Posts filed under ‘Politics’

The McPalin Conundrum

Four years ago, a vote for Ralph Nader essentially represented a vote for George “W” Bush because a vast majority of Nader’s supporters would have chosen Kerry if given no better alternative. If Nader had had more than a snowball’s chance in hell to win, I would not have had an issue with his running against Kerry: Besides being the first Arab American and Lebanese American (holla!) to run for President, Nader espouses refreshingly progressive ideologies and has an impressive résumé of activism (not the least of which includes his efforts to pass the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act).  All that said, I have to agree with The Atlantic Monthly‘s 2006 article on the most influential Americans of the 20th century: “[Ralph Nader] made the cars we drive safer; thirty years later, he made George W. Bush the president.”

Now we sit in the same quagmire…except that this time the threat comes from-of all places-a vice presidential candidate. A vote for John McCain is a vote for Sarah (I call her “Scarah”) Palin. Besides opposing Democratic nominees, Ralph Nader and Senator McCain have something else in common: Both men are septuagenarians. At 74, Nader has aged relatively well, but 72-year-old McCain looks like he’s been on Medicare for several years. Statistically speaking, he could very feasibly die in office if he wins. This does not bode well for the American people.

While I disagree with most of his positions, I respect McCain’s refusal to subscribe to a hard-line conservative platform. He has reasonable views on immigration, such as expanding social programs for legal immigrants, and his work on campaign finance reform is commendable. Unlike his running mate, McCain believes that abortion should be legal in certain circumstances (e.g. rape, incest). And while he’s not the greenest candidate (in more ways than one!), he supports the further development and use of alternative energy. Over the past few months, McCain has come across as a clone of George W., but his voting record says otherwise.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is an absolute terror! I’ve dubbed her “Satan with a Snatch.” She thinks schools should employ abstinence-only education (which clearly worked for her unwed 17-year-old). But the pro-life label would be a misnomer because she does, indeed, support the dealth penalty. According to Governor Palin, we should teach creationsim in our public schools (wonder if she’s ever heard of separation of church and state?). She opposes stem cell research, which  McCain supports to an extent, and she feels that global warming is not man-made. With an estimated net worth far exceeding the seven-figure mark, Sarah and Todd Palin have no right to constantly identify themselves as middle Americans. The list goes on and on, but I am becoming increasingly nauseated.

Obviously I’m voting for Barack Obama, but I advise so-called moderates to consider the fact that Palin is literally and figuratively “a heartbeat away” from the presidency. Without Governor Scarah fettered to his wrinkly ankle, John McCain wouldn’t be the worst man in history to enter the Oval Office. But because the Arizonan senator chose the incompetent Alaskan to campaign by his side, the possibility of an electoral victory for the McPalin package is more horrifying than finding a bloody razor in your Halloween candy.

October 17, 2008 at 7:11 am 1 comment

The Wet Frog

I’m sure it’s not scientifically-proven, but have you ever heard the story about the frog in the boiling pot? Apparently, if you put a frog into a pot of water and gradually turn the heat up, the frog will not die, even once the water has begun to boil. The poor amphibian has become acclimated to the water’s temperature, thus surviving the ordeal. If, however, you were to quickly turn the knob, causing the water to boil much sooner, the frog would die.

The fate of the wet frog serves as a metaphor for the current socioeconomic climate. I acquired my driver’s license less than 10 years ago and could fill up my Toyota Tercel on about 10 bucks. Gas prices have almost quadrupled, but wages have not risen accordingly. We should have seen this coming: Over the last 8 years of Bush’s flawed reign, gas prices have – for the most part – risen incrementally until topping out at over four dollars a gallon. We only began feeling the “heat” in a big way when prices crossed the three dollar line. And it’s been less than a year since car companies across the board began airing commercials geared toward fuel efficiency. As figurative frogs, we have been sitting in boiling water for months now with no real plan for hopping out.

Fuel prices are the easiest thing for me to point out, but the temperature is rising in multiple arenas. The problem is that we’ve learned to stand the heat, so we are not getting out of the kitchen anytime soon. Until the pressure cooker boils over, things will continue to worsen before they get better. In the meantime, the wealthiest five percent of Americans will sit on their lily pads and watch as the rest of us suffer second-degree burns.

September 30, 2008 at 6:53 am Leave a comment

Green Republicans and Patriotic Democrats?

This afternoon I pulled up to a policyholder’s long, gravelly driveway out in the country. Judging by the overwhelmingly GOP billboards and picket signs throughout the community, I figured most of the people I would run into would not be on my side in November. That was OK with me because I do my best to keep religion and politics out of my professional interactions. The house sat on several acres with a brand new seafoam green Toyota Prius parked out front. A few months ago, a conservative co-worker opined (not without contempt) that people only drive hybrid cars to make a leftist political statement. I begged to differ at the time, but, from that point forward, I couldn’t help but notice the number of hybrid cars on the road with Obama or Clinton bumper stickers. (I have yet to see a Prius with a McCain endorsement). So, needless to say, I had a hunch that the policyholders I was about to see were themselves democrats. Good thing I didn’t open my big trap.

To make a long story short, this family possessed very conservative political views, going as far to say that this country was being overturned by Communists (which is interesting, considering the fact that the U.S. has only had 1 democratic president since I was born and that even the power players on the left are veering more toward the center). And as far as Mother Earth is concerned, the policyholders went off onto a tangent about how the environmentalists are brainwashing their constituents with a money-making agenda.

I came to the conclusion that the policyholders had either a) inherited the car or b) decided that saving gas money trumped putting off any kind of political image by a vehicle.

Do green republicans and patriotic democrats exist? Absolutely, but the media doesn’t want us to think so. I know just as many gay people who plan to vote for McCain as I do pro-lifers who support Obama. The Republican party doesn’t just consist of WASPy, affluent, heterosexual, gun-toting, traditionalists. And my fellow Democrats aren’t necessarily working class, pro-choice, eco-friendly, pacifistic minorities who support big government. If we were to create a venn diagram of American politics, we would find that a lot of ideologies don’t easily fit into a certain party. Lofty generalizations pit us against each other when, for the most part, we’re all moving toward a common goal.

In 2004, my aunt hung a gigantic American flag in her front yard – a typical half acre lawn in the suburbs of Dallas. With respect to her patriotism, Aunt Denise’s neighbors didn’t know whether to feel confused or jealous. The only Kerry supporter on the block, Denise wanted to make a statement that she could be just as patriotic as anyone else. Like me, my aunt opposes the war but supports our troops. I’m sure she’s honoring the seventh anniversary of 9/11 the same as everyone else. Patriotism takes on multiple forms.

And now that I think about it, I’ll have to ask her if her rightmost neighbor, an NRA card-carrier, has a Prius parked in his garage.

August 22, 2008 at 7:27 am 5 comments

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