08 September 2008

Illusions of Choice

Obama. McCain. Obama. Biden. McCain. Palin. Paul. Obama. Lather, rinse, repeat.
At this point in a ridiculously long election cycle, I’m tired of all of it, and try as I may, I can’t put my heart fully behind any of the candidates. It wasn’t always like this. In 2004, I felt something for the candidacy of John Kerry, because he seemed an intelligent man who offered us something other than what our faux cowboy president had given us. In 2000, I voted Bush because, unlike Al Gore, he seemed to have a personality. I regret that vote. I regret that I didn’t have the foresight to see what could have happened down the road when a blank man who seemed to project whatever we wanted to see in him (as a “compassionate conservative,” whatever that means) revealed himself for what he really was: a dynastic phony with a very narrow band of interest. I used to consider myself a conservative, but that changed in the years after 9/11. I’m not a conservative anymore for the following simple reasons:
1.) The war in Iraq is a poorly planned affair based more on the charisma of the Bush Administration than on the actual facts at hand. The war in Afghanistan, on the other hand, had a clear objective and point.
2.) Our civil liberties are being infringed now more than ever in the name of “our freedom.” What’s the point of trying to defeat our enemy when we become more and more like him with each passing intelligence bill?
3.) A grossly offensive terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, DC. in which thousands died, has been used for political gain ever since.
4.) The very planet we live on is being chewed up and spat out by companies whose foresight seems to be where their hindsight emanates from.
5.) The gap between the rich and the poor grows wider with each passing year.
6.) An American city was left to drown after rampant cronyism proved less than successful at minimizing the damage.
I’m not a conservative. I’m not a liberal. I’m not sure what I am. But I know that I’m angry. I’m angry because my electoral choice this fall isn’t much of a choice at all. Which is worse: voting for someone who you know will screw you, or voting for someone who says they won’t but probably will anyway? Obama, for all of his charisma, is untested. The last thing we need in office after eight years of Bush is another man with a fairly narrow resume. McCain, for all of his fighter pilot heroism (justified, to a point), has been in Washington for 26 years but only now claims that the system is broken. Biden, before he was chosen by Obama, talked a lot of trash about Obama’s lack of experience, a tune that changed markedly once he was picked as vice president. And Palin? A good speech does not experience make. She’s the Republican version of Obama – good at getting people’s passion stirred up, but lacking any real sort of qualifications to make her the next president of the United States.
I’m reading poll figures today that are saying McCain is pulling ahead in the race. How is this even possible? How could Barack Obama, who seemed to have the world on a string a few months ago, have fallen to this point? Why is this even a race anymore? It shouldn’t even be a contest by this point. What does it matter to me? I don’t like either of them. McCain, for all of his “maverick” tendencies, has voted more with President Bush than against him. I’m not comfortable with that. Obama, for all of his rhetoric, doesn’t convince me of much of anything concrete. This Election Day, I’m going to vote for “None of the above.” I’m not happy to have come to that conclusion, but so far, it’s the only choice that makes sense to me.

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