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Wiping the Politics Off My Sleave

Four years ago I gathered up my thoughts on the way that election turned out.

[…] I think instead of sulking in this cataclysmic let-down, I’ll simply gather myself up and plan for the little bits of goodness that will surely come from living my life—spending time with my wife and our soon-to-be child.

Because the onus is not on me or anyone who had the good sense to recognize how messed up things really are. It never was. The burden of proof in the next four years lies with the people who voted for George W. Bush’s second term, knowing full well the record of his first.

And despite what some predicted, the Democrats did not go the way of the Whigs after 9/11. They held together and lost to a small margin in numbers. Talk of new parties and rearranging the electoral system are certain to happen and are a healthy part of our democracy. But there should be no deserters. The split line in this race demonstrates that the resistance is alive and kicking. It may need to regroup. It may need to rethink. But we should never be taken for granted again.

Because complacency for power’s sake is still wrong, and indifference to wrongness will always be a sin.

Judging from the number of political posts I’ve made since I wrote those words, I’ve clearly given my political voice to the proxy of mainstream news. Here we are in the worst financial shape since the Great Depression–something I only learned about in school–and at the cusp of a very real decision.

And the result of the last election, whether borne out of ignorance or fear, cannot happen again.

In all likelihood Barrack Obama will become the next president of the United States. In every important way, I think this is the right thing for America, or at least the country as I want to imagine it. He is clearly a gifted talent–a smart, honest, and sincere man who has bravely stepped up to what I believe is a spiritual calling.

I suppose at one time, the same could be said about his opponent, John McCain. And although I disagree with many of his political views, I believe he would have been acceptable, if not entirely predictable. But in too many ways, I think he’s lost himself along the way. At the very least, I believe he lost his intellectual honesty during his quest to get elected. Everything from his choice of running mate–a disingenuous anti-intellectual opportunist with questionable credentials at best–to his tacit approval of a campaign which tries to manipulate base human fear and hatred, have made me refuse to accept his candidacy wholesale.

And then there’s the other ticket. It’s funny that my own quote made so much about “the Democrats going the way of the Whigs.” That happened to be an actual paraphrase from Christopher Hitchens–the eloquent contrarian–who, ironically enough, has gone public with his decision to vote for Obama this time around.

Funny how things change.

Since it does seem that we will be watching history in the making, I can only hope that John McCain lives up to his promise of putting “country first.” It would be honorable of him to gracefully find some way of helping his campaign transition into what’s good for the country–not just himself. Instead of slinging more mud, or promising to fight beyond what’s appropriate or decent, he should bow out gracefully, if and when the time comes, like the honorable man I still believe he can be.

1 Comment

4 November 2008 @ 8am

Well put my friend. I’ll see you on the other side of this corner we’re turning.