the problem. It is surprising to me that there isn't an industry involved seeking out the Republicans for their stereotypical love of big business, in fact it's the Democrats that want to invest and show the tax-break love for an industry that can actually taper America's dependence on oil... Not just foreign oil, but domestic oil, too.
Experience is something that has been blown vastly out of proportion during this campaign. Pretty much every candidate, Democrat and Republican alike, have accused Barack Obama of being inexperienced.
Only in the Fox series "24" does the President call all his/her own shots. In the real world, the President makes a decision only after careful deliberation and debate amongst his/her staff and advisors. Same for the military. Presidents are the Commanders-in-Chief of the military, but they issue orders only after being carefully advised and briefed by the finest minds in the best-trained military in the world. Such is the nature of the civilian-run military.
But let's put that aside for a second and look at history's "greatest" (in quotations because this title can be debated) presidents.
- Abraham Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, served as an attorney in Illinois, then a member of the State Legislature, then the U.S. House of Representatives. He never headed an executive agency, had even less foreign policy than Governor Palin does, yet micromanaged the Union through a civil war.
- John F. Kennedy - President Kennedy, while a war hero who commanded a PT Boat in World War II, had no political executive experience. Kennedy served three terms in the House of Representatives, and then one term in the Senate before being elected president, and all he did was stare down the Soviet Union in the closest the U.S. has ever come to a full-scale nuclear war.
- Harry S. Truman - The man that saw the U.S. to the end of World War II, and had to make the decision to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan, though an officer in World War I, served as a county judge, Senator, and then served less than a year and a half as Vice President before ascending to the Presidency with the death of Roosevelt.
Despite what John McCain would like, the experience factor is not nearly as important as common sense and good judgment. Common sense and good judgment do not come from executive experience, they come from humanity.
Now, do not get me wrong, I am in no way stating that Senator McCain or Governor Palin have poor judgment or lack common sense, I am saying that their claims that Senator Obama will somehow fold under the pressure of an international crisis, or will inexplicably cause the end of the world are unfounded, and meant to question Senator Obama's common sense and good judgment. And that is unfair.
For the last eight years, mum has been the name of the game. Since September 11, 2001, the date in which the Bush administration decided that it could do whatever it wanted and had to answer to no one. Its secrecy and lack of transparency have been one of its greatest detriments, and it will inevitably go down in history as the most secretive and closed presidential administration in history... Yes, even moreso than that of Richard Nixon.
And it appears that the McCain/Palin team is headed down that same route. Senator McCain has done many press conferences and interviews with the media, and has answered reporters' questions on the trail. Senator Obama has done so as well. Senator Biden, since joining the Democratic ticket, has done a high number of Q&As, interviews and has otherwise interacted with the press. Governor Palin, in a nod to Vice President Cheney, has done a grand total of two interviews, and regularly ducks away from the press.
The lack of transparency in the last eight years has hurt the institution of the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Only when the President acts as the employee of the people that he/she is, does the job itself mean anything. Secrecy for secrecy's sake is wrong. Senator Obama and Senator Biden have made themselves available like a President and Vice President should, while Senator McCain and Governor Palin are not.
As I said in the beginning of this article, this is the most important election that our generation has yet faced. It will not be the last important decision, but every important decision that will come has to start with this one catalyst. The Republicans have failed us all, and to surrender the Presidency back to them so that they may continue the country into the freefall that it has been in is basically shooting ourselves in the collective foot, and further hindering our progress as a society.
Senators Obama and Biden are running on a platform of change. Change can be a scary thing. But in this day, change is the only hope for millions of Americans. 47 million Americans have no health insurance, or not enough health insurance. Unemployment is at 6.1%. A thousand homes are foreclosed upon every day. The failure of major financial companies threaten to bring the global economic system to its knees. The deficit is at record-breaking levels. $10 billion goes to Iraq every month. Gas prices are hovering around $4/gallon. Change may be scary. But staying the course - now that is true terror.
Governor Palin's pick as a Vice Presidential candidate was intended not to secure a strong president should Senator McCain, hardly a spring chicken, die or become incapacitated in office, but to further isolate those Hillary Clinton supporters who still think that the supporters of Obama are somehow womanizers who simply don't want to see a woman in the White House.
But Hillary Clinton herself said it best - this election is too important. The election is not about her, it was never about her. It was about taking the country in the right direction, a direction that we have not seen for eight long years.
Crossposted to _liberal_, newliberal_army, cynicaliberal, and my personal LJ. Please feel free to link to it. I ask that you do not lift from the article, but rather link directly to it.