Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Buddy can you spare some change

At first I thought it was very precious. So cute how everybody was all touchy-feely about what they had done.

It was kind of like being a parent watching the kids open presents on Christmas morning. They get so happy about some cheap plastic trinket that will be broken before the end of January.

You let them have their moment. It's so easy to please them and they don't know any better anyway.

But then I remembered that these aren't children. They're grown adults. They should know better.

I became increasingly disappointed as I read phrases like...
I don't think there was a dry eye in the room after Obama's speech.
I watched that speech with tears in my eyes. This is something that people will remember for a very long time. We’ll tell future generations about watching this election and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
This is the most important day in my over half a century on this planet..
This is something I don't understand. There are people out there who actually think "history has been made." Mature people, ostensibly rational people who should know better than to make decisions based on emotion. People who are old enough to have learned from the previous seven to 10 elections.

But aside from the fact that by definition history is made every day, the only thing remarkable about this election is that Obama is black.

For some people that's enough. Heck, for some people that's the only thing that matters.

As for history and the big "change" that everyone is expecting, I'm surprised that so many are so naïve to think that any real change will actually happen.

Politicians are still beholden to the money of special interests. With Obama, even more so.

They will promise the voters all kinds of new, expensive programs, inexplicably paid for by lower taxes. With Obama, even more so.

Sure, there has been a change in which party is in control of one of the branches of government. But to accept that as a real change, you have to convince yourself that there is a difference between the two parties, an accomplishment that takes a monumental act of self-deception and willful disregard of history.

It's like a Royals fan, believing each spring that their team will be in a pennant race at the end of the season despite years of evidence to the contrary. The difference is that despite the behavior of the vast majority of the electorate, politicians and news media, this isn't baseball.

If we want real improvement, we need to stop looking at national politics like it's a team sport or the latest season of Dancing with the Stars.

But we don't really want real improvement, do we.

My thoughts to be continued tomorrow...

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25 comments:

  1. Real change has already happened. If nothing else, but as a needed improvement in our international standing. America does not succeed with isolationist policies. This is very important as we're not the superpower we once were.

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  2. You should bottle up your cynicism and sell it.

    A little faith, brother. It is possible for a politician to be different. At least I hope...

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  3. Politicians are different. At least in the name they wear on their jerseys... so the fans know who to root for. But they are all playing the same game.

    Nice post Emaw.

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  4. my thought exactly, lots of self-congratulations on proving to someone that they are not racist,which is racist in itself.

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  5. I feel like nominating you for the Perfect Post Award. Except I don't know how.

    Just keep on telling it like it is. I'm waiting for part 2.

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  6. now that's sad.

    if you think any change would have occurred under a McCain/Palin administration, you're so deep into the conservative wing you've lost sight of yourself. literally.

    McCain would have simply continued the illegal and unnecessary occupation of Iraq, while throwing troops into Afghanistan for...what, really? Are we still looking, oh so hard, for Bin Laden over there? Is that why we're replaying the Viet Nam conflict all over again, crossing international borders to attack people in Syria and Laos just as we did Laos and Cambodia?

    Could McCain, or even you, explain the end game here any better than Nixon? Doubtful.

    Moreover, McCain would have punished our military beyond endurance by trying to savage Iran. That's change? I think not.

    No, the only change a McCain/Palin administration would have brought about would have been accidental and caused only by McCain's untimely death, thereby seating in the Presidency the only other imaginable public figure less competent or prepared for it than George Bush.

    Now that's some change we can believe in!

    --->

    President-elect Obama has, indeed, already changed the world's inclination to trust America again, something that is sorely needed: who wants to take the place of Russia, bullying nations or invading them when we get scared we'll run out of a natural resource?

    Obama has already changed that: he has made it clear that his first inclination is diplomacy: that's already a huge change from the last 8 years.

    Obama has already appointed as his chief of staff Rahn Emanuel,a former Clinton advisor who also happens to be the son of a Jerusalem born pediatrician who was also at one time a member of IZL. This is a huge change, not only because Bush never picked anyone -he delegated it to Cheney, therby setting the tone for Cheney's Presidency- but because Emanuel will assuage Israel's fears of an Obama administration, which means they aren't anywhere near as likely to bomb Iran now as they were just Monday.

    That's a huge change.

    For the first time in who knows how long, the Democrats hold a sufficient enough majority in both Houses that the Republicans will be forced to bend on some bills or risk not getting any of their agenda across – one only has to look at Newt Gingrich's Republican controlled congress and remember their shutting down the government to imagine how that would play out in the public eye.

    That's a huge change.

    --->

    I could spend hours at this, detailing point by point significant to huge change that has already happened..

    [And, yes, electing a black man to the Presidency in this country is HUGE]

    But the fact that you don't understand this simply speaks to your political immaturity which, if I don't miss my guess, rises from your tender age: you're what? Easily less than 40?

    There's no blame in it, you just don't know what HUGE political change is in this country because you have not experienced it.

    My personal take on your disposition is that, now the people you support are doomed for at the least the next 4 years to wander a political diaspora, you're bitter and and intend to be the annoying gadfly that always brings down everyone's buzz. Which means the more change that comes about, the sourer your disposition.

    Good luck with that.

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  7. Hey, there are going to be black children running around the white house.

    To many people, that's going to take a little getting used to, especially when their dad is Barack Hussein Obama.

    Don't you think?

    I mean really, do you think red neck (20%+ plus) of white America doesn't have issues with President Hussein?

    Don't you think about, say, 20% of the adult white and latino population is thinking they really are uncomfortable with a n*g*er in the white house?

    And they don't really want to embolden an already-threatening hip-hop culture that already stands threatening at their doorsteps?

    That's the reality - and to say that Obama's presidency is being overblown is to ignore the racism that still persists in our country.

    Tell me you don't have any relatives that use the N word. I have an entire side of my family that does, and has very terrible things to say about Obama and his family.

    And I know damn fucking well I am not alone.

    So, as you in Kansas, the land of Sam Brownback, Phil Kline, where the board of education thinks that the Flintstones resemble recent history(I'm not kidding), try to convince me an Obama presidency is no big deal, I say

    "Bullshit"

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  8. What exactly are your accomplishments Emaw that you can so easily dismiss what's such a historic achievement? I suppose in your mind anybody could've become president of the United States--let alone the first black president in the history of U.S. 3/4 of U.S. didn't even know who Obama was three years ago and now he's President of the United States. Time to get your head out your ass and stop underestimating this guy. He beat a Clinton. He beat McCain. He ran a perfect campaign. 2nd in his class at Harvard out of a class of 154. Great judgment and even temperament as far as I can tell. But hey, you've got a blog!

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  9. Doc,

    Not sure where you got the idea that I'm a McCain supporter. I suspect that you automatically think I support McCain because I haven't been slobbering all over Obama.

    But if you had bothered to read what I've written, I think you won't find any McCain endorsements.

    Your comment does support my contention that people in this country have been conditioned so much to think of politics as an "Us verses Them" spectator sport -- to become rabid, unthinking fans of their teams -- that matters of actual policy don't really matter.

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  10. Lodo,

    I'm not saying Obama's not a good politician. He obviously is.

    I haven't said he didn't run a good campaign. He ran a great campaign (it's tough not to when you spend over a billion dollars).

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  11. Now this is a kickass post.

    Seriously, pretty much the best post-election take I've read so far regarding the presidential race.

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  12. I believe my statement was to the effect of "you're so deep into the conservative wing you've lost sight of yourself."

    The fact is that McCain/Palin represented that political spectrum this election, hence the comparison; I am aware that one can vote based on misplaced ideology - 2000 and 2004 were perfect examples.

    "...slobbering all over Obama."?

    dood, seriously, if you thought my comment was "slobbering" then you don't get out much and certainly don't listen to GOP/conservative/right wing radio: they've done nothing but salivate over Bush for the last years.

    "unthinking fans"?

    again, that's what you read in my comment? then, as the bitter Iowan sage likes to say, you're doing it wrong.

    it's telling, of course, that you were incapable of refuting factual points of my comment. which leads one to suspect you know you're barely standing on a logical bog, or are simply employing kc's 'noted' patina blogger's 'style'.

    in either event, go ahead on and get down with your bad self; it is, after all, your own constitution that has to absorb the bile...

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  13. History was also made in voter turnout, and the Obama campaign in general was pretty revolutionary. Also, don't forget that this was a historic election that included not just a black man, but also a woman.

    I think it's odd that out of all the things you could make fun of people for saying on 11/4 or 11/5, you chose people calling it a historic day.

    It was. For everyone.

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  14. I'm amused by some the comments, especially those which conclude that somehow the world now thinks the U.S. is just swell post November 4. It reminds of Sally Field at the Academy Awards. In truth, countries like France, Russia, Iran, China and others will always be more concerned with their self-interest than playing "nice." If they like us now, it's because they think we've become a patsy. Witness Russia's conciliatory announcement of missiles in Baltic.

    As for change, I seem to recall an election in 2006 wherein the new congress promised to remove us from Iraq, which it could have easily accomplished by cutting off funding. You recall how that worked out.

    Cheers.

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  15. I should note, I didn't vote for McCain, BTW.

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  16. Great post. Well said.

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  17. I love this post as well. I alo like what MM had to say after the election.

    This isn't so much cynicism, folks. This is realism. Running on hopes and dreams and prayers will only get you (and Obama) so far. We need to live in reality now. And like emaw said, "If we want real improvement, we need to stop looking at national politics like it's a team sport or the latest season of Dancing with the Stars." We need to take responsibility ourselves for our place in local community and society as a whole, and not look to some type of political savior to fix shit that Washington tells us is broken.

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  18. @Doc,

    " I believe my statement was to the effect of "you're so deep into the conservative wing you've lost sight of yourself.""

    To continue your theme of semantic hair-splitting, you included the conditional clause "if you think any change would have occurred under a McCain/Palin administration"

    I don't and didn't. You again make my point by not grasping the fact that not everyone in the country buys into the two-sided, either/or political system that the parties are foisting upon us (although, unfortunately all too many do buy into it).

    The McCain administration would have been just as much of an un-change as the Obama administration will be.

    About the only advantage I can see in voting for McCain would be to ensure that no single party would control both the executive and legislative branches - but even that is an illusion with the "two" parties we currently have.
    --->

    "dood, seriously, if you thought my comment was "slobbering" then you don't get out much and certainly don't listen to GOP/conservative/right wing radio: they've done nothing but salivate over Bush for the last years."

    Your right, I don't listen to GOP/conservative/right wing radio. I prefer to think for myself. And I didn't mean to suggest that your comment was slobbering all over Obama, merely that you made judgments about my views based not on what I've written, but instead that I have failed to sing the praises of Obama like so many others.
    --->

    "...you were incapable of refuting factual points of my comment."

    The only fact I saw was that Obama has appointed Clinton-era insider Rahn Emanuel as his Chief of Staff. Recycling former Clinton staffers doesn't sound like change to me.

    You mention that with the new Congress, the Dems have a larger majority. But as R.Sherman pointed out, they've had a majority for two years and haven't done anything with it.

    Even if they do as you say they should, it's not a change it's politics as usual.

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  19. Faith,

    Thanks for the thoughts. But I do proudly admit to being cynical.

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  20. It is historic, for the obvious reasons. It is a big deal for the same reasons. That said, people are putting so much faith and such high expectations in Obama, he will surely fail to meet them. I still like to think he is at least, the most level headed, intelligent guy to come down the presidential pike in my life time.
    When the new wears off, I hope people will have more realistic expectations of him. But you can't really fault people for being excited and hopefull, without coming off as a douche. I had the audacity to say McCain was a decent guy and avoided gutter politics, and a couple of my readers liked it none to much. They went so far as to list everything they felt mcCain did that was so dirty, it just sounded like business as usual and no worse than the shit every presidential candidate shovels. The real ugliness in this election was from the average joe, not the candidates. I don't fault them for their enthusiasm, but they better lower their expectations or prepare to be greatly disappointed. He is coming in to office to one big fucked up mess, there is only so much he can get done in one term.

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  21. Emawck,

    Couldn't quite bring yourself to say Obama ran a great campaign without a qualifier, eh? Still can't quite choke out that difficult admission. And you keep saying that "Im not saying Obama isn't a great politician." No offense,but I don't see you saying that anywhere either. You're kind of like the guy who doesn't laugh at a comedian because "he's laughing on the inside." No offense, but thats not laughing. Guess what people, America's not in Kansas anymore--we've decided to re-join the world!

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  22. nothing like general meaningless phrase to help explain things."rejoin the world" wtf does that mean? what part of the world are you rejoining? are we the only country in the world with problems? are other countries' economies hopping while ours is in the crapper? will other countries sacrifice their own interest if we play nice? are you renowned world traveler who knows what he is talking about? notice how talking in slogans "inspires" people without really saying anything.

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  23. There are people out there who actually think "history has been made." Mature people, ostensibly rational people who should know better than to make decisions based on emotion. People who are old enough to have learned from the previous seven to 10 elections.


    Those of us who believe that history has been made (read: almost everyone except for you) didn't necessarily cast a vote for Barack Obama for emotional or demographic reasons. Since Bush's approval rating has been lower than 20% at times, at least 3 out of every 4 Americans have been ready for something new for several years already for any number of valid reasons. This was not the result of some new emotive swoon.

    Almost any of the Democrats who ran would have won my vote (and millions of others) over any of the Republican combinations who may have ran because the Democrats were rationally attempting to explain their better proposals to solve real-world problems which often required selling the people on some degree of change. Some or all of that change could have come from the Republicans, but that would have required them to be less stubborn and accountable enough to to admit that they were wrong or ineffective in the first place.

    Instead, the Bush administration convinced themselves that a 1% hunch that they may be right was as good as being 100% sure about something based on first-hand or credibly verifiable knowledge and actual proof. They (and McCain/Palin) railed against science. How can anyone expect us to lower our infant mortality rate, break our dependence on foreign oil, regain competitiveness in scientific and technological innovation, and prevent or minimize climate change without leaders who believe in and value science? The Republicans have advocated liberal consumption and destruction of the environment rather than conservation or fuel efficiency which has only furthered our dependence on foreign oil and increased the price of gasoline well beyond the pace of inflation. They sought to divide and conquer rather than to unite and progress together. They privatized war with no-bid contracts (not exactly in the spirit of capitalism nor fiscally conservative government spending) and added it to the largest public debt in history...after inheriting the largest surplus in history! Al-Qaida has been stronger than ever since the invasion of Iraq.

    Despite all of those reasons for change (and more), the Republicans were the ones still appealing to emotions in this election (since they probably didn't have any real solutions to their messes). They appealed to patriotism, greed (abolishing the IRS, changing the subject of a debate question to taxes, fictionalizing Samuel the Former Welfare Recpient into Joe the Plumber), McCarthyism, and the fear of the unknown. The Republicans even tried to scare people with religion when they ran Jeremiah Wright ads against Obama and "godless" ads in North Carolina against Elizabeth Dole's opponent plus any RNC campaigns against the world going to Hell if gay marriage was allowed. The anti-abortion/anti-gay/anti-science voters who have comprised the Republican base are and have always been 100% emotional voters because every rational person knows that any president, senator, or member of congress can directly legislate away all of those things (and even if such laws passed, women would cross borders while G/L/B/Ts and science continued to exist). If Republicans were rational voters, then they would not have awarded Reagan or Bush 43 a second term after running up the deficit.

    I agree that we should definitely learn from past presidents, too. Anyone who thinks that the economy is important should learn from past elections and vote Democratic, at least until the Republicans modernize and/or other parties offer competitive ideas which attract significant numbers of voters. According to this CNN poll, 85% of voters were worried about economic conditions. 54% of them voted for Obama; 44% voted for McCain.

    Not all of us have forgotten the hot topic of the 2000 campaign: Social Security solvency. 8 years later, we still have none. Thank goodness that Bush didn't get anything done in that regard, because everyone would have lost their retirement money in the recent stock market crash. A ginormous national debt is a real setback to that also.

    Obama's victory was historic for many reasons other than his race (which is also a major milestone). He wasn't favored to win the nomination. Hillary and Edwards had better name recognition. Hillary had more corporate money, and Edwards had the unions in his pocket. Obama raised the most funds ever, and about half of it was from individual contributions of $5-$200. The youth vote was greater than ever, and it strongly broke for Obama. He took less money from lobbyists than McCain, too. He ran the positive sort of campaign that many were too cynical to advocate. According to various polls, about 30% of voters considered his race at least a minor consideration, and about 1/3 of them (or 10% of the overall voter turnout) supported McCain entirely or primarily because Obama was not white. If one were to subtract that 10% from McCain's totals and add them to Obama's, then this would look like the landslide that it truly was.

    You seem to like baseball analogies, but you seem to have already forgotten that the Tampa Bay Rays were in the World Series this year despite the fact that they had never had a winning season in the relatively short history of their existence.

    You probably don't remember Jackie Robinson, but his debut in Major League Baseball was a big deal, too. All intelligent people agree that Jackie Robinson was a great player regardless of race. Despite his shortened MLB career, he reached Hall of Fame milestones. He was not only significant because of his race. He was also the first because he was extraordinarily talented enough to earn that opportunity. Ditto for Obama.

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  24. I think that people are looking to have ownership in their patriotism. I think people are looking for their place in history. That we're looking for legacies of our presidents - not in Iran contra affairs, slimy cigars, or Mission Accomplished signs. For my generation, we're looking for that iconic symbol of country - and we want to find that outside of terrorist attacks and Isolationist fear. In high school we'd study Kennedy when we had Bush and Clinton, we'd study Martin Luther King while we were given Jesse Jackson, we'd study Sandra Day O'Conner as we watched the Clarence Thomas trials. It's our turn - the country's time - to have someone like Barack Obama tell us that it's not too late, that we can be responsible for our own destiny, that America is not something to take for granted and not an idea to overlook. We have not had leadership in our lifetime, and if this guy is tricking us into believing that this is - that we are - a possibility - I'll take this little bit of disillusionment. For now, and if he proves to be less than extraordinary, so be it, we now know what we're looking for - and more people are looking for it. I don't know what it would take to give you hope, what in your life gives you joy beyond your family, but I hope for you and everyone else who is baffled and annoyed by enthusiasm and hope for our country, that you find it one day.

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  25. Hey MV:

    When your country represents 5% of the world's population but you use 35-40% of its resources, thats being a bad neighbor. When you invade another country under false pretenses and completely de-stabilize a region and its people, thats a bad neighbor. When you fail to properly regulate your banks and financial institutions so that you damage the economies and savings of the entire world, thats a bad neighbor. When the entire civilized world signs an environmental treaty and youre the only country who refuses, thats a bad neighbor. When you force the citizens of one of your largest, poorest cities to fend for themselves in the midst of the greatest environmental disaster simply because they don't represent your voting demographic, you come across as a bad neighbor. America voted for a President and Vice President who've been to more countries than Canada and Iraq. I've been to more countries than you've got fingers and toes--lots of Americans obviously have. Maybe you need to get out more.

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