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MUNDANE DISTRACTIONS
"For" rather than "Against" 
18th-Mar-2008 10:00 pm
Last week I was talking politics with a friend of mine. While I haven't made many friends here I am grateful that the non-work friend I have made is farily intelligent and can carry on a decent conversation. During that conversation I told him about a realization I had about a year and a half ago when I was talking to my roommate at the time. That realization was that while I have voted in every presidential election since I turned 18 I have never actually voted "for" a candidate. Rather, I have always voted "against" one of the candidates. It was a sad realization when I had it.

Back then (when I was voting) I didn't realize it though as my political awareness really only came on and has been growing since 2000. Still, I can look back now and hear myself thinking not "I want so-and-so in office" but actually "I don't want THAT yutz in office." As I said, a sad realization. As time has gone on it actually makes sense considering the kind of individuals we're offered to choose from when it comes to political offices, espeically that of the President. Now, for only the second time do I find myself really being in a possible position of voting "for" a presidential candidate. It almost happened eight years ago, but the person who I actually had some faith in didn't make the final cut (so to speak). Still, I do realize that such a thing might happen, and it will come down to who becomes the candidate for the Democratic party. In my mind it breaks down in the following fashion:

Clinton vs McCain - Voting "Against"
In this matchup it's not that I dislike either candidate. It's just that for me this matchup represents "more of the same" when it comes to a number of things. You see, I don't really see Democrats and Republicans as being all that different. While each party is seen as having different "ideals," to me it's become all about control for them. I really don't think that politicians on large actually care about regular citizens most of the time. I think they're more about getting their own little power fix. Now, while I don't necessarily think that either of these candidates are just out for themselves they do represent to me (in this faceoff) first and foremost the battle of the parties. That is not inspirational to me. Actually it's very disappointing, and I say that in regards to my own views and what I see in the matchup.

In this matchup I see myself looking at the each candidate's history not to see where they will guide us down the line, but where they are likely to push/pull us. Is it possible for each candidate to make changes to our country that could be greatly beneficial for all? Sure. But I am afraid I don't think I see that as being the end result. What I see is an early battle starting for the next presidential election, nothing more. Sorry.

McCain vs Obama - Voting "For"
In this matchup I need to look at myself more than the candidates. Why? Because in this matchup I feel as though each candidate not only can move beyond towing the party line, they HAVE to.

McCain's "maverick" label has been applied to him by people who are members of both major political parties, and that is something I like. He is someone who is able to keep a variety of politicians and special interest groups on their toes due to the diffucluty of pinning down what he is likely to do next. Now, he isn't as much of a maverick as he used to be, but he still creates enough concern within his own party that I can focus on him as who appears to be as an individual.

Obama, while a Democrat isn't someone who I see as a Democrat first and foremost. He is a politician who seems to be able to actually articulate what he envisions for this country in his mind's eye. Is it all possible and realistic? I don't know, but he comes across as someone who actually believes in the potential to bring about what he sees. While that is nothing new (even a delusional person can appear the same way) the extra "oomph" from him is that he appears to be more of the mindset that HE isn't the person to bring about such change, but more that WE the people are the ones who can/will bring about such change. Do we need him to do it? I don't think so. But I do believe that he may be the person who is able to open the door to the opportunity.

Beyond the bits I've mentioned above I believe this matchup also brings forward two very serious opposites, and that is keeping things as they are or moving things into the unknown. Each has its pros and cons. The thing is in this matchup I must sit down and seriously ask myself if we can afford to move forward into uncertainty, or can we afford not to?
Emmitt
Comments 
20th-Mar-2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
I've always voted for whom I wanted to win, which pretty much always meant not going with the major parties. The major parties just can never seem to get their acts together and push the issues that really need to be pushed to achieve equality in this world. -_-;; *sad* But by not voting for a major candidate, I feel as if my vote really doesn't count at all. Might as well abstain. Looking like that, I really wonder if it's even worth the effort to vote this year at all. It's really a pain in the butt. -_-;;

By the way, how do you feel about Obama's constant references to religion? I would say that he's a good candidate, but his constant reference to religion and government really puts me on the defensive, and makes me prickle. It kind of feels as if he doesn't acknowledge that there are non-religious/non-spiritual people in the country, and in general that's the way that society is (slowly) moving toward. It feels like he might throw us backward in time toward the dark ages just a little bit, and it makes me scared. Owing to past history (not his-- just in general), highly religious people have been the bane of GLBTs everywhere, and I really feel like he's not going to step up to my rights.. I'll be a little bit scared if he wins the Democratic bid, truthfully..
21st-Mar-2008 01:23 am (UTC)
You're right about the major parties. That's how I came to my "against" realization. If I wanted to vote for someone I could probably find an independent or write someone in. I was more strongly (unknowingly) motivated to try and keep one of the major players out than get an "unknown" in.

In all honesty I haven't seen much of Obama's references to religion. In fact, if it wasn't for the recent blowup with his preacher in the media I don't know if he'd talk about it all that much. But you may be looking at media sources different than me. As such, I'm not on guard as far as his religious references go at this point.

I think if it feels like he's not acknowledging non-religious/non-spiritual people it is likely that it because it's something you want him to address more openly. Just because he hasn't talked about it on large doesn't mean he isn't aware of it or hasn't thought about it (and that goes for any candidate or person).

Also, I have no idea where you're getting the idea that the country is moving in a non-spiritual/non-religious direction. While it is true that a recent survey shows that 1 in 4 adults aged 19 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religion that doesn't mean that they aren't at least spiritual. Plus, it doesn't imply what they will be as time goes on. Remember, as people get older they lose many habits such as drug use/abuse (legal and otherwise) and mellow out overall, so there is the chance that those people may look to some higher power at some point in their life (just as much as there is a chance they won't). The article I'm referring to is here.

I don't see him throwing us backwards in the least. As someone who is a minority I'd be disgusted if he were to do such a thing. While there are significant differences between ethnic and social minorities (one cannot be hidden as easily as the other) both are still minorities and I think deserve to be given attention in regards to being treated fairly (not special treatment...fair treatment).

If he doesn't step up your rights then I'd ask will he make them worse? While improvement would be better in the least keeping things where they are would be good. Also, again on the minority thing. With him in office I find there being the possibility of a more receptive ear as far as rights go.

The same could be said of Hillary, but I really don't know if the GLBT community should turn to a woman who has stayed with a man with her husband's history of cheating and such. The gay community specifically is already trying to get away from the negative stereotype that they basically just have sex with whoever/whenever. If they look to Hillary to represent/support their monogamous lifestyle the media will likely eat both alive. Unfair? Damn straight. Likely? No idea. But if I can think of it then you better be damn sure that someone who has a close-minded anti-GLBT agenda has already prepared for such a thing.

I really do think the GLBT community would have a better chance with Obama as they can draw the parallel of being citizens who pay taxes, etc. while being denied their rights. Plus, I think they could even argue their "God given" rights as religions have had to move beyond seeing blacks as a slave race to being equal and I think it's only sensible (socially and spiritually) that the same happen with those who are GLBT.

Still, the main thing is that if you do not believe a candidate will represent you or society as you wish, don't give them your vote. Period. I just ask that you make an honestly informed decision based up on your own research (which I ask of all people), not just what you're told by someone else (including me).
22nd-Mar-2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
Re Obama's religious standpoints: http://www.barackobama.com/
I doubt it's just me, but his front page look religious, in the style and design. But in any case, in his "Barack tv" section he too-often mentions religion. In the most current one last time I was at his site (I don't remember which but it was a few months ago or so), the entire video was about his religious convictions. And I know they've been called into question recently, but stating that you're SOSOSO!Christian just to 'prove' that you're not Muslim is a little bit telling, too. Sure, American sentiment is quite discriminatory against muslims right now, but rather than try and fight that prejudice against the religion, he just vehemently denies that he's involved, as if it's something dirty. =(

I don't think that he'd take rights away for me, but if he insists on separating gays and straight people into separate categories, then he is going to create a segregation that will last for a long time. How much longer before gay people are made to sit in separate sections of the bus, so to speak? It's a long, slippery slope.

Oh, and I agree about Hillary 100%. I have never liked her ever since she stayed married to her cheating husband. It's quite hypocritical of her to promote women's rights on one hand and not look out for her own on the other. But it comes down to voting for the least potentially harmful of the two, and I think that it would be easier to appeal to a woman's (even a dragon-lady like her) heart and hope for a more fair change.
23rd-Mar-2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Dunno about the site. Just looks like a regular politician's "I value family" angle. That's all I'm saying on the subject regarding his religion/spirituality at this point as I have no desire to walk down this familiar road again.

The statement you make about segregation in regards to separate sections and such is the difficult card I've been talking about that if people in the gay community were willing to play, would likely pay off. You see, the thing is that they're already doing what you fear. They've already made the separation and people don't see it through the simple gay marriage issue.

Gays are already being denied the same rights as straight couples. They pay their taxes, they work their jobs and they don't get the same benefits or recognition in their relationships that straight couple do. We know that. Sorry hon, but the slippery slope is being experienced.

If anyone could play hardball they'd make the statement that if they don't have the "right" to get married (much as interracial couples could not at one time) then why doesn't the government just start pulling their votes and make the bus sections, etc.? Put that stuff up for a nation wide vote. It won't pass. If it did the US would look like one of the most horrible nations in the world (not that we don't to some already).

Yet, those who fight for "gay rights" are shooting themselves in the foot the way I see it. If they would just vote for equality and rights, I think they'd get farther. I think the country as a whole has had enough of favoritism based on race (whatever it may be) and people narrowing the field to "gay" rights really brings back a whole "here we go again..." thing.

Me, I don't want special rights just because I'm an ethnic minority, I just want my rights honored and supported. If I were ever a victim of some kind of discrimination I'd be very specific in doing my best to keep race/ethnicity out of it because in doing so all I do is adopt their stamp on me and the way I "receive" my rights. Screw that. I'm human and a US citizen when it comes to my rights. Period.

The day I ask for special treatment/consideration just for having a higher level of melanin in my skin is the day someone needs to kick my ass.

Edited at 2008-03-23 02:36 am (UTC)
23rd-Mar-2008 03:03 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand.. (though it might have to do with the number of edits...) I know that the separation has already happened, but I was under the impression that the HRC especially was already playing the discrimination card. Their stance as I understand it being that "there are no differences between gay and straight people, so gay people should not be discriminated against".

The problem with putting up a measure like that is that the person who puts it up for vote will have his entire career ruined. Gay-friendly politicians would never do it, and the opponents, while uneducated and rather idiotic, are too invested in themselves to do that.

Really, the HRC and other organizations like it have been playing the equal rights card for a long time. That's what this whole thing is about, and I guess that's where I get confused. It's always been "everyone deserves the same rights, even gay people", so I really don't see the other angle that you're talking about. Nobody is asking for special treatment at all (nor do they want it, in general). I mean, I don't ask for special treatment as a woman (though I *do* like people to open doors for me *^-^*), just the same right to marry whom I love that a straight person has.
23rd-Mar-2008 03:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, sorry about the edits but one sentence I had was a combination of two sentences in my head and it came out reading WAY different than what I meant to say.

Oh, I don't doubt what you say about the HRC. My thing is that the "anti" gay folks will focus more on those individuals who put the term "gay" in front of their fight for their rights as opposed to the "equal" term. It's their way of saying, "See, they themselves know the are different and while they supposedly want equality they categorize their rights as being different from the rest of us." It's dirty, it's underhanded and unfortunately some people play right into it.

In my mind it's similar to me doing all I can to improve my station in life and in turn in the minds of others "uplift" or "improve" the view of the ethnic group I am a member of. Not why I do it, but if me doing some things "right" helps others...cool. However, I become concerned that no matter how much "good" I or my sisters or family do in our lives people will instead think of gangs or other negative images. Yet, if people who are of the same ethnicity as I am make such decisions don't they set up the rest of us to take the fall with them? It sucks, it doesn't feel fair, but the people who want to will seize upon those negatives to point support their mindset of, "See, they are negatives to our society and they make the decisions that separate themselves in a negative fashion." Does that make a bit more sense as a parallel?

If a group as a "whole" does not represent themselves as positive or good they unintentionally offer ammo to those who seek to hurt them. While we cannot all be responsible for each other in whatever groups we are part of we must acknowledge that while our "leaders" may fight the good fight it is the ones who speak in a fashion of preference and negativity that tend to gain the attention of the media and have their words recorded by those who dislike them for use against all within the group.

That's the best I can do through text. If it's still not clear then don't worry. Perhaps this is an explanation that needs live rant energy and body language. =D
22nd-Mar-2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Hey, just saw the end of an Obama rally here in my new hometown (on CNN). He made a comment at the end about how he couldn't believe that we (US society) are arguing over gay issues when there is larger global issues going on (I'm paraphrasing).

This could be taken in two different fashions. That gay issues were "non-issues" that didn't matter OR that gay issues were more of a "given" and were being used as a distraction for more complex/important issues.

My quick search goes with the latter. He seems to be of the mind that a lot of walls people have put up against gays shouldn't be there. However, he does appear to be in favor of civil unions for gays, not marriage as he sees it as a religious bond. From that angle I do agree (not that I agree marriage is religious...just working from his apparent standpoint) to move forward with civil unions and let the marriage thing be worked out by the religions. As long as the same rights are afforded to gay couples in civil unions then people can debate god's/churches'/religions' role in their lives and connection after that.

If the rights are offered, take them. The gay/straight communities can fight with each other and within themselves after that. At least after that point if someone is hospitalized their significant other can visit them and make decisions on their behalf, and isn't that one of the greater issues?
22nd-Mar-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
I agree, from what I've seen, he is the latter. Granted, the majority of media I've seen from him was from his own webpage, where he mostly goes on and on about how his christian values are so important to him, etc..

I certainly won't deny myself right where they're presented. But that doesn't mean that equality isn't worth fighting for-- we've learned in the past that separate is not equal. So if the government is using the word marriage to refer to a straight couple (thereby removing the church from said union), then they need to refer to a gay couple as the same. Or we are dealing with segregation yet again. Which is really sad, seeing as I thought we were supposed to learn from the past. I personally don't see marriage as a religious things, especially seeing as plenty of atheist/non-religious people get married all the time.
23rd-Mar-2008 02:17 am (UTC)
My limited knowledge seems to point to marriage existing before what we would consider religions today. I'm pretty sure it started out as just a way to exchange land/property and stuff like that.

However, as with many things there is a good chance religions pulled it under their wings in order to exert a "control" factor.
22nd-Mar-2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Your comments are pretty much right in line with my thinking as well. Voting against someone has been my my M.O. for at least the last two elections. I'm tired of voting that way. It's one of the reasons that I dislike the two party system that we have. It limits the choice too much. If you're open minded and have views that fall even a little outside the norms or what the media shows us on TV, then two choices from those two parties are never going to be adequate in my opinion.
22nd-Mar-2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
The thing I've found "funny" this election though is how little influence the parties seem to have over their...well...parties when compared to the media. I've seen/heard a few pundits who have made comments about the media setting up who they want to win (especially in the Democratic camp). I know the first time I heard that I thought, "Wow, so you think someone is hijacking YOUR election and taking away YOUR ability to have the candidate YOU want. Welcome to my world."

It reminds me of when the Dem and Repubs in WA cried about the blanket primary. They didn't want non-party people having a say in "their" elections. Hrm, as those elections have to do with political offices aren't they "our" elections? If they can pick a candidate good enough to take one of the top two positions in a country where it usually comes down to a face off between their two parties...well, they suck at picking a candidate to offer. They can suck it up.
24th-Mar-2008 04:02 am (UTC)
Interesting that you brought it up, but there has been some new news on the blanket top two primary in Washington...

I think it was on Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the top two primary in WA. Of course, the Dems and Repubs are disappointed by the ruling; Democratic response: "We are disappointed that the Court appears to have made elections more complicated in Washington State." Republican response: "We’re obviously disappointed with today’s decision because it sends our case back to square one."...blah, blah, blah...

Tri-City Herald story
24th-Mar-2008 06:33 am (UTC)
I hated the restriction of voting by party ever since they implemented it. They say it hurts their parties but I think it marginalizes independent voters, and that's exactly why they do it.

If they don't want people to be able to vote for their candidates then they should make their process closed to only card carrying members of their parties. The thing is they won't do that because that will be a clear "screw you" to independents and they don't want to risk losing those votes, much less create an atmosphere that encourages the landscape for a third party. It's all still happening, it's just not done in an obvious fashion.
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