Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Post No. 40: Should I Vote for McCain or Obama? Hmmm, Let Me Think about That a Nanosecond

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

There are two things that immediately come to mind with respect to the current Presidential campaign.

The first is that I could handle either Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama being our next President. It’s all the handlers and hanger-ons about whom I am concerned.

The second is that Bristol Palin has emerged as the poster child for much that is screwed up about our political climate, and perhaps our expectations of our leaders.

The problems are much larger than this 17 year old and her family; however, the recent events should make us question some of the demands we place on our leaders and their families, and the length to which those interested in advancing their personal agendas will go. And that’s not to mention the media’s daily assembly of screamers, haters, and pitchmen to denigrate each other.

Is this collateral damage to our collective psyche really worth it? (We previously addressed this concern in early May in Post No. 3, “Some Lessons to be Learned by Our Kids in the Current Political Climate” (http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/05/some-lessons-to-be-learned-by-our-kids.html).

Since the name Palin exemplifies the tragedy of the day, I’ll focus on Sen. McCain in this piece. Much has been made of his campaign’s purported failure to properly investigate the background of Sarah Palin and her family. Some have even suggested that Ms. Palin’s selection, which, out of necessity, includes her baggage, may have been consciously done for devious purposes.

Sure, it’s now very clear that the campaign dropped the ball with respect to the investigation. Quite frankly, I don’t think that John McCain is subject to political whims, and I do not read him as “spin oriented.” At some point one has to feel that there wouldn’t be any need to extensively investigate someone, about whom you feel instinctively good and who has three or four basic leadership qualities, were it not necessary to prepare for the scrutiny juggernaut consisting of dissecting our candidates to determine their positions on 38 different subjects.

I think that Sen. McCain is a pretty good guy. I also think that he has, reluctantly, chosen to appear like a Bush clone, pursuant to the advice of his handlers, and the demands of the Republican Party. I suspect that they have been pressuring him to appear to be more right wing than he really is, to please the religious right and ensure that they come out and vote in November.

I also suspect that Palin was HIS pick (the Washington establishment be damned), and a transitory expression of his “free will”, after the pro-life forces rejected his other choices. Mrs. McCain was a participant in the selection process, which probably made the men in the room squirm.

This guy has traditionally been a maverick and a pain in the ass to many Republicans. His new persona got him past the primary phase. The “real McCain” will return should he be elected.

Watch him speak. He’s so rehearsed and jerry rigged that he’s uncomfortable. You can see the distress in his face, and hear the tone of acquiescence in his voice. This is not the feisty, shoot-from-the-hip, John McCain we’ve known.

I am reasonably sure that he knew that the Palin girl was pregnant before the announcement. Knowing John McCain, he probably said, “Who gives a rat’s ____.”

It’s all the dissectors out there, who, by the way, have never had to run or manage anything of any size or importance in life, who care about all of this nit-picking over minutiae. And all in an effort to have him represent their squalid, selfish, hypocritical, and often contradictory interests.

This country needs a change in many respects. To those who opposed Sen. Obama’s campaign based on change by asking “change to what?” I respond “a change to anything that advances the long term interests of the majority of our citizens, and not just the fortunate, the privileged, the lucky, and the corporate.

Why not vote out ALL elected officials nationwide? This is supposed to be a country of, by, and for the people, not big money interests. And to think that these people, on both sides of the aisle, not only quietly fill their pockets while in office, but then become consultants in areas over which they previously had regulatory and oversight responsibilities.

I think that McCain is a solid citizen, genuinely interested in doing the best for his country, and not for his personal pocketbook or that of his buddies or supporters. I, like the majority of Americans based on long standing research, really don’t care what his qualifications are. He’ll be alright when he needs to be. It’s not like he’ll function alone, without a support system. Same with Obama. I could handle either one. Additionally, as George Will reminds us, there is the inertia that is Washington.


War, and time spent in a prisoner of war camp, make one view the world from a perspective not shared by the majority of voters. The vast majority of us have never had any real trying experience, beyond our personal issues, in life. There is something about having responsibility, either good or bad, for the lives and welfare of dozens of people under your command that transforms a person. That sense of responsibility increases exponentially as the number of people for whom you have charge increases arithmetically. That’s very different than just worrying about your immediate stuff.

The next time that we flip out over some personal crisis, stop and consider how our attitude would change if the precipitating event occurred just prior to a 7.5 earthquake, or a Category 5 hurricane, or a wild fire ravaging your neighborhood; I suspect that you might have a different sense of priorities.

John McCain has been to the edge of the earth, and barely avoided falling off. That’s good enough for me.

Everyday we should recite Bogart’s line to Bergman, in the movie Casablanca, each day when we wake up.

Its time for a new paradigm.

Either Obama or McCain will be just fine, but for entirely different reasons. We should be proud of the process this election year. That the two candidates are who they are speaks volumes about the zeitgeist.

As the Laughingman once said, “Why can’t we simply let McCain, be McCain, be McCain, and let Obama be Obama?

One last note on this pregnancy issue. I’m positive that none of my baby boomer friends had sex right out of high school during the 60s and 70s. Yeah. Some of you were just down right lucky that you, or your girlfriend, managed not to get pregnant during that period. So now it’s time to judge….

Leave this gal alone. She doesn’t deserve this, even if her Mother could have avoided it.

By the way, when it is revealed who the father of the child is, please restrain yourselves. It’s a can of worms which need not be opened right now.

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

5 comments:

  1. I am based in India ... have travelled and lived in USA for some years and find much in common about the dirty politics of India and USA. There are a few points I want clarification on:
    1. You have made a case of USA being a plutocarsy disguised as a democracy.
    2. You feel media should draw a line where private life of public persons is concerned. You feel media should report news and not create it.
    3. You yearn for 'general public good' to be the mainstay of politics.

    How can this happen in a 'representative democarcy? How can 'participative democracy' be popularised? How can citizens get back power and budget-control if 'citizen candidates' do not stand up?

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment on my blog in response to my article about the American presidential race. I am posting your comment and providing my responses thereto:

    Praful Vora has left a new comment on your post "Post No. 40: Should I Vote for McCain or Obama? Hm...":

    I am based in India ... have traveled and lived in USA for some years and find much in common about the dirty politics of India and USA. There are a few points I want clarification on:
    1. You have made a case of USA being a plutocracy disguised as a democracy.

    I IMAGINE THAT ONE COULD DRAW THAT CONCLUSION; IT IS PROBABLY THE REALITY IN AMERICA; HOWEVER, THAT WAS NOT THE INTENT OF MY PIECE. TO THE EXTENT THAT I LED MY READERS TO BELIEVE THAT WAS THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF MY ARTICLE, I APOLOGIZE. MY POINT WAS THAT AMERICANS ARE BEING DISTRACTED BY THE DISSECTION OF THE CANDIDATES, INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE MOST IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS. I WAS ALSO TRYING TO SUGGEST THAT ATTACKING A CANDIDATE ON A PERSONAL LEVEL IS UNNECESSARY AND CONSTITUTES OVERKILL.

    2. You feel media should draw a line where private life of public persons is concerned. You feel media should report news and not create it.

    ONCE AGAIN AN ARGUMENT COULD BE MADE TO THIS EFFECT, ALTHOUGH ONCE AGAIN IT WAS NOT MY INTENT. MY CONCERN IS THAT WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET REALLY QUALIFIED CANDIDATES WHEN WE EXAMINE EVERY IMAGINABLE ASPECT OF THEIR PERSONALITY AND BELIEFS. IN MY VIEW, LEADERS SHOULD BE EVALUATED ON SOME SOME BASIC FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA, AS FAR REMOVED FROM PARTISAN ISSUES AND MOTIVES AS POSSIBLE. IF I WERE TO CHOOSE A CAPTAIN OR SOLDIER TO LEAD ME INTO BATTLE, I COULD REALLY CARE LESS ABOUT THEIR VIEW ON ABORTION, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, HOMOSEXUALITY, CIVIL UNIONS, ETC.

    3. You yearn for 'general public good' to be the mainstay of politics.

    IT SEEMS TO BE THAT WE OUGHT TO BE ABLE AS SOCIETIES TO REACH A CONSENSUS ABOUT THE 3, 4, OR 5 MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES TO ADDRESS AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN TIME. ONCE WE ADDRESS THEM TO OUR SATISFACTION, WE CAN THEN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT MOST PRESSING ISSUES. TO POSE 36 QUESTIONS ON VALUES AND POSITIONS TO ONE CANDIDATE, AND 38 TO THE OTHER, AND THEN TO HAVE SELF INTEREST GROUPS ARGUE BETWEEN THEMSELVES ON THE PROPRIETY OF THE POSITIONS, DETRACTS FROM OUR ABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD AND SOLVE PROBLEMS, AND RESULTS IN UNPRODUCTIVE ARGUING.

    How can this happen in a 'representative democarcy?

    WE REALLY DO NOT HAVE THIS IN AMERICAN PER SE; WE HAVE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM. IT CAN BE CHANGED IF THE PEOPLE DESIRE TO DO SO.

    How can 'participative democracy' be popularised? How can citizens get back power and budget-control if 'citizen candidates' do not stand up?

    FIRST, THERE SHOULD BE A MOVEMENT TO GET RID OF ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS IN OFFICE AT THE CURRENT TIME TO IMPRESS UPON THEM THAT THE CITIZENRY IS DISSATISFIED. THEN WE NEED TO ESTABLISH AT LEAST TWO OTHER PROMINENT PARTIES, SINCE THE EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT PARTY, WITH ANY REAL POWER, HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL.

    Posted by Praful Vora to "THE VIEW FROM OUTSIDE MY TINY WINDOW" at September 8, 2008 2:34 PM

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  3. Thanks for the clarifications. It seems more and more to me that India has the same issues and auto-responses (from the parties and media) as you see in USA. Your position on issues is refreshing.

    Capable and intelligent Citizen Candidates are scared off the rough and tumble of politics 'as it is today'. In their absence the 'interest groups' and the 'criminally bent individuals' have a field day.

    Your solution of removal of 'selected officials' and locating suitable 'elected officials' is what we too dream of in India. Progress is extremly slow and often regressive. Ego and self-esteem comes in the way of innnovative new political parties coming together for a common cause (the third front). Probable citizen candidates feel offended that they are asked to join politics and able citizens will not devote time and effort for even creating public awareness and prioritising issues.

    I and many in our 'activist groups' are looking at possible solutions. It is clear to me that better litracy and better living standards are alone not enough to solve these issues. Earlier we thought USA would be far better off, but then I witnessed the Gov. of California election campaign and currently the Presidential campaign. Things just seem to get worse with the years. So my query remains ... what can we look for to tweak here in India? :)

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  4. "The Institute for Applied Common Sense" That about sums this up for me! I have yet to read a more thoughtful approach to the media mayhem of this 2008 election. Finally, a perspective I can pass on to a friend! Thank you for sharing this! :)

    ~Michael

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  5. This comment is provided in response to the comment of Praful Vora. Our comments appear below after Praful Vora's comments:

    Praful Vora has left a new comment on your post "Post No. 40: Should I Vote for McCain or Obama? Hm...":

    Thanks for the clarifications. It seems more and more to me that India has the same issues and auto-responses (from the parties and media) as you see in USA. Your position on issues is refreshing.

    Thanks again for visiting the site and taking the time to actually address the issues raised. Many readers do not do so and simply assume our position and then attack it.

    Capable and intelligent Citizen Candidates are scared off the rough and tumble of politics 'as it is today'. In their absence the 'interest groups' and the 'criminally bent individuals' have a field day.

    Many commentators consider blogging to be the “fifth estate.” It is potentially revolutionary in terms of providing average citizens with a mechanism to have their voices heard at a relatively small cost. Right this moment as we speak, there is coverage of the third parties in America meeting at the National Press Club today. Folks are fed up with the lack of application of common sense in approaching our problems and actually coming up with some solutions.

    Your solution of removal of 'selected officials' and locating suitable 'elected officials' is what we too dream of in India. Progress is extremely slow and often regressive. Ego and self-esteem comes in the way of innovative new political parties coming together for a common cause (the third front). Probable citizen candidates feel offended that they are asked to join politics and able citizens will not devote time and effort for even creating public awareness and prioritizing issues.

    I and many in our 'activist groups' are looking at possible solutions.

    When the internet was first firmly established, there was some concern on the part of governmental leaders of some countries that use of this revolutionary system might contribute to anarchy, in that the governments could no longer control the minds of their citizens. It was also recognized that geographical boundaries and walls could not stop the dissemination of information. Additionally, the nationalist sentiments of citizens potentially diminish in significance, and people feel more bound by their similarities in values and philosophy than just because of racial or national origin. As a result, there is hope.

    It is clear to me that better literacy and better living standards are alone not enough to solve these issues. Earlier we thought USA would be far better off, but then I witnessed the Gov. of California election campaign and currently the Presidential campaign. Things just seem to get worse with the years. So my query remains ... what can we look for to tweak here in India? :)

    Hope springs eternal. We strongly recommend that you read the book mentioned in an article which was previously posted regarding how world powers are creates and die, http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/08/post-36c-suggested-reading-rise-and.html . Additionally, a non-responsive government only lasts so long before the desires of the people are heard. Check out our previous posts on “Why Hope Matters, http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/06/post-no-17-why-hope-matters.html, and “Recognizing the Potential of the Innovative Thought Process, http://theviewfromoutsidemytinywindow.blogspot.com/2008/05/post-no-9-recognizing-potential-of.html.

    We would appreciate any of your fellow activists reading our blog. We believe that the principles of common sense are applicable to all peoples of the earth.

    ReplyDelete

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