Monday, November 5, 2012

Back and Forth and Everywhere In Between

[source unknown - it was circulating facebook]

Well, kittens, it's all come down to this. Months (years, maybe) of collecting data and researching issues and forming opinions and tormenting everyone that's had the misfortune of being associated with me on social networks (surprisingly, the only friends I've lost on facebook were ones I removed myself or that simply deactivated their accounts), and now I've got to cram it all into one post, which I've naturally waited until the night before the election to write. 

For those of you who don't know, I live in a swing state.

However bad you think you've had it these last few months, we've had it worse. Take the number of political ads or emails or phone calls you've received, and then quadruple it. 

We've not been allowed a moment of peace in the rememberable past, and I've forgotten what it's like to not walk around in a state of peace and non-agitation. (I get agitated very easily.) I've heard stories of people getting excited over "regular" commercials... because they're down to maybe one or two an hour. It's bleak, guys. But fortunately, it's almost over. I expect a stunned silence on Wednesday while we all adjust to being LEFT ALONE.

Our reprieve is short lived, though. We've got the first caucus. Lucky us. 

Yes, that did take a "my election season suffering has been worse than yours" turn, but dammit, I think it's allowed. I saw an attack ad the other night that was up in arms about the fact that one of our Congressional candidates had ties to the Humane Society. Like, how dare she like animals. This is the level we have sunk to, my friends.

Congressional nominees aside (though I'm sure the rest of the country will be a bit relieved if we can finally unseat Professional Crazypants Steve King), I obviously want to talk about the Presidential election. Groan all you want, but this is the last bit, and it's probably coming too late anyway. 

It's not terribly hard to figure out that I am a Barack Obama supporter. Hell, for what it's worth, I can toss out an official endorsement from this blog, if that means anything. Endorsements are all the rage these days. But I want to tell you WHY, because that's where the important part is. With all his flaws, I still believe he is the better man for the job.

First and foremost, I acknowledge that election season brings out the worst in everyone. Most of our information is presented to us through attack ads, leaving us to sort out what's actually true and what's been stretched a bit. As one friend pointed out, we've got two of the best and brightest men in our country vying for the top seat in our government. They're both well educated and have worked hard to get where they are at... only to be mercilessly ripped apart and hated by approximately half of the country. 

I don't think Willard "Mitt" "Mittens" Romney is inherently a bad guy. On most days, he's a bumbling rich kid who's trying REALLY hard to be President of the United States. On more days than less days, though, he's a pandering, misleading blowhard who only cares to further line the deep pockets of the 1%. 

Hell, if I was rich, I'd probably vote for Mitt Romney, too.

But I'm not rich, and I care about more than the well-being of just SOME of us Americans. With all his flaws, I still stand by President Obama and his willingness to look out for ALL Americans, especially the middle class, especially those on the fringes of mainstream society. The poor, the sick, the needy. Hell, even women and gays - apparently we're still groups that require attention and special laws that need passed to make sure we stay in line. We get all the old white men riled up while they try to tell us what to do. 

Quick detour to the land of religiosity: unsurprisingly, this election has deteriorated into an epic game of playground name-calling, and, ironically, most of the vitriol is in regard to religion and how "Christian" the candidates are - frankly, that should be the LAST thing that qualifies someone for the office of President. Separation of Church/State, remember? One of the biggest insults I hear slung at President Obama is that he is a closet Muslim. First of all: who the hell cares? Second of all: What, may I ask, is so wrong with being Muslim? Islam is just as valid of a religion as Judaism or Christianity. Screeching that Obama is a Muslim shows your ignorance and your intolerance. Stop it. Just, stop it.

Helping the poor, though? That was one of Jesus's big things. You want Christianity, that's where you'll find it. You can't buy your way into Heaven. The more you talk about how Christian you are, the less likely I am to believe it. If you have to pass laws to affirm your religion, your faith is weak. You want to back up all your pious sentiments with actual deeds and actions? I didn't think so. You may sit quietly and listen, now.

Moving on.

On the night of his win back in 2008, in his speech (which, admittedly, was the first presidential speech I'd ever watched, and also, made me tear up, I KNOW, SHUT UP): "And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too."

This is bigger than one man, one side, one set of agenda items. Which is why it's been SO FRUSTRATING to watch Congress block everything the last few years. The Republicans in Congress have wanted nothing more than to see him fail. Their #1 priority was to keep him from getting re-elected - they've gone on record with that. Their #1 priority should have been (and should still be) fixing this broken nation and doing what the American people elected them to do: represent their needs. Whichever way the election goes tomorrow, I hope that both sides can finally start working together.

I support Obama because he sees that. He remembers where he came from and I feel that he is more in touch with the American people than a lot of the other politicians in Washington right now. I support Obama because of his stance on women's reproductive rights - he trusts women to make their own decisions regarding their bodies. I support Obama because of his stance on education: he has increased - DOUBLED - Pell Grant funding, among other things. I support Obama because he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help even out wage equality for women. I support Obama because he's trying his damndest to get things done. 

Obama's giving away jobs like Oprah gives away cars.

In a recent article on the more-informative-than-it-has-any-right-to-be site Cracked, they spent some time debunking election myths. One of which was "politicians never fulfill their campaign promises anyway."   
"During the 2008 campaign, Obama made 508 distinct promises for his term in office. As of right now, he's successfully followed through on 193 of those promises. That sounds a little low, but you have to take into account the fact that "president" doesn't mean "dictator." A president can't just do anything he wants -- he has to work with Congress, and because Congress isn't exclusively populated by Obama's friends, it means that he needs to compromise. Which he did, on another 79 of those promises. Another 44 have stalled, while 102 are still "in the works." Add all that up, and you'll see that Obama at least made the effort to fulfill some 418 of his 508 campaign promises. Nearly half of those efforts have, so far, been successful."

Back in August, at the height of my blog hiatus, I had the opportunity to go see President Obama speak at our college campus. 

I'd never gotten to see him before, despite the numerous times he's been to this state, and there's something inherently cool about getting to see a president up close and in person. The event was free, provided you didn't mind some line-waiting. In hindsight, I'm really glad I went, but HOT DAMN it was a miserable experience. If you've never been to Iowa in August, let me tell you, it's hotter than the devil's armpit... with an incredibly wretched humidity rate. 

So that in itself sucked, but what made it worse I was cram-packed into a sea of smelly college students on a stiflingly hot day and it was awful. For three hours, we waited in the heat, with no breeze... ironically, the day we'd picked up tickets, it had been chilly and rainy. I would have preferred that, I think. I had a hard time paying attention due to my physical discomfort. (I had to go home and change before heading back to work - I was so sweaty). 

I've been meaning to go find the video of that speech so I could listen to it again from the comfort of indoors, but the message was about education (naturally) and it being accessible/affordable. I actually remember MORE of Senator Harkin's speech - how he had been able to attend college with the GI Bill and was now trying to pay it forward, and how Mitt Romney's grand plan for students to pay for education was to simply "borrow it from their parents."

If that had been my only source of funding my education, I wouldn't have been able to stay more than a semester.

I also remember his cheesy (nonoriginal) joke of, "if you want to go forward, put it in D... if you want to go backwards, put it in R." GET IT. LIKE A CAR. BUT POLITICS. Oh, Tom, you're so witty.

(Also, unrelated, but fun fact: Lastly… Obama has taken less vacation time than George W. Bush.) 

Now, I'm voting "for" Obama and not merely "against" Romney, but I would be remiss if I didn't also explain WHY I'm not voting for Romney, why I do not want him as the President - as my President.

(And here's likely where it will all roll downhill into a jumble of links and graphics and, anyway, I'm tired and I wish this was going to be more eloquent than I suspect it will turn out being.)

The thing about Mitt Romney is that I don't trust him. Sure, I feel he's out of touch with the majority of Americans and that he can be an insensitive bastard a lot of the time (hey, remember when he told an elderlyish gay veteran TO HIS FACE that he thought gay marriage was wrong? Ah, good times. I wish I could find that video link.) But I will always find things I dislike about politicians. Politicians are, inherently, dislikable. 

But don't confuse dislike with distrust. Romney's constant pandering has left us with a giant question mark on where he actually stands on the issues. I honestly have NO IDEA where he stands because he's changed his mind so often, which means I have NO IDEA what he'd do if he were elected. To me, that is terrifying.This is my biggest problem with Mitt Romney. He will say ANYTHING, and because of that, I don't trust him any farther than I can throw him. Which isn't far, because I have very little upper body strength.

Former lifelong Republican Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of former President Dwight Eisenhower, wrote this piece on why she has endorsed President Obama. I thought it was really interesting right up until this paragraph, where I got suspicious that she was plagiarizing something I'd said previously:

"As a result of this campaign I am more confused than ever about what Mitt Romney stands for. I know little of his core beliefs, if he even has any. No one seems to agree on what they are, and that’s why I do not want to take a chance on finding out."

ME NEITHER, SUSAN. Me neither.

If you'd like some specific examples on where Romney has made drastic changes of course, I present these four, because this post is already long and I am running out of time to go back and find all my links for anything more than that. I'm sure the Internet will be happy to assist you if you need more.

"While seeking the US Senate seat in 1994, Mitt Romney wrote a letter to a gay rights group known as the Log Cabin Club claiming that he supported full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens. He claimed that even though has opponent - Senator Ted Kennedy - was an ardent supporter of gay rights, he would be more effective in moving the issue into the main stream of American concern. He stated that he supported the Federal Employee Nondiscrimination Act and President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy."  

Flippity flop. I'll defer to this graphic.

In the Presidential debates, Romney said it was "immoral" to spend federal money on things the states could take care of themselves. Do you know how quickly all of our states would be bankrupt if they were to have to fund disaster relief all on their own? We all saw how devastating Hurricane Katrina was. How badly the East Coast - especially New York and New Jersey - has been hit with Hurricane Sandy. Here in the Midwest, we know what tornadoes can do. We've seen towns absolutely leveled in the blink of an eye. Maybe on paper, FEMA seems like an expendable thing, but in reality... we need that. The states need that. Romney backpedaled pretty quickly on FEMA funding after Sandy hit because he knew how bad it would make him look to stick with what he'd previously said.

Maybe just noticeable because of my location, but when the polls started to tighten up here in Iowa... HEY LOOK! Romney is suddenly in support of alternative energy, YAY! 

Other bits that I am suspicious of:

1. Romney won't reveal how his miraculous plan is going to work. I suspect it's because it's going to largely be funded by the middle class and he knows that that will be unpopular.

2. Really? Cutting the subsidy for PBS? There are SO MANY OTHER things you could look at first. PBS costs pennies compared to what we spend on some other things (*cough* war *cough*). I mean: SESAME STREET. That's just cold, man.

3. There's a startlingly large contingent of Republicans who won't vote for Romney. I am incredibly delighted by the Republicans For Obama facebook group, I want to give them all hugs. I just... when your own party is warning against you, it makes you wonder. 

4. This article entitled "Romney Tells 616 Verifiable, Checkable and Provable Lies in only 33 Weeks." HOLY CRAP WHAT. HOW. I DON'T.

5. Everything said in this video. Admittedly, it's sound bites and a biased compilation, but that doesn't change the fact that these things were said by prominent Republican party figures.

All right. I'm calling it a night. Don't forget to vote tomorrow. I'd tell you to just go vote and that I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote, but that's probably not true because I obviously DO care who you vote for, but in the interest of being a good person, I'll just encourage you to vote. If you happen to still be undecided at this hour, well. You know what I think.

Lastly, the usual disclaimer: play nice. I have mentioned that I've been constantly barraged with political bullshit to the very definition of constantly, and quite frankly, I am exhausted and tired of it all and I really don't have the energy to deal with asinine behavior or name-calling or mean-spirited insults. Trust me, I've had my fill. I doubt it will be a problem since there are, like, ten people that read this regularly, but... in case anyone happens to stroll on by, don't be an asshole or I'll unceremoniously remove you. Debate, discuss, do it respectfully. 

Good night, and godspeed.


chimes said...

I love you. And Obama.

Agreed — Mitt's not evil, so this election for me hasn't been as scary as previous ones (with W on the ballot).

With the way he flip-flops, it could be that he'd give into those who want things that we want if he becomes president (let's hope he doesn't).

JenBetweenDots said...

It's not Romney who scares me - it's his cronies: the extremely right wing guys who think evolution is a farce and abortion is outright murder, gay people don't deserve the same rights and rape resulting in a child is a gift from God. Those are the people who scare me.

Good luck today!

Terra said...

Mittens is a scary.
I'm wicked jealous you go to see Obama live and in person.
Living in a swing state is AWFUL and I don't ever want to do it again.