Monday, October 20, 2008

A Vote For Change

I have always been a bit of a pessimist when it came to politics. Being a political science/sociology major will likely do that to you. Compounded by the fact that my political development happened in a state were if you weren't voting Republican you may as well not show up. For awhile I certainly understood the expatriate movement and why some Americans felt the draw of greener pastures around the world. I still have my fair share of complaints about the U.S. and its position and direction in the world. I have come to see however that everyone in the world wants the U.S. to change, in a myriad of different ways. Only through remaining in the U.S. and being that voice for change can effective reforms be undertaken.

I often hear Americans and residents of other countries say that they didn't realize how good they have it at home until they go abroad. While I can empathize with this comment, it in no way informs my way of seeing the world. There are many good things about the U.S. that I appreciate. The reason I have chosen to remain in the U.S. for the forseeable future is to push for change. Leaving just because the times are bad is an injustice to those left behind. Those who believe that the U.S. can or should be better have the obligation to work toward that change. Only through a truly democratic movement will Americans become engaged and informed. The record numbers of people registering to vote is one sign of light in a very dark time.  We need to realize that democracy is not just voting. Democracy requires active engagement and only the people can keep government responsible.

I cast my absentee ballot today. When I cast the ballot I was reminded of a quote by RFK that informs the kind of communitarian democracy that I idealize:
“Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

A vote for change is in the mail. Lets hope we get it right this time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Straight Talk Express Is Off The Rails Again

I never realized the "Straight Talk Express" mantra of McCain included slander. After being clearly rebuffed on issues of importance like the economy, the McCain campaign has decided to fall back on the most deplorable and depressing of tactics. While I can't fault them for using every tactic available to them in such an historic election, I am extremely disappointed at this decision. The Washington Post recently reported that the McCain campaign will be focusing on personal attacks on Obama's character.

The opening salvo of this new course was Palin dragging out the tired old line of Obama being associated with terrorism because he happens to live in the same neighborhood as one of the founders of the Weather Underground. Real solid stuff guys. What's next, talking about how the name OBAMA rhymes with OSAMA? I mean seriously, is this the best that the McCain folks can come up with, ad hominem attacks that indicate nothing about Obama.

This new tactic is just another low point for one of the few senators, Republican or Democrat, that I truly respected. Pandering to the religious right, becoming the partisan he said he never would, and leaving behind the issues to instead make personal attacks. McCain's star has fallen quite far in the last six years for me. These actions are not the course of a "Maverick" but of a flailing politician behind in the polls. If you're going to lose, at least do so with some dignity.