Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The wild blue yonder (this time, it is about politics)

The important things, the valuable and unassailable truths...those things are immortal.

That's what we subscribe to, when we pledge to liberty and justice--equality under the law and individual liberties for each person, no matter the sex, color, gender, orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, or any other "othering" quality. The freedom of choice is what our constitution espouses, the idea that each person is equally valid, though not the same, under the law. Law, which we hope to be (but never really is) the distillation of the true, the pure, and the right.

Something has clearly gone wrong. We've got a lesser-of-two-evils election philosophy, a binary system, a functional either-or. "Which do you hate less? Which frightens you less? Who is less likely to plunge us into a state of nuclear war, to revoke all individual rights, to ignore the Geneva Convention, to slaughter and vilify thousands upon thousands of people halfway across the world for the sake of a few extremist terrorists? Who is less likely to fly in the face of all humanitarian efforts, to knuckle under LESS to Corporate America, to exterminate FEWER species and increase CO2 emissions more slowly? Who is going to ignore the poor less, and kill fewer people through gross negligence and clear class discrimination? Who is less of a hypocrite about the way we get our produce, and who is going to ignore scientists less? Who will lie less--and how the hell can we know that, anyway?"

Maybe we're in a state of proto-revolution. Probably, Obama is not the messiah so many of us would like him to be. Who knows? Maybe Mark Morford and company are wrong, and he's actually the Antichrist. But even if the entire country crashes and burns, that does not mean we have lost our principles. What we love about those principles, what has motivated people (and still does, whether or not it's the actual reason is beside the point) to die proudly for this country, is that the things that really matter--freedom, justice, honesty, truth, respect...those things are immortal.

Just because we've royally screwed it up (or, William Goldman, screwed down) means nothing more than, simply, that. We have not killed our ideals, although we've drastically failed to live up to them. Does that mean they're not still our ideals? Does that mean we're beyond the pale? I hope not.

There are those--people I deeply respect, in fact, and more than one of them--who believe that by playing into the election at all we're just dupes. Voting for anyone, Amondson and Pletten, is buying in. And as long as we're buying in, we're failing. Maybe I'm not enough of an activist, or maybe I'm lazy, or maybe I'm just still too naive, but I believe that change may be possible. Yes, Barack Obama has chosen to use that word as his own, but that doesn't mean he'll do it. And that doesn't mean that that's what I mean when I say it.

The election is not really an election. It may be even less than it is--my personal belief is that I'll be incredibly surprised if Diebold allows Obama to win. Yes, you read that right (I do not endorse this blog but offer it merely for your judgment, or you can just google "CEO Diebold" for yourself...). It's about choosing who is less likely to be harmful in more alarming way. Yes, Obama is identical to McCain on a lot of issues. Where he differs is within the realm of individual liberties and civil rights. He's not much better, but he is better--his education plan (yes, education should be a right, if you ask me, and you did, since it's my blog you're reading) is better, and his stance on abortion is much, much better. Given two otherwise identical candidates, one of whom supports a woman's right to choose and has a superior plan for educating whatever children she may have, I'd choose the second one. Even if he doesn't *completely* support her right to choose. Even if his education plan *isn't* perfect.

What's that? It's a cop-out to give ourselves up to the inevitability of a continuing war overseas? Yes, I truly agree with you. It's a disgusting cop-out. It's heinous, and it is, as I learned for my French test today Inadmissable! Why is it a cop-out? Because it's not upholding the important value of the case, which is most easily generalized as "Justice". You can't quantify justice, and you can't have partial justice, any more than you can be sort of pregnant or a little bit in love. That, I give you. It's as unjust as hell--less just, actually, if you really want to go there (euh, so to speak). But how on earth are you ever going to achieve justice if you've got someone perpetuating injustice domestically? Isn't this why we're so down on infidelity and personal corruption in our political candidates?

So, is choosing the less unjust candidate the best way of freedom fighting? Maybe not. But I think that minimizing, to the extent realistically possible, the apparent injustice propagation potential (stay with me, we're almost there) in the POTUS domestically must bring us slightly closer, in the end, to ending our unjust international acts. Okay, you made it through that sentence.

This post has kind of run away with me.

Discuss, if you like, but civilly.

P.S. Courtesy of Simon, and quite interesting.

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