Saturday, September 13, 2008

Topical Thunder

I am a fierce proponent of the privacy of the ballot. I have rarely shared my selections with anyone, for a myriad of reasons, but the primary one has been that it's extremely personal. Combined with the fact that I've never voted along any party's lines; I suspect that it's a guilty pleasure that I relish voting differently than people think I have, sometimes.I'm going to break with that tradition, today, and I'm going to try and explain why. I think I've come to a logical conclusion, for some very personal reasons, and only God knows why I'm prompted to reveal it.
One of the songs that formed my social consciousness is "Reader's Digest", by Larry Norman. The pertinent lyric for this post:
"It's 1973, I wonder who we're gonna see
Who's in power now? Think I'll turn on my TV,
The man on the news said China's gonna beat us,
We shot all our dreamers, and there's no one left to lead us . . ."
I was young, but I remember reading about the transformation of Robert Kennedy from priveleged poster boy to social catalyst, only to be cut down on the verge of making this country very different than the one we're living in now. He was not allowed to fully create a legacy the way that Martin Luther King did; he now has the benefit of the memory of lost potential over actual history, of course, but I think that he would have made a tremendous difference had he been elected. The net effect of these two assassinations on our society is still being felt, 40 years later. You should be able to agree with me on that.
It is personally sickening to me to watch the conservative and christian (yes, small 'c') media embrace Sarah Palin and her daughter's situation, proving themselves hypocrites because they've done 180 degree spins on what they've said publicly for years about other people in public life for years in the same circumstances. Their moral stands, then, were dogmatic and taken primarily for shock value and self-promotion over compassion and caring. What they don't seem to realize is that their past pontifications are more accessible for review and regurgitation now than ever before. Their morality appears to be for sale, or at least for rent, in exchange for the promise of policies that would please their canonical maniacalism. Their slobbering endorsements and apparent willingness to turn their blind eyes to all of the other issues facing this nation, I suppose, confirm her selection to the ticket. I don't think she's the most talented, qualified person for the job. I am disappointed that the party needs these people to win. It has become a character issue for me.
I wish John McCain had been the party's choice 8 years ago. I think that things would be different - if not uantitatively, then qualitatively. That's all I'll say about that.
I have a cynical head, and an optimist's heart. I've been thinking of Barack Obama in the context of Jimmy Carter's administration, a bit. I don't think that the President of the United States can make radical change - to me it's like steering an oil tanker or trying to stop a train - it takes a lot of energy, time, and distance. Those who have, have had the courage to rally both the American people and the Congress solidly behind them. This is as it should be. Gerald Ford and Whip Inflation Now. Jimmy Carter in a sweater appealing to America to turn down their thermostats come to mind - unable to capture the 'hearts and minds' of the citezenry.
There is a dreamer running for President, this year. So far, he's saying the right things, focusing on those things that are important as I see them. If he's able to follow through, I think he has more potential to be what George W. claimed to be - "A uniter, not a divider." I think bold moves are needed.
This election season, for a lot of reasons, has put me (and I suspect many others) farther out of my 'comfort zone' than any Presidential election in recent memory. I think the last election was a chilling reminder that each of our votes count. I very nearly did not vote then; I was completely non-plussed with the choices.
I think, this time, I'm going to try to dream, a little. I'll let you know if I change my mind.