Elections Would Make Great Horror Movies
Through the past couple of months, I've found myself impressed by both Barack Obama and John McCain, and this is rare to feel come election time. I didn't like either candidate in 2004, and during the first couple of elections I just considered myself a Republican and went for Bob Dole in 1996 and Bush in 2000, then gave the default vote for Bush in 2004. I was 19, 23, and 27 then. I'm 31 now, and I feel like something has changed enough to vote Democrat this election.
It's easy to be impressed by Barack Obama and for around two years now, he's been the guy for whom I've wanted to vote for a long time. Young guys full of ideas excite me, but much has been made of his experience. Experience, I feel, is important in some aspects but overrated in others. It seems like to me that no potential first-term President has meaningful experience in running a country, and while governors and mayors can at least tout running a smaller populace, I doubt being a governor or mayor truly prepares someone completely.
So that brings me to the horror movie aspect of elections. We have to weigh a lot of factors, but then one side will say, "That side is going to raise your taxes," and another will say, "They won't be tough on terrorists!" And you might as well be in a haunted house being taunted by ghosts with all the scare tactics you will hear in the next two months.
But what's even scarier for me are the lies or misinformation that can be proved as lies or misinformation, and the candidates still use these talking points as strengths. After Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin made her impressive speech at the RNC, I was already seeing rebuttals complete with proof. The one that stands out, and I'm certainly not saying it's the most important one, is the one where she says something like, "I told Congress [as Alaska governor] we don't need your Bridge to Nowhere. If we need a bridge, we'll build it ourselves."
And, of course, we find out that she supported the so-called Bridge to Nowhere until it became unpopular to do so.
So it brings me to another horrific aspect of elections: Sarah Palin is going to continue to make many points that sound strong and uplift her party, and despite the fact that there will be people who find out that her talking points are false, she can continue to get away with it because she knows that not enough people who will make a difference are going to research the claims. It sounds good and powerful, and that's all many people care about.
This also brings me to another point. I get the feeling that if we go for the Republican ticket, we're going for Sarah Palin rather than John McCain. I have never seen this much star wattage lent to a VP candidate. We usually don't give a crap about VPs. Anyone vote or not vote for a candidate because of their VP? Yet, this year, McCain, knowing that the power of his name wasn't all that great, went with a dynamic woman no one outside of Alaska had really heard of, and vaulted her to celebrity status. The buttons you saw worn at the RNC showed what much of Palin's appeal came from: being attractive. Not only that, but she has five kids, one's going to war, and another has Down syndrome. Her backstory is exactly the type of thing that guys would make up to impress girls.
Back to terrorism. One claim consistently bothers me about the Bush administration, and that's "there haven't been any attacks on American soil since 9/11." They throw this out there because it's this Republican resolve that continues to stymie attacks; if it weren't for them, who knows what kind of destruction we would be witnessing? I couldn't help but think, though, that after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, that the Clinton administration could have made the same claim during their time in office. There were clearly no attacks (by foreigners, at least) on American soil for the remainder of their tenure. It's because the Bush administration has been fighting wars the entire time since 2001 that the illusion of being kept safe has been created. So what do I make of the relatively peaceful times between 1994-2000?
This brings me to another problem. The fact that the World Trade Center was hit a year after one election in 1992 (bringing in first-termer Clinton) and then another in 2000 (bringing in first-termer Bush) makes me wary of 2009. It's a very, very small sample size, to be sure, but it seems like terrorists wait until a new President is sworn in to say, "Welcome to this world, bitches." A fantasy is created that makes Americans feel safe, and then the boom is lowered. So if Barack Obama wins the election, and we have a big terrorist attack, guess who is getting blamed...and guess who takes the credit for all the lack of activity before it? It's pretty bothersome.
Right now, I'm still an Obama believer. I don't generally trust people who have been in Washington for a long time, because they seem too ingrained into the nonsense that comes out of the government. And with all the claims by McCain that don't ring true, with all the studies I've been reading about the candidates, trying to separate the fact from the fiction, Obama comes out as a better candidate for me. Of course, things could change I suppose. But I'm primed to make this vote, which will likely just be piling on considering New York is mostly Democrat.