My friend Bill forwarded this link to the website of Stealing America, a movie about electronic voting and its susceptibility to error and outright fraud. After what happened in the last two presidential elections, NOW might be a good time to start insisting on adequate protections. It was the hanging chads and other egregious failures in Florida that brought us to the sorry state in which we find ourselves; and shenanigans in Ohio and elsewhere that led us deeper into the mire. I for one am grateful for the reminder that, this time, we must not allow ourselves to be caught napping.
On the political front, also, I checked out the New York Times this morning, and found virtually unanimous criticism of the Palin selection; this article may help explain why. The story of her petty tyrannies as mayor of Wasilla reveals an attitude toward executive power that is frankly pretty scary. I don't see how McCain can get away with this one. I'm sure she will rally the forces at the convention tonight, but am doubtful she can stand much further scrutiny in less adulatory circles. I could be wrong, of course--as I often am!--but I think McCain has served himself a large helping of Baked Alaskan trouble for dessert.
Having watched the effect of Gustav on the Republican convention, I now wonder what the imminent arrival of three other tropical storms on our shores might have on delegates who are not predisposed to dismiss the contribution of human activity to climate change. Will the timing of these successive events change any minds, shift any positions? Is the Earth's voice loud and persuasive enough to compete, in the minds of doubters, with what they believe to hear as the voice of God? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
For myself, a disbeliever in deities of all colors and stripes, the dual voices of science and reason are powerful enough. It dismays me to see the current Republican candidate pandering once again to the voices of unreason, who find a way to twist each manifestation of failure into a token of success; who bend their dearly-held principles to fit the contingencies of the moment; and who find justification for their inanities in the supposed approval of an infinitely malleable God.
I heard, today again, the argument that the parties are essentially "the same"--that whichever way you turn, you find mendacity and abuse of power, self-righteousness and intolerance of the opposition. I understand that this argument comes from years of disillusionment and disenchantment. But a look at the policies of each party--and the tone of their politics--suggests to me otherwise. They are not "the same," and the preponderance of fanatical ideology rests clearly on the other side. Bush spoke last night (via satellite, courteously disinvited from his Party's party!) of the "angry left." Does that imply a beatific state of tolerant equanimity on the right?
And finally, watch even a few minutes of the convention as cameras pan across the sea of faces and you can hardly help but notice the nearly universal homogeneity--and its stark contrast with what we saw last week in Denver. Should this not be of pressing concern to us, in a country that prides itself on its founding insistence that all [men] are created equal, and which preaches equality of opportunity for all?
No, these parties are not "the same." Prefer one or the other, as you will. Or neither of them. But I won't be persuaded that they are "the same."