Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stealing America

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."


They call him James Ure said...

If they picked her to try and peal off Hillary supporters than I think they're in for a shock. Many Hillary women are insulted by the pick.

She said once that Iraq was a mission from "God." Scary.

John Torcello said...

RE: Palin:

Her speech tonight will help for each of us to come to better terms regarding our thoughts on Sarah Palin. It is entirely possible that she is actually qualified; though, I personally have my doubts.

McCain's pick of Palin is a hollow victory for women; for me, what is most disturbing about McCain's choice is not so much Palin's possible lack of experience or her apparent right-wing political roots; but rather, that both parties ran very, very long primary season(s) putting out and vetting their supposed 'best faces' out for all to see and judge what they stand for; committing us to hours upon hours of debate and ideas; indirectly answering the question for each of us; is this guy/gal a survivor' and up to this herculean task?

Now, with only a few days remaining before we all actually head to the polls, McCain asks that we accept his (?) decision to 'mix it up' a bit; and he nominates someone obviously unvetted, inexperienced and a relative unknown to the American electorate.

This is not new for Republicans; think...Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle...

This is the kind of 'distraction' characteristics of Republican politics, that, I feel, does not represent a very 'democratic' (in the most universalist sense) approach at all.

It is indeed very similar to the Bush/Cheney approach of the last few years of your either with us or not; and, I think, it is truly another example of what the Democrats are calling just 'more of the same'...

If the rumors that Lieberman was his actually McCain's first (and real choice) are true...then, it is also yet another example of McCain's willingness to 'cave in' to the right-wing politics/agenda of his party; not a mandate for 'mavericks' or 'change' at all...all, I speculate, because McCain so just wants to 'win' at all costs...and, that is even more unlikely without the support of his party faithful.

It seems to me, there's a similarity here to the question Hillary asked the Democrats at the convention about 'did you do this for me personally?; or, are the principles that Obama stands for more important'?...

Only, in this case, in McCain's case, it seems he does not have the confidence (nor the courage) to ask this question of his party, since his fellow Republicans seemingly do not really stand behind their supposed 'maverick's ideas and begrudgingly only support him when he nominates a 'more of the same' a VP candidate of Palin's apparent positions and stature...

It boils down to a simple question...Would you feel comfortable if Sarah Palin assumed the Presidency of the United States?

Anonymous said...

For the life of me, I don't see how people are arguing that the parties are the same. Take any of the major issues - our continued involvement in a fruitless war (and I'd argue that they all ultimately are just that), a woman's right to choose, the freedom to practice any or no religion as you see fit, the right to marry whom you choose, economic issues/the deficit, protection of the enviroment, and on and on and on - how, exactly, are they the same party?