Michael, in his blog Megaloi, just posted an entry that hit me as one of those "I wish I'd written that" moments. My first inclination, out of creative jealousy, was to stomp around and call him a bastard. (Bob Barbanes and I call each other that now and then; why should Michael be exempt?) Instead, I asked him if I could paste his essay here.
Politics. It's that time again in our country, and it seems every time I turn around I'm hearing someone ranting, pontificating or arguing about the upcoming Presidential election. I figured I should join in as well.
Don't worry. Gimme a shot here and see if this is different than the political opinions you usually come across.
If you're like me, then 95% of all political discussions you hear are simply attacks on the "other" side. Nobody ever seems to tell me why they like a candidate -- only how evil the other guy (or gal, while Hillary was in the game) obviously is.
I don't do that. It angers me, and is playing right into the hands of our modern media. They know that happy times and supporting storylines don't get the high ratings. If a TV station or website wants the big bucks, they need to break scandals and tap into the more bitter, impassioned instincts within us.
So I won't do any attacking here. No criticisms at all. I won't even tell you which candidate I like. I'm simply going to list all the ways I agree with what each side (Democrat/Republican) uses as common talking points. Here we go:
Republicans often say that our country is in pretty good shape, that we're the best country in the world and are not in need of massive overhaul. I agree. Our economy, civil rights and safety are higher than almost any other time in our nation's history. See this article by Gregg Easterbrook for more detail.
Democrats often say that it's time for change, and that our country needs to shift gears in some major areas. I agree. Our economy is showing some signs of real weakness and is far too dependent on foreign oil. Our lower/middle classes are far too represented in prisons and slums. Our resources are being stretched and extended across the world in a way we can't support long-term.
Republicans often say that Senator McCain has proven himself to be a seasoned and effective political leader, a man who can work across party lines to solve problems. I agree. His credentials are impressive and he seems to be a man of integrity and strength. He would probably serve us well as President.
Democrats often say that although Senator Obama's tenure in the Senate has been much shorter than McCain's, he also has an impressive resume. I agree. He has sponsored many very important bills and shown empathy and foresight in making some tough calls and votes.
Republicans often say that McCain can truly relate to mainstream America, and that he really gets it and cares when it comes to the worries of the individual. I agree. He genuinely seems to care about people, and I think that is a core part of what makes him an attractive candidate.
Democrats often say that Obama's eloquence and intelligence allow him to inspire great crowds of people, and that this kind of charisma would bring many benefits to our country. I agree. He is a powerfully effective speaker, and envisioning that type of person representing our country is an attractive thought.
This is the way I like to talk about politics. Focusing on whom I like, what I want to see, and where I'd wish our country to go.
I hear Democrats using the name "McSame" and berating the man for the occasional verbal slip, basically saying he's as smart as a bag of walnuts. C'mon now.
I hear Republicans using the name "Osama' and berating the man for his race and his popularity, basically saying he's the antichrist just waiting to emerge. C'mon now.
We can do better.
Let's start calling the bastards on it.