I suppose one reason I began self identifying as a liberal is because Eddie Vedder is awesome. I was fifteen, hormonal, and totally into the Seattle scene when I first started exploring political and philosophical thought outside of that which I was raised with. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Of course I would frame the liberal/conservative divide in such a fashion: keep in mind, it would be another year before my Spiderman subscription would expire.
On the one hand you had a bunch of old white guys with neat televangelist hair and expensive suits. They were talking about the degradation of our (read: W.A.S.P.) culture and family values, and there was an unpleasant hue of racism and sanctimony hanging over their speech.
On the other hand you had the cool guys. The entertainment guys (appealing conservatives are hard to find in the entertainment industry): George Carlin. Bill Maher. Eddie Vedder. They bucked the status quo and called conservatives out on their hypocrisy and apparent cultural fascism. Plus, Eddie Vedder could sing like a madman. I’d like to see Newt Gingrich pull off ‘Yellow Ledbetter’.
Unfortunately, a lot of the thought underlying many of the current ‘liberal’ positions is as incomprehensible as the lyrics to that classic Pearl Jam tune.
The liberal position is one that advocates the virtual enslavement of illegal immigrants. The humane position, although it is often not voiced in this fashion, is to help make Mexico a viable economic power through strategic trade and aid, and also to make Mexico a more welcoming place to Mexicans by aiding the Mexican organizations that seek to curtail crime. Forcing poor people to brave hazardous conditions for slave wages is not a compassionate option.
The reasonable choice on the energy front is to go nuclear, go wind, go water, go ethanol, go electric, and yes, to drill. Drill in ANWR and off shore. There have been all kinds of advancements in drilling technology that will assure the environment will receive minimal damage, but will allow us (the most humanitarian nation in the world) to maintain our power-player status. Also on the environmental front, stop opposing CCS. If carbon emission is the problem, devices that reabsorb carbon from the atmosphere make all kinds of sense.
Timelines in Iraq are a bad idea. The surge has worked. Those of us who opposed it need to admit that. The best solution to the situation in Iraq is to follow a pragmatic strategy based on conditions on the ground. It was a mistake to invade, but we’re there now. If we leave, all kinds of people are going to die. Remember, we’re still in Germany.
There are more: breaching Pakistan’s border in a search for Osama Bin Laden is foolish. Tax cuts help businesses and families trying to pull themselves out of the lower classes. Making trade between ourselves and South American countries more seamless is the height of neighborliness. School vouchers enable families with less desirable options a chance to offer their children a better learning environment. Healthcare savings accounts for citizens is a much better solution to our healthcare difficulties than handing the system over to the federal government.
I’ve been a reliable left/libertarian voter as long as I’ve been able to vote. I support gay marriage, arts funding, and the public school system. I was opposed to going into Iraq, and I support reasonable gun laws. I am a conservationist. I oppose the patriot act, and support social safety nets, such as social security and welfare. I am against the death penalty, and for decriminalization of marijuana. I believe in a strict separation of church and state, and oppose the teaching of creationism in science class. I also publicly applauded the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that allowed Gitmo detainees to have access to our court system.
But I am finding it hard to rally to the call of our left wing gurus. Many Obama supporters come off as glassy-eyed revivalists. Al Gore doesn’t seem far away from seeking to have those who question man’s role in global warming committed, or put in prison. Hugo Chavez is an opposition-silencing dictator. Jesse Jackson is talking about cutting people’s nuts off.
The world doesn’t need to be protected from liberals or conservatives. The world needs to be protected from radicals on all spectrums whose endgame is of the convert,kill, or silence model.
All of the radicals--at least the ones we need to worry about--seem to be on the left this time around. John McCain isn’t a true believer like George Bush. He’s a clumsy opportunist in some ways, but he’s also a pragmatist. He’s got a record of consensus building. He was a member (to the fury of many on the right) of the gang of fourteen. His policies on healthcare are moderate, and he has a relatively liberal environmental policy.
A vote for John McCain is a vote more or less for the status quo; not necessarily the best option, but better than socialism, and definitely better than joining Obama‘s personality cult.
There has to be balance in society. Balance between government and corporations, and balance between left and right. With an apparent democratic tide rolling in in ‘09, McCain is the moderate's choice. He may not be bringing sexy back, but at least he seems to be aware that he is a man applying for a job, rather than a man recruiting fishers of men.
I am voting for Barack Obama. According to the madman posting above, McCain is the moderate choice. Maybe I am not such a moderate as I thought. Because I was turned off by the borderline worshipfulness of some of Obama's supporters at the time I wrote this post, I blocked out McCain's steadily increasing & cynical pandering to the right. The fervor some on the right feel for Palin has eclipsed and equalized what disturbed me about the enthusiasm of many Obama supporters. She's brought the wingnuts to the party. I still like John McCain, and hope he has a good retirement. The debates have shown me that Obama is the person with the temperament to lead our nation, not McCain. Obama's solution to the forclosure crisis is actually more conservative than McCain's. Obama has (reluctantly) expressed a willingness to explore drilling, and has a far safer healthcare option than McCain. I still support school vouchers, but find myself more in-line with Obama on the economy, immigration, foreign policy, and social issues. The two candidates aren't that different, but Obama seems to be the safer option at this point.