Friday, September 05, 2008

Where I Stand ...

Fair warning: This is a political post.

For those of you who have made it known that you like my blog but you don't like when I write about politics, you're welcome to leave. But you're also welcome to stay.

Last night, I created a post in which I wrote "I've been writing Finding My Voice for nearly three and a half years" and then quipped "(You'd think I'd have found it by now, eh?)."

But tonight, politically, I have found my voice.

This is what I have to say:

I fear for this country.

I truly believe that we are teetering on the brink of irreversible harm. Seven years ago, the Republicans, with their control of both the Legislative and Executive branches, got behind the wheel and stamped their collective foot on the gas. Problem was, the car was in Reverse.

And now here we are as a country with two wheels hanging over the edge of the cliff. And the only way we are going to survive as a nation is if someone grabs the steering wheel, slams the transmission into Drive, and guns the engine to get us back on solid ground.

It is no secret to recent readers of this blog that I support Barack Obama for President of the United States.

But until now, I haven't expressed why.

Lately, people have been praising me, quite out of the blue, for my way with words. And I thank them. But tonight, I understand that my gift of expression requires that I express my beliefs.

I recognize that I may lose readers because of this post. I recognize that I may even lose friends. If so, I will miss them.

But this election is simply too important. There is simply too much on the line.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their vote.

But I am baffled, truly, sadly baffled, by how anyone can support the Republicans in this election.

Bill Clinton has said (as have others, I'm sure) that the measure of a President is whether he leaves the country, at the end of his term, better off than when he took office.

It is a very simple metric for a very complex job.

And so I ask: Is this country better off than it was in 2000?

It is not. In any way.

The unemployment rate is rising.

The stock market is plummeting.

The housing market is imploding.

Last week, it cost me $60 to fill my car's tank. Yesterday, I was excited to see gas for $3.89 a gallon.

Oil was trading at $22 a barrel when Bush took office. This summer, it peaked at $147. Of course, I recognize that many factors influenced oil's precipitous rise. But what has the Bush administration done to begin to curb our dependence on foreign oil? Nothing. Moreover, it rewards Big Oil with massive tax breaks while Big Oil reaps record profits directly out of the pockets of everyday Americans whose paychecks can simply stretch no further. And in the end, huge sums of money, unfathomable sums of money, are enriching nations in the Middle East.

We have mortgaged our future to Saudi Arabia. And China. Let's hope they don't want to collect any time soon.

More than 80 percent of this country says that we're on the wrong track. Yet nearly 50 percent of polled voters say they'll vote for McCain. McCain, despite his fervent use of the word "change," is an agent of Bush. Why are so many people willing to vote for four more years of "the wrong track"?

The Republicans argue that Obama isn't qualified to lead, yet all I hear McCain talk about is his time as a P.O.W.

Let me be very clear: I have the utmost respect for our armed forces. And I cannot fathom the living hell a P.O.W. endures. But McCain plays the P.O.W. card over and over and over. I understand that the experience shaped him as a human being, but we don't need a president who endlessly replays the past. We need a president who tackles today's problems with an eye on the future.

What is the future of the United States under John McCain? I don't know. Do you know? How can we? He hasn't said. But he's been very vocal that Barack lacks the experience to lead.

In my view, the President of the United States is a leader but also a standard-bearer, the point around which the country rallies or the point around which the country divides.

Never before have I felt such division.

But there is no disputing that Barack has inspired not only a significant portion of this country but also a significant population of the world. As he said in Denver, "What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you."

That is why we back Barack Obama. He has roused us out of our resignation. He has made us believe again in the promise of this country.

As for experience, yes, it's true that Barack is not a long-time Washington insider. And that is partly why I want him to be President. I also want him to be President because he has proven, time and time again, that his judgment is sound and true. Barack holds fast to his beliefs and his vision. For example:

Barack advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

"No!" said the Bush administration.

And yet, today there exists a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

So what qualified Bush to be President?

Under Bush, Texas carried out more executions than under any other governor. That is his gubernatorial legacy.

What else qualified Bush to be President?

He was a C student at Yale.

I'm not saying this to boast, but I passed the Mensa entrance exam. In an academic sense, I am very possibly smarter than the President of the United States.

I don't want to be smarter than the President of the United States. I want the President of the United States to be smarter than me. Because he's the President of the United States, and by extension, the most powerful man in the world.

Of course, no one man can know everything, which is why a President has advisors. Yes, ultimately, the buck stops with him, but he does not need to know everything about everything.

Bush may be the President, but Rove and Cheney have shaped this presidency. And this country.

And what sorry shape it's in.

(Yes, I know that Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006 and that Congress enjoys the lowest approval ratings ever. But Democrats do not hold a large enough majority to override the Republicans who have dug in their heels. It's hardly the most conducive atmosphere to getting things done.)

I recognize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Barack. Jen, one of my regular readers, is upset by Barack's position on the space program. Jen works for NASA. Her concerns are certainly understandable.

Barack cannot be all things to all people. Would that he could but he can't. As President, he'll need to prioritize and organize to implement his plans.

This country currently holds the most massive deficit in our history. Our economy is grinding to a halt. People are losing their homes. Companies are slashing jobs and declaring bankruptcy. Resolving our economic crisis must be at the helm of his list of priorities.

There will be a need for patience. All change cannot happen all at once.

But some change can happen every moment.

I have contributed to Barack's campaign. I have pinned Obama buttons on my purse since the weather was snowy and cold.

Tomorrow, I will visit Obama headquarters in Chicago and learn what I can do to lend a hand.

There are 60 days until the election.

Now is the time.

Yes we can.


Blogger Dave said...

I think I want to marry you right now. And make love to you. And even cook for you.

Never were truer words written, my friend. I stand with you. Now is the time.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Jurgologie said...

Beautiful and articulate. I especially like the part about him not being able to be everything to everyone. He's the most likely to save us from hell, though, and that's what's on my mind. I donated another $100 today. Never before have I been so galvanized. It seems stupid and childish, but I've been asking myself why they want it so badly. Why? Why are they doing this?

I am terrified.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

What Dave said. ;)

Very nicely put.

Something that McCain isn't grasping: by using "experience" as a major card in his hand, he's saying we should trust him because his party (which includes himself) has had the hands-on experience of completely messing the country up for the last near-decade. Wheras "inexperienced" Obama hasn't.
It's the oddest, most ass-backwards demonstration of the "better the devil you know" approach that I've ever seen.

(Regarding Bush, what worries me is that not only is he not exceptionally clever....which as you say should be a requirement of someone in such a position....not only is he not mediocre in wit - whatever his IQ is (which is only a rough way to measure intelligence), his words and actions are those of a profoundly stupid man).

I'm a big believer in the space program. Doing a little reading around, it seems that Obama's campaign promise is to delay Constellation (NASA's successor to the Shuttle) for 5 years in order to divert funds into education. Yes, worrying - but pragmatically, the US is simply not in a strong enough position right now to divert Big Money into NASA. The economic situation is grave enough to delay programs as important as that. In an ideal world, the modern obsession with military technology would turn into an obsession with getting people into Space, but that's wishful.

If the intention *is* to divert Big Money back into Space when it becomes available (say, if throttling back militarily in Iraq frees up funds elsewhere), then I don't see this as too bad a move. For now.

If it's sidelining Space in the long run the dumb, dumb way Bush sidelined the environment, then no, I don't support Obama's proposal at all. There are very few human endeavors that are more important than us populating other planets. (And that's *not* a matter of science fiction. We're intensely vulnerable. For example, statistically, we're long overdue a major meteor strike of the size that could kill billions of people. Let alone what happens to us as a species when we suffer a truly global environmental disaster. We're like gamblers that are continually putting everything we've got on Red. At some point this will end in tears - or rather, silence).

5:45 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well put, Mike. Thanks for adding your thoughts about the space program, as they mirror mine. We simply don't have enough money to keep funding everything. (How are we sending $1 billion in aid to Georgia? Are we taking it off a a credit card?)

So some things will have to wait a little while while we address the most-crucial needs facing the country.

I agree that space is important. And I don't want us to fall far behind. But wresting the country back from the brink of economic collapse is priority No. 1. And education is rightfully at the top of the list.

If we don't address that pressing need, there won't be anyone qualified to work at NASA in the future anyway.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Brian Muir said...

Well put. What has been so infuriating about the Republicans is their lack of planning for ANYTHING (energy independence, the conduct of the Iraq war, any kind of natural disaster) and their reactionary response to EVERYTHING (higher gas prices? drill! drill! terror attack? war!), which they simultaneously use to demonize one half of the country (if you're against drilling, you must be unpatriotic). They are skilled but shameless politicians with no talent for governing.

You go Beth!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Scribe Called Steff said...

My only complaint is that you felt you needed to justify talking about politics on your blog.

Like Michael Douglas says in the American President, "This is a serious time" and serious people are needed.

Those who don't like political discussion can screw themselves. Discussion needs to be had.

Here in Canada, we're about to have a last-second impromptu election just so the Conservatives can win a longer mandate before "liberal fever" catches from down south.

I BLAME Americans for the fact that we have Conservatives running Canada. They FUCKED UP last time by voting Bush because they were too stupid to listen to the facts.

I say "they" because a MAJORITY of voters voted the wrong way. I don't think this is me being opinionated; look at all the facts -- America's gotten stupider thanks to shitty education, oil's officially called "Black Gold" now because of the ridiculous 500% increase in a barrel's price in eight years, the housing market's been gutted like a 2-day-old fish, and it sure as shit doesn't stop there.

No one can argue that Bush was the right choice in '04, and anyone who wants to argue that McCain/Palin are advocates of change is just a moron. Sorry, but it's true.

And that's even before I found out last night that there's a video of Palin (search for Palin and the Wasilla Assembly of God; look for the 6:15 long video) speaking before her church about five years ago, right around the start of the war... and she says that the war in Iraq was GOD'S PLAN. LITERALLY. GOD'S PLAN.

THAT FUCKING TERRIFIES ME. Why? Because GOD didn't mobilize the troops. GOD didn't decide to further his political views by taking out a country his Daddy lost to.

BUSH declared war. His Cheney/Rove puppets orchestrated it. Yet SHE thinks it was GOD?

And here's a story too:

The Republicans are running on fear again.

I'm tired of fear. I want hope. I want America to be that country on the world stage that makes the rest of us in the world feel a little better about the way the world is.

Because, while I don't believe in running on a mandate of fear... I'm getting real tired of China and Russia getting so powerful. And a DIPLOMAT needs to be in office to keep things on an even keel.

Not a cowboy.

And sure as fuck not a Maverick and a religious zealot.

So stop apologizing for believing it, stop being scared to say it, and speak your truth to power, because it has never, ever been more important than it is now. Never.

And this is a very good start. Now you have 59 days to continue fighting the fight.


11:19 AM  
Blogger Scribe Called Steff said...

(Holy hijacked comments, dude. Well, backlog for never leaving any. Ha ha.)

11:21 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

LOL, Steff! You're always welcome to write as much as you like.

And the only reason I warned people that the post was political is because I haven't written one in a long time. But believe me, I don't apologize for it.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Doreen said...

BRAVO - I applaud you putting your neck and blog on the line.

I am excited to have you join TEAM OBAMA!!!


2:08 PM  
Anonymous Danny said...

You will be praying for 3.89 gas if B. Hussein gets elected.

8:46 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I agree with everything you said, Beth. One thing to remember...even if McCain somehow wins, the Dems will control both the House and the Senate. And fewer and fewer people consider themselves Republicans.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

I applaud your passion and conviction, however misdirected it may be.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Nat said...

What Dave said. (JK)
Go Team!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

Sadly, many people are sitting around wishing for reasons to stay with the Republicans. So McCain adopting a message of change (totally illogical) and adding a woman to the ticket (totally manipulative) will always give some of them what they are looking for. A reason to believe the next Republican President won't be like the last Republican President.

Of course, we know better.

And luckily Obama will win because the polls are all wrong.

Almost all polls are conducted using landline phones. No cell phones, no Internet. And so they miss a huge sweet spot of Obama voters - who don't even have landline phones any more!

These are the people who will allow the Electoral College map to be redrawn. Ironically the very system that allowed Bush to steal an election will help Obama win one.

What will save this country is the open-mindedness
of the young. Getting anyone over 30 to change his or her mind is all but impossible! The apparent dead heat that most polls report is proof of this.

As you so rightly say, how can this election even be close given the last eight years? Answer: most people don't truly want change. Those who do will vote for Obama.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Dave! I sure hope you are right. I am getting nervous watching the news. I do hope you are wrong about the voters over 30. We need to keep bloging, getting the word out and get the undecided swayed the O'Bama way!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

I was a little unfair to the over-30s wasn't I? Specially since I passed that point myself 26 years ago!!!

But my point about people getting set in their thinking and being unable (not just unwilling) to change is a true problem.

And as of today the electoral college thing has become an even closer race. So, you're right, it's going to take everything we have to stop the Republican Lie Machine from doing it again.

10:55 AM  

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