Monday, October 20, 2008

Election 2008!!

I got this in the post last week:

That's right kids, it's voting time in Chantal land.
So in honour of this momentous event, for this post I'm talking politics bitches!!

Let's get ready to rumble!

Well, I'm only talking politics a little; I'm not knowledgeable enough for heavy discourse so I'll only make 3 small points:

1. The Mythologizing of Barak Obama and Why It's Wrong. I like Barak Obama. I will be voting for him and if he wins I think he'll make a swell president. However, Barak Obama is not sent from heaven. Despite his rally cry of "Change!" and his obvious political distance from the current leaders, he is still just another politician trying to get elected. He has lobbyists, he has Big Business corporations vying for his attention and asking for tax breaks and should he get elected, chances are he will be playing nice with at least some of the same people as Bush does now. I'm aware of this, and I still think he's a better choice. I think he has better values, I agree with his policies and I think he better represents the future of America. But I know a lot of Obama supporters (especially those in their twenties) who seem to think of Barak as the second coming or a national hero. They exalt him as morally above all other politicians, of not having a corrupt bone in his body and of being a saviour-like figure who will rescue this dying relic of a country and resurrect it as the leader of the world. Not only is this naive idea unlikely, but it will lead to a lot of disappointed 20-somethings should Barak get elected. The country is in an economic shit-hole at the moment, and whoever gets elected is going to have an uphill battle trying to fix things. A big worry is that if Barak gets elected he will be scrutinized over how he deals with this situation and if he fucks up (which wouldn't be too hard) he'll be remembered as the president who led us into a recession. Four years from now, this is what the republicans will be saying in order to get rid of him.
For the sake of argument though, let's assume Obama gets elected and just totally takes care of the FUBAR economy. This mythologising of him is still dangerous. I read articles and hear people speak of him as though he is an almost otherworldly presidential candidate, someone so vastly different from what we've had in the past that he will completely shake things up and totally turn this country around. Sure, he's disparate compared to the current administration, but he is still a politician. He will screw some things up, do things for money not the better good, piss part of the country off, and be held up to ridicule. Which is fine - JFK wasn't perfect and neither was Clinton, who bizarrely is treated like Jesus amongst liberals (ironic considering how many of them are atheist) even though during his tenure he was impeached. I don't think we should be making Obama out to be a model of perfection; he's a normal human, he just happens to be smarter than most and a super presidential candidate. But that's it. If you're one of the deluded masses who thinks Barak would never do anything wrong ever and is just a sincere incorruptible Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington character, you are in for a very nasty wake-up call if, and when, he gets into office...

2. Sarah Palin is Not Running for President. Has any other vice-presidential nominee in history been held up to this much scrutiny? Has any VP nominee ever been compared to the opposing presidential nominee this much?? Even Dan Quail didn't get this much shit. Of course, because I'm not a moron, I think Sarah Palin would be a terrible vice-president, and a terrifying president. With a few exceptions, I disagree with nearly every one of her policies and find it depressing that she is as close as a woman has gotten to the white house. Luckily for me, Sarah isn't on a winning team, and she is not running for president. Does anyone else know this? Why is she always being compared to Obama? I am aware that a vice-president has to be prepared for the presidency; this is the core role of their job description. Plus, I know - McCain is like SUPER old and stuff and if he dies, she's in charge and then we're fucked. But, as well as the somewhat despicable ageism on display in this type of thinking, McCain is hardly 2 steps away from the hospice people, he's only a couple years older than Reagan was when he stepped up to plate and that dude lasted well into his 90's. Palin should be compared with...ummm...what's his name? Oh yeah, Joe Biden! Remember him? He's the same as Sarah Palin in terms of potential power, yet the exact opposite in every other way. How many Biden interviews have you read? How many articles are written about him? Has no one considered that Obama, as one of the most polarizing candidates in recent memory, is ripe for assassination and Biden could be running this joint in a year or two? Are we all cool with that?? If not, maybe that's what we should be talking about when we talk about Sarah Palin.

3. Left-wing Media Has Just as Much Agenda as Right-Wing Media. This kind of goes hand in hand with the first point; for some reason lefties seem to think that liberal media/news sources, much like Obama, are above dirty tricks and smearing and only print the objective truth. This is a lie. Media is media is media. And as wonderful as the The Guardian is, it's also a business that needs to sell papers, just like The Telegraph. They may represent two different viewpoints, but they do so in very similar ways. Don't get me wrong, I read The Guardian (and The Observer!) and I think it's great. It's my favourite paper in England. But I don't see it as gospel and The Only Truth. I think sometimes it leaves out certain facts to make a point and I think it often falls prey to the same lazy journalism that befouls the rest of the news industry. I also it has an agenda, the editors may not ram it down our throats, but it's there. And anyone who seriously denies this is kidding oneself.
Take this article from a few days ago:
McCain was not tortured, PoW guard claims.

This is an article asserting that John McCain's well-reported claims of having been tortured for 5 years as a PoW in Vietnam are wildly exaggerated and that really, he didn't have it so bad. Who is the reliable and objective source The Guardian quotes you ask? A fucking Vietnamese prison guard from the jail he was held captive in. This is tantamount to getting a former Nazi who was at Auschwitz to tell us that really, the gas chambers weren't THAT tough. Now, I don't want McCain to win, so you'd think I'd be okay with this kind of smearing (even though it's sort of useless as it's printed in The Guardian, the readers of which are over-whelmingly pro-Obama, not to mention British and therefore unable to vote in any case) and in a way, I'm at least accepting of it. Smearing happens in politics, it's part and parcel of being in a party. What I hate is the hypocrisy of it; liberals tear apart Fox news (quite rightly) for offering one-sided, partisan views on EVERYTHING but we don't bat an eyelid when leftist media plays the same game. I'm not suggesting that The Guardian or The New York Times is anywhere near sensationalizing shit the way Fox does, I'm just saying they're not innocent hippies either. I view both sides of the news with some scepticism, I try to read news from politically disparate sources to get a full story and though I may prefer some news sources to others, this doesn't automatically make those I disagree with incredible. Nor does it absolve those I side with of any wrongdoing. Because as bad as it is for thick, conservative Americans to only get their news from Fox, it's equally as narrow-minded for smug, liberal Britons to only get their news from The Guardian and Jon Stewart.

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Tobias Revell said...

Wow, that was really serious. Interesting ideas though. You're right that Biden doesn't get as much attention but that's because the popular media trivialises politics and makes it a personality contest. The guy has no personality.

Anonymous said...

I watched a clip from my radio show in Dallas I used to really want to work for and one of the hosts had his Obama sign ripped up and left on his lawn. The states is still a pretty scary place in parts. You'd better get that in the mail QUICK!! We mailed ours last Thursday! (Do you know as a US Citizen you're supposed to be filing tax returns as well?? suprised us.) See you this weekend.
xxx Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I found that bored quite quickly reading your blog and now go work feel wasted small of my life.