Monday, October 13, 2008

"He is a decent man..."

I'm not big on faith or belief. That's not to say I'm an atheist or even particularly anti-spiritual, I just prefer thought and knowledge 9 times out of 10 when I have the choice. Specifically, I'm not big on investing "faith" in things that exist in the physical world - you don't NEED to "believe" in real things because they're right there - you can see them, touch them, KNOW them and render a concrete personal verdict.

Which is sort of a long preface to explaining why there tends to be, in almost every major world event, a single key moment that stands out and reminds me why I tend to invest so little faith in, for example, my fellow man. Last week, that moment finally came for this year's U.S. Presidential Election:

Watch the whole thing.


Seen above: John McCain. War hero. American patriot. Distinguished United States Senator. A man more qualified in character and "on paper" to hold the office of President than any Republican or Democrat nominee who's run in my lifetime. A man who, by my accounting, was cheated out of the nomination by his own party in 2000 - a year in which I believe (yes, I said it) he would have won, would've been one of the great Presidents of history and would've left the country in a HELL of a better state than the man who won instead.

A man who - when confronted in the above clip by audience members at his one of his own speeches throwing lies, mischaracterizations, conspiracy theories and veiled racial/cultural epiteths at his opponent Barack Obama - responds by telling them that they are WRONG. That his opponent is not their enemy, that he is not a villian, that Obama is a good man and that, while he wants to win himself, they do not need to be AFRAID of an Obama victory.

Mark where you were when you saw this, because it'll be one of the only times you'll EVER see it: A candidate for President of the United States telling his supporters to, essentially, grow the fuck up. That they should vote for him because they think he's the better candidate or because they agree more strongly with his positions, not because of some trumped-up "battle between good and evil" pandering fear-mongering bullshit. He spoke to them like one adult to another, telling them they were behaving badly and expecting them to do better. You know, the things we used to expect LEADERS to do.

The audience's response? They booed him.

Every election we throw our hands up in exasperation over "mudslinging" and "negative campaigning." We put on our best Hamlet and wail about "why do they act like this!? WHY!!??" And we're completely full of shit about it. We know EXACTLY "why," and we're just trying to deflect the blame. Politicians campaign like spoiled, angry, entitled children because we MAKE THEM. We reward them when they do (i.e. George W. Bush gets to be the Republican nominee and later President after spreading a lie about McCain having an illegitimate black child in 2000) and when they do the right thing (see above) we PUNISH them. Because at the end of the day, sleazy and simplistic campaigns about character-assassinations and make-believe "good vs. evil" stagings WORK. Because enough people in this country are sufficiently ignorant, small-minded and intellectually WEAK for this to be the only way to stir them to political action.

We get the campaign we deserve.


Oh, BTW... MSNBC? Yeah. I'm the last guy to prattle on with the myth of the "liberal media boogeyman." HOWEVER, putting "McCain forced to defend Obama..." in the news blurb there? That's bad form. I know it makes for better copy and, let's face it, boogeyman bullshit or not we know he's not 'your' candidate, but that's poor sport plain and simple. Anyone watching the clip can see "forced" is a leading and contextually incorrect term to use here, not in the least because it's needlessly dismissive of a sincere action that you NEVER see presidential candidates take. Uncool.

12 comments:

Scott said...

He wasn't forced to do anything. He did so out of essential decency. Good on him

Paul said...

I've got to agree that he handled all that well. Regardless of who wins next month it does appear that either candidate will be more adult than the knee jerk, "bring em on" attitude of our current President.

tyra menendez said...

war hero? fuck that.
i'm sick of this shit about mccain being a war hero of the people; he's not.
he crashed three planes and became a pow. while in hanoi, he was tortured and broke and gave a "confession", to his captors.
he's a spoiled brat that would have been expelled from school, had it not been for his 4 star admiral father and grandfather. he graduated 5th from the bottom of his class. he was a terrible pilot. he has changed his flipped on nearly every position he has had, within the last 8 years, including hiring, to run his campaign, the same people that made a fool of him, in 2000. said campaign is run by a karl rove protege. the same man mccain said had a "special place in hell", awaiting him.

do me a favor and find out what you can about one lt. col. john dramesi. he was in the hanoi camp with mccain. dramesi was awarded two air force crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions, in part because of two escape attempts and the subsequent daily torture he received and managed to live through.
while mccain went to the national war college, after pulling strings, dramesi studied, on his own merits, at the industrial college of the armed forces, next door.
both colleges offer trips abroad to network. dramesi went to the middle east, because he foresaw the problems ahead. mccain, married with three kids, went to rio, because he had "a better chance of getting laid."
dramesi, today, describes mccain as "still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

this man is george bush, part 2: born into positions of privilege who managed to fail, upwards; both boozers and louts, both with a daddy complex. only bush was a better pilot.

this is not a man of the people. this isn't even the rich kid at school, who teased the poor kids, because he didn't go to public school. this is a man who didn't know he had seven houses. this is a man who has thirteen cars. this is man who was born into wealth and married wealth. this is an old man who will probably die in office, if elected, leaving us with sarah palin, who is another long list of failure, on her own.

given the choice between the two, i'll take obama, any day. not because he is a great, iconic leader, though he has his merits. not because he would be the first non-white president, in america. but because mccain is as obama has claimed: more of the same.

i could go one, but i'll refrain, for now.

Rusty James said...

Bob, I love your take on politics. Clear headed, confident in it's indepence and moderate in the good sense of the term; meaning not just a synonym of unprincipled wishy-washy ness.
well done.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's more a matter of him taking responsibility for his campaign, which has promoted or at least quietly nurtured some of the mischaracterizations and consipracy theories espoused at that rally.

Only a week ago, McCain's running mate characterized Obama as 'palling around with terrorists' and 'someone who doesn't believe in America.'

Bob said...

Tyra:
"he crashed three planes and became a pow. while in hanoi, he was tortured and broke and gave a "confession", to his captors."

He was tortured AFTER refusing to be released from the camp earlier than the other prisoners - a priviledge offered him by his captors because they learned of his father's position. There's a distinction to be made there.

I did not say that the man was perfect, only that he was a hero and a patriot. And I do not use the term "hero" here as some kind of rare honorific - as far as I'm concerned, ALL American soldiers are heroes.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear:

HIS campaing is attacking Obama like that, the fact that HE seems to disagree dosen't change the fact!

Either he agrees or he can't even control HIS OWN people! How can he run the country?

Aurabolt said...

Well, I'll say that certainly a couple points for the man in my book, no question, but I still find Obama's policies more effective than his, at least for now. We're in a war we need to get out of; Obama will do that. I haven't heard much of McCain's financial plan over the wire, either. Also, some minor issues such as funding for Stem Cells and Foreign Policy terms with the Middle East that don't involve waving around fire-sticks like morons for a crude liquid resource sounds like my way of getting some semblance of order back.

For a long time, I liked McCain. Thanks to this and my own ideas of humanity, I still like McCain; He's willing to speak truthfully to the American people and really show the people that his "mudslinging" methods aren't really supported as much as he says they are in his commericals. I think the same thing could be said of Obama too. The only thing I know for sure? It will be a very interesting race..Although I just hope that the Republicians don't cheat like with Bush. We'd catch it this time.

Bob said...

The thing is, we basically lucked the HELL out this election in that two fundamentally decent guys wound up at the head of each respective ticket. And for that, we kinda owe The Clintons.

See, the Republicans had been preparing to run against Hillary Clinton for over a decade, and the prospect of facing her post-Bush scared the CRAP out of them. So all the really dirty-fighting hardcases who would've been "risky" to run against a female candidate (see: Romney, Giulliani) got weeded out in favor of the liberal-friendly, politically-moderate McCain. If the Republican power-brokers knew they'd be running against a neophyte, they NEVER would've resorted to McCain whom they don't like much.

Obama supporters should be ESPECIALLY thankful because, let's be clear here: Mitt Romney is a bellowing douchebag, but he's a political street-fighter who WOULD be wailing on Obama via Ayers, Wright and Acorn for real - and HE'D make the attacks work.

Ben said...

I might just be cheap here and say that not only was the first guy from the crowd a huge fat arse, I'm pretty sure that the woman who was on second is actually a man.
I don't live in the US, but I'm still pretty interested in the outcome of this election. I really didn't like McCain for a long time, but recently he's grown on me. I think what he did was brave and that it shows true integrity. I just hate those that are still living in the 1800s and judge Obama by his race.
'McCain: Obama is not an arab' What the blazes? Who writes this stuff?

Bob said...

"Either he agrees or he can't even control HIS OWN people! How can he run the country?"

Just to be clear: This is NOT me "endorsing" John McCain. This is me being dissapointed at the state of the voting public.

wf said...

Bush stole two elections and McCain crashed three planes (just for the heck of it, right?) and is a "boozer" and those who don´t like Obama are racists... and you whiners complain about mudslinging?

Where do you think you are getting this stuff? My guess is that Tyra is not a Top Gun flight instructor. Where do you think these nonsensical attacks which you are simply repeating are coming from?

You might at least acknowledge the occasional violence and ceaseless rage coming from fans and surrogates of Obama.

But to do that you would have to be exactly as broadminded and well-informed as you fancy yourself to be. Instead you will either deny it or - faced with proof - find an excuse, e.g. "well, that´s politics and doesn´t he have a great campaign machine".

Obama of course has never taken responsibility for the actions of his surrogates. He has never corrected those who vilified his opponents or called him messiah.

The contrast with McCain couldn´t be greater.