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“We are the change we’ve been waiting for…” Part III

…But there is hope, and I’m thrilled…

Most of you know that I support Obama. I have from fairly early on in the race. I realize that I fall into the demographic of “young adult liberal” so why wouldn’t I support Obama? Good point, but there’s more to it than just that. I remember watching his speech in 2004 to the Democratic National Convention and saying to myself – why can’t every politician be like that? Precise, Hopeful, Genuine. Little did I know he would battle the Clinton machine and become the Democratic nominee only 4 years later. For the most part Obama also seems to abhor social conservatism as much as me and is taking that battle to the source (winning most of the time). He’s a masterful politician (and he’s only 47). He has been successfully running a campaign for the highest Washington office based on an anti-Washington platform (Clinton didn’t even try that… ). He actually seems to change his mind now and then when the circumstances require it after deliberating and consulting with his advisors. He’s willing to admit his faults and seems to be open to other options than just what he thinks is right. Most of all he brings dignity, change, and hope back to the table; three things that the country has needed and waited for, for the past 8 years. This notion that America could actually be proud of the way it conducts itself in the world again has gripped the nation. It’s sad that that’s even a necessary change, but no one will argue that it’s true. After the past 8 years of the politics of fear, the country is ready and in need of some hope. That’s why Obama routinely draws 40 thousand people to his rallies and amassed a crowd of over 200,000 people in Berlin, 99% of which can’t even help elect him. That’s why he has one of the largest ground campaigns in history with supporters flooding every state knocking on doors and hosting gatherings. Call it rhetoric, call it lofty, call him an “empty suit”, call him elite (and explain to me why that is bad?), but it’s caught on and gotten people excited about this year’s election. I have friends and family who never would have thought twice about politics normally, but Obama has made them feel like they can contribute and be a part of the process again. Granted much of this can be attributed to the disdain and unhappiness many feel with the current administration, but Obama is an exciting candidate and a great representative to seize the opportunity of change. For the first time in my brief political awareness I feel like what I stand for and believe in might be represented and fought for in Washington. And who knows, maybe in a few years it’ll be just a little bit easier to have health insurance, a little bit easier to buy gas, a little bit safer to travel abroad, a little bit easier to own a house, we’ll be a little bit closer to real energy independence, produce a little bit less pollution every day, and we’ll have a little bit more stable global economy.

Now I’m the first to admit that some of Obama’s proposals sound a little far-fetched and expensive, and that the challenges he faces are unmatched in history. Universal health care will be hard to make happen and may not work at first. Education in America needs a complete overhaul – good luck on that. Foreign policy needs to be redefined – We can’t continue to wage on war on states, when the enemy is a stateless entity. Social Security is disappearing – I’m not even expecting any money but my Parents still better get some. The Economy needs a good facelift – Please, make the korean Won go back up. The list goes on, but it is because Obama is ready and willing to try to change or fix even some of these problems that he gets my vote. When I hear Obama say we need to change Washington, I know (or hope) that it’s not just a political saying. When McCain says it, I feel like it’s only because he has to now, that’s the only thing this election can be about if you want to win. McCain might bring change to Washington, but more in the swift moving “Maverick” style of sudden jumps. I’d rather a steady swift overhaul – let’s step back and make sure this thing is right. Sitting here in Korea I can see that things are possible. I went to the Dentist today and only spent 5 dollars. I bought cold medicine last week for only 2. Universal health care can happen and it can work. Granted Korea got to restart and build up from scratch 60 years ago but it’s possible; and Korea is not the only one who’s gotten it right.

Obama wants to try to get it right…
…and that’s why I support him.

I’m not asking people to agree with me. I’m not asking people to say I’m right or wrong. I am asking for people to think. To research. To examine all the options and then make up your mind. I don’t care who you’re rooting for, as long as you take a second to think about why you support them, what one position makes you stay on one side or the other, what one quality has steered you that way? What quote or policy? Now – go research it – make sure it’s true, make sure the other guy doesn’t think the same thing and if they don’t – why? Once you sift through the rubble of American “journalism” make up your momentary mind. Then tomorrow – do it again. I’ll do the same. I’ll research both McCain and Obama, both Palin and Biden and everyone else on my ballot in an attempt to become better informed in the remaining days of the election. It’s the least we can do… Then, of course, go vote!

This manifesto of sorts is by no means an attack on anyone’s beliefs or political leanings. Only an attack on apathy. Only a rally of support for what I believe in and a call for awareness of what has been and could be, that I can’t let slide by as “policy” or “patriotism”. Not this time – the problems of the world have only been accentuated by seeing how the other half lives. And I’ll be coming home soon…

October 15, 2008   1 Comment

“We are the change we’ve been waiting for…” Part II

(We’re in Seoul this weekend shopping and EATING. More when we get back!) Here is part II…

Old Mac…

I’ll spare the typical preface of “he’s a hero and honorable and has served the country for 800 years” bit because we all know I’m not questioning that. I’m not upset at McCain’s record, I’m upset at McCain NOW. More accurately I’m upset at people who believe everything he says. Much of his candidacy has been based in lies (especially the past few weeks); all this after a pledge to rise above the Republican playbook, to run a clean campaign, and a previous record of honest leadership. He is using trick tactics to try to win the election. I was listening to The New Yorker’s election podcast the other day and someone was drawing a metaphor between the economy/stocks and McCain/Obama. Obama being the long term investment, his campaing being carefully calculated months in advance. McCain being the ultimate day trader only looking for the buy/sell of the day. I’ll just start with a few weeks ago…Sarah Palin. Who?! For someone who’s main attack on his opponent for the entire campaign has been Experience, to appoint someone with even less experience and more controversial views just because she will shock and awe the American people is a pretty backwards move. I was never the biggest fan of Hillary but at least she earned the right to be center stage and had to fight to get there. Palin had no struggle, no tests, and seemingly no vetting, before being thrust into the limelight on America’s Next Top President. I have no problem with women in seats of power, or women in politics — but I do think anyone who is in that short list should at least have the capacity to answer a few questions with Katie Couric before being considered a viable candidate to run the country. People make the same case against Obama — “he has the same or less experience than Palin…” — The past 18 months have been a constant uphill battle for Obama and he has prevailed at every step. Beating the strongest political machine of modern history (The Clintons) along with other “seasoned veterans of Washington” is proof of his political chops and I think his ability to lead. He’s got a movement behind him and I don’t think much can stop that. And contrary to conservative attacks many of those people can actually think for themselves. Remember… “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”

More than the issue of experience, I disagree with 99 % of everything Palin says and in some ways McCain does too. So why did he pick her? It seems to me it was merely a sly political hail mary. A “Maverick” Move. Let us not forget that Beau Maverick was a gambler – who bluffed, and lied to win his hands. Palin believes that the world was literally created in 7 days, 6,000 years ago, Women who were raped should not be allowed an abortion (and even charges rape victims money for rape tests in her own town), M-16s and assault rifles are every citizens right for protection and “hunting”, homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed any civic rights, Christianity is the only religion in America, stem cell research is a crime, and that “thanks, I’ll take 453 million dollars in ear marks for my state” means “Thanks, but no thanks”. Garrison Keillor wrote this a few weeks ago for Salon.com, “And a former mayor of a town of 7,000 who hired a lobbyist to get $26 million in federal earmarks is now running against the old-boy network in Washington who gave her that money to build the teen rec center and other good things so she could keep taxes low in Wasilla. Stunning. And if you question her qualifications to be the leader of the free world, you are an elitist. This is a beautiful maneuver.” He then followed it up with… “When you check the actuarial tables on a 72-year-old guy who’s had three bouts with cancer, you guess you may be looking at the first woman president, a hustling Evangelical with ethics issues and a chip on her shoulder who, not counting Canada, has set foot outside the country once — a trip to Germany, Iraq and Kuwait in 2007 to visit Alaskans in the armed service. And who listed a refueling stop in Ireland as a fourth country visited. She’s like the Current Occupant but with big hair. If you want inexperience, there were better choices.”

As if that wasn’t enough, people are actually buying into this. McCain and Palin have distorted everything Obama has said or stands for in the past few weeks and people actually believe it. Even when they know it’s not true…(Their odious social stances should sound the alarm for all Democrats and right-minded Republicans. (and luckily it seems to be… in some circles.) There are many reasons that the Democrats aren’t perfect either… Obama has only publicly supported Civil Unions between homosexuals – not marriage (a good step, but come on!). Democrats have trouble acknowledging that completely universal health care is practically a pipedream. Obama has changed his mind on issues like offshore drilling, and supports another stimulous package that I feel is just a distraction from the bigger tasks at hand. Dems have inconsistant stances on foreign policy and in this election in particular they have pandered to the center on a lot of social issues to get votes. But the Democrat’s demons lie predominantly in public policy differences, not social – different ideas on how to best manage the country – not ideas on how repress, revoke, or reject people’s human and social rights. Even if Democrats have all the wrong answers for global terrorism, the economy, health care, and education – if it means more open social pluralism and awareness around our country and the world I can only support their cause. Granted, I happen to believe that more of the 2008 Democratic policies are what we need right now, but that’s neither here nor there.

(Next post… Why I’m thrilled…)

October 4, 2008   1 Comment

“We are the change we’ve been waiting for…” Part I

I’m not usually one for confrontation or debate. I’m an “Easy going” guy or maybe I’m just indecisive—Why don’t you tell me… Few things really get me fired up to support one way or the other and although Spicy Fishy is supposed to be a blog about our voyages around the world, this post has nothing to do with travel. It has everything to do with home and with America. And right now, this year, this fall, I’ve got an opinion.

I’m fed up,
and thrilled
….at the same time.
I’m fed up with America.

… Our political system is a mess …

I won’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of lobbyists, special interests, earmarks, or the “old Boy’s network”… But it’s pretty obvious that something isn’t right. When people get paid (a lot of money) to hinder the process and lobby for interests that are the opposite of helpful to the American people – something is wrong. When a president is allowed to wage war unilaterally by ‘duping’ the public and the government into supporting it with fear mongering and lies – something is wrong. When a majority of that same public didn’t even vote for the sitting president – something is wrong. When human rights advances are rolled back for criminal captives and women and minorities something is wrong. When that president and his band of merry men can’t acknowledge their own humanity or claim blame for their failed economic, foreign, and domestic policies – something is wrong. But what I’m more fed up about is people’s apathy and acceptance of these wrongs as the norm. People need to wake up.

… The Bailout …

Again, I will not claim to know why or how this is all happening but I can’t help but be fed up with the hypocrisy of this administration and the Republican party as it stands today. I understand why the Republicans are always working for a smaller government. OK – the idea makes sense. But when “smaller government” means releasing markets and industries in this country and around the world to operate without any oversight or a watchful eye, “smaller government” is simply irresponsible. Even if all the CEO’s on Wall Street were honorable and mindful of the risks and challenges their companies face, regulation is necessary to monitor the economic growth and to protect the investors and institutions. Shouldn’t that be assumed? nope… De-regulate de-regulate de-regulate, until one day companies start failing due to lack of oversight, and only then does the government start paying attention to the companies behavior. Only at THAT point do we need regulation and big government to step in. Scratch that.. MASSIVE government …700 billion dollars of government to come save the day.

Thanks guys, really. I’m so happy that I get to help bailout criminal CEOs who were allowed (by you…) to do whatever they wanted. How does that happen?! I’m just glad John McCain went back to Washington fix it…he is an economist, right? (sarcasm.) McCain doesn’t sit on any relevant committees or have anything to offer to the discussion about the Bailout. So what exactly did he hope to accomplish? I understand that he’s now the party leader (sorry Bush but you just don’t matter anymore, I guess) and he needed to “rally his troops” but I don’t understand how photo-ops help that cause and I’m glad he was still able to make it to Ol Miss. (Just in time!). I’m glad the first bill failed. It sent shock waves through the political system and made everyone step back for a second and think about this thing. Granted, it seems everyone is coming back to the same fix but it sent a signal to the administration and to the country – The era of no limit economics and blank checks is over. (Hopefully)

This is part I of a rant I’ve been writing the past few days… A diversion from the normal updates, it is meant to spawn discussion and thought. Please leave a comment or tell me why I’m wrong :)

October 2, 2008   Comments Off