Wednesday, January 30, 2008

President Mitt Romney?

I mean, come ON. If our president's name is Mitt Romney, we've got some serious problems.

He also represents the second presidential candidate in recent history who bares a striking resemblance to Herman Munster.

But things were nonetheless steamy as the four Republican hopefuls sat down with Anderson Cooper for a rousing debate. The nation watched as all four candidates proved one resounding fact: they are all terrifying. Each one is worse than the next, to the point that I became so confident in an eventual democratic win that I switched over to the Syracuse vs. Depaul game, which was a real nail-biter. I caught about 20 minutes of the Republican debate, and it was like watching a John Carpenter flick.

McCain and Romney went at each other over how they WON'T be pulling troops out of Iraq, while Ron Paul showed his true colors - gray. I am astounded that this man has the raw audacity to run for president. At one point, he rattled off a nonplus speech that was intended to prove how the government should stay OUT of the economy, that the citizens should "be free". However, most citizens don't even know what an interest rate is! Somehow I doubt he's going to get the nod this year.

Huckabee took his turn to comment on how being a governor prepares you for being president, but made no statement on stealing Richard Nixon's trademark "satanic eyebrows". For the record, I agree with the "Huckster" - the best presidents do seem to come from governors, ignoring Bush and Reagan.

I can't recall who said some of these things, but all the candidates were generally agreed on a few key points:

1) We must keep the troops in Iraq...forever. God bless America!

2) Abortion is a bad idea. There should a constitutional amendment banning abortion.

3) We need to design a huge sack, made from the heartland's finest cotton. It should be roughly the size of Chicago. We need to put all the gay people in America in the sack, and shove it into the Pacific.

4) Ronald Reagan was the greatest man in history.

The crowd was eerily silent through almost the entire proceeding. I'm not sure if it was because the event was held at the Ronald Reagan library in L.A., or if they were falling asleep watching John McCain pass slowly into the black shadow of death, but there was literally no cheering and very little clapping as the candidates droned on.

I choose to take this as a good sign that most Republicans have heard the bell toll, and aren't too enthusiastic about their chances. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, never more than a few inches from Reagan's widower, looked glum.

And when you can't get Arnie going, you've really got problems.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Foreign Policy Under Mrs. President

There is a rumbling around the offices and water-coolers of America. Suddenly, people who have no prior knowledge of international affairs have become experts in foreign policy. They can tell you, with certainty, that the world is unprepared for a female American leader.

The general consensus is that we will receive less respect internationally and will become targets of further terrorist assault if we elect a female leader. There is also the concern that Hillary will rule "with her heart, not her head." According to the vast majority of the nation's leading boneheads and crumbums, the country will begin making its last swirls around the toilet bowl just as soon as Hillary takes her inaugural vows.

Nevermind that, if elected, Hillary could strike a vital and perhaps final blow for the ongoing women's equality movement, both domestically and abroad. But of course, we are all VERY aware of the upsides of having a woman president since it's been discussed for the past 150 years in this country. There have been no less than 58 female candidates for president, beginning in 1870, none of whom were viewed as legitimate until Mrs. Clinton.

Not surprisingly, America is behind the times in the area of female leadership as well. Many countries have been electing female officials for years; the Phillipines, Iceland, and Ireland, for example. Some have just begun, but are still far ahead of the U.S., who is still not "completely ready" to accept a woman as a leader, according to recent polls. Even Israel and India are ahead of America in regards to women as political leaders.

So why the denial? Upon what foundation are these "water-cooler" questions being asked?

I can understand how some people would believe that the United States would be weakened by having a female leader. In terms of the commonly accepted Muslim ideals, women are viewed as WEAK, and men are STRONG. The fear here is based upon two presuppositions:

1) All Muslims seek to destroy America.

2) All of America's enemies are practicing Muslims.

Obviously, both of these ideas are founded on layers of idiocy that have been buried under even more layers of bullshit, like a moron freezer that hasn't been defrosted in two millenniums.

Despite the fact that the single most popular Muslim leader of the last century was a woman, and that Golda Meir brought peace to Israel in the early 70's, most people will continue to assume that anything from the Middle-East or anything Muslim is evil. Of course, most people also don't know the difference between Israel, Iran, and Iraq. It's just a whole mess of evil over there!

Before this turns into the next crusade, let me state that all of the men who have previously won the presidency have seemed more qualified than their female counterparts, if only in support and moral backing. The country was, literally, not ready for a woman president until now. This is an interesting and multi-layered notion. Think for a moment, if the current administration would have done a GOOD job running the country, would we have had to postpone our gender-integrated election another four years? Another eight? Would the Republican ideals - the traditional "family values" ticket - have caused a relapse in progressive thought?

In any case, the time is here. I'm not encouraging a vote for Hillary, I just believe that the truth is important. And I say if people want to vote based on gender-bias, then they should own up to it, instead of hiding behind ignorance.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Tonight's debate brought to you by the Congressional Black Caucus..."

As the candidates mentioned so many times, the debate was held, coincidentally, on MLK day and was coincidentally sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus (who, coincidentally, have never sponsored a debate before), on the first Monday night, coincidentally, when there was no professional football to contend with.

Hello ratings!

But while the network was cashing in on the subversive racial context of the upcoming election, the candidates did an excellent job of showcasing their most non-Martin-Luther-King-y behavior by trying, as hard as they could, to prove that the other guy was a bigger liar than they were. There were rants, raves, shouting matches - at one point I half-expected Hillary to pick up her podium and start swinging, as Barack used poor John Edwards as a human shield against the dragon's fury.

What better way to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than to quibble back and forth for over an hour about the congressional voting history of each candidate? Meanwhile, the average voter is at home slouched into their couch with potato chip crumbs on their shirt, drinking a beer, and wondering what the hell is going on that a black man and a white woman are arguing at all. Few voters have ANY idea what they're talking about, that to discuss particular senate votes and previous positions on vague, incomprehensible bills is absolutely insane. At least 95% of Americans don't watch CSPAN, and would have no idea if anybody was telling the truth about anything.

Meanwhile, Edwards became the empathetic front-runner as he was all but ignored for a good 15 minutes while Hillary and Barack threw dung at each other. At certain points, it seemed that Edwards took the reins from a listless Wolf Blitzer, who attempted to mediate the "debate" (which turned into more and more of a lunchroom food-fight as the minutes ticked away). Edwards decried both Hil and Bar for their mud-slinging, while using the few seconds between their tirades to once again promote his "my-life's-work-is-ending-poverty" platform.

The issue of race was brought up for the first time also, to Obama, when he was asked (basically) if blacks should feel obligated to "vote black" in the upcoming election. Obama skilfully dodged the question, saying only "black people should do what's best for them, their families, and their country". A pearl-diver couldn't get more subversive. Way to go, Barack!

We did get to see a new, annoying side of Mr. Obama, who at one point, when discussing the enforcement of a certain policy, claimed to Edwards, "First of all, it will be ME enforcing this policy in a year, as president..." Well yes, sir! I'm not sure how this cockiness will play with the chimney-and-brickhouse families in the Northeast, but the South Carolinians ate it up. Do we need a cocky president? Isn't it about time we had a president with humility? Congratulations, Sen. Obama, you've just officially lost my vote.

And now for my final thought: I recognize that the goal of these elections is to WIN, not make friends, but when the debates turn into episodes of Jerry Springer, complete with crowds woo-wooing and fist-pumping, maybe politics have taken a turn for the worse. Politicians argue and pander, and that's the way it is, but nobody likes to see these enlightened, brilliant people dredge up voting histories and issue positions in order to injure the credibility of one another. Nobody wins in that kind of election.

Thank you, once again. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Racial Sensitivity and Your President

Today, I was fortunate enough to speak with a young woman who happened to be African-American. We began discussing the upcoming election, and she voiced her obvious bent toward Obama's campaign - understandable, certainly.

Then she raised a point which I have been espousing for months now, ever since I knew that an African-American would be running for president. I have heard very few people bring up this point, and I have NEVER heard it mentioned in the mainstream media. Each time I discuss the election with my friends, I make sure to bring this point up, because it is absolutely crucial.

If elected, Mr. Obama could very well be murdered.

I said YES! God, thank you for saying this! I've been saying this forever but nobody seems to have thought of it!

To which she replied Nobody WHITE thinks about it. All my black friends are already praying for him.

Can this possibly be true? Is it a "White" thing? Are there Caucasians who don't recognize the severe racial hatred that still lurks around the south, the "Heartland", even the Northeast? How can anyone NOT be afraid of this scenario playing out to the most grisly of conclusions?

The Ku Klux Klan still exists. Hate crimes are committed every day in America. There are god knows how many backwater hillbillies with pointy teeth, just drooling at the chance to kill a black president. We must all be sensitive to the plight of this poor man because, though you may not have realized the possibility of his imminent demise, you can bet your soft ass that he wakes up in a cold sweat at the slightest sound that crosses his eardrum in the dead of night. God only knows what demonic plans are being hatched for him at this very moment.

And let's not forget the first lady.

There are a good many twisted rednecks who would swear a blood oath to be buried alive with their confederate flags before they saw a WOMAN as the commander-in-chief of this country's armed forces. Though I must admit - an attempt on her life seems a bit more far fetched. It would take a new and special breed of monster to kill a fairly innocent woman and mother.

It may be comforting to some would-be assassins to know that Hillary's first-man will be none other than Playboy Bill; the original "President-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with". Certainly, her life is in less jeopardy than poor Barack's, especially when so many Americans seem to believe that Mr. Clinton will be running the country if Mrs. Clinton wins the election for him (ask around - it's true!).

There have been no less than sixteen attempts on presidents' lives since 1865, which comes out to a roughly 36% chance of an assassination attempt to begin with, not considering racial or gender hatred. Some presidents have been targets more than once (officially). Four of these attempts have been successful (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy). That gives you a fatality rate of 9.3%. Compare that to lumberjacks at around .12%, and fisherman at .07% (both per 100,000). Being president is EASILY the most dangerous job in America.

But don't let this affect how you vote...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Live from Vegas, It's Democracy Tonight!

Like most blue-blooded, cattle-chewing Americans, I came home from a long day in the hopeless world to find that there were life-altering events underway in the august state of Michigan.

So be it.

I went to the fridge and grabbed beer, cigarettes, went to the couch and made my fort. There were some pretzels on the table, so I started in, only to learn that after the election coverage there was to be an NBC News Special Presentation of the Las Vegas Democratic Debate! Well kiss my grits! More politics than you could shake a stick at! Upon hearing the announcement, I spewed a wide-arching crest of pretzel crumbs all over the living room floor, and began dancing and whooping on the couch like an autistic monkey on pharmaceutical-grade speed.

As the election day draws ever closer, I suspect that these "debates" will garner a larger and larger share of the ratings and will attract a wider audience than ever before. I don't think it's any coincidence that they were scheduled during a slow television night. The only real competition was the slowly crumbling empire that was once known as American Idol ("read "Idle). And with the writer's strike in full effect, you can bet your bottom dollar that the television gods have already undertaken a complete manifesto on the importance of election coverage.

It's a wonderful thing that people are more interested in politics. They should be. But of course, it does present the obvious catch-22 of illusion versus reality.

Seventy years ago, elections were covered via newsprint and radio, and the constituency was forced to vote based on the issues, not on the image. Now, we have a large portion of the populace who has been mobilized to action and who understands the necessity of making a choice, but has no basis on which to make their decision.

So, these debates have not only become the platform for the candidates to spread their message, but the platform for the physical advertisement of the image of "president". Each candidate understands COMPLETELY that their appearance will affect the outcome of the election just as much as their beliefs. As such, I have a few theories based on the evidence, far-fetched and otherwise:

1) During the debates, Barack Obama was seated on the far left, wearing a dark suit with a blue tie. A blue backdrop was behind him. Certainly, he is seated in the position that represents the MOST democratic of the three candidates.

He was certainly the calmest of the three candidates, and at times seemed the most decisive and least willing to engage in verbal combat. We can safely say that his position and costuming was commensurate with his politics.

2) Hillary was seated in the center - the female separating the two males. She was wearing a dark suit with a RED shirt. A blue backdrop was also behind her.

Why choose a red shirt? The two colors on everybody's minds are BLUE and RED. So why the confusion? Her shirt was just-visible-enough through the V of her blazer, and so there was a red separation between her head and body.

She was combative at times, but never offensive. She was quick to interject on multiple occasions, but stated her positions clearly. Perhaps we could say that she was slightly more Republican than Barack in a way?

No, we can't say that. It's ridiculous.

What we can say is that she obviously has some red on her body, for reasons unknown at this time.

3) Oh lord, John Edwards. Seated all the way to the right, wearing a dark suit, I can't remember the color of his tie. Keep in mind I'm doing this all from memory, as the pictures haven't come out yet.

But I can't remember the color of his tie. Perhaps because he was the only candidate with a BRIGHT RED backdrop behind him. And though I found him to be the "most Democratic" candidate tonight, he certainly acted like a Republican at times (and I mean this in a good way, if that's possible).

So, what am I saying here? Is one candidate trying to be more "Democrat" than any other? No. What I AM saying is that these candidates and their advisers (and tailors and agents) are very aware that there are former Republicans who are looking for a non-Republican to vote for. If wearing a red shirt or sitting in front of a red backdrop (which may or may not have been the work of Edwards' staff) will get you a few hundred more converts, then god dammit, do it! Let's get those reds!

You will notice I have made no mention of the real issues. To be honest, I only remember a very few of them - the economy, nuclear power, the war in Iraq. There was some conversation about race and gender, but I was busy thinking about RED and BLUE.

Think about it logically: how much of anything on television do you actually remember? Do you recall even half of last night's evening news?

Unless you are sitting in front of the television, watching the debates with pad and paper, you will mostly likely come away with only a vague understanding of where everyone stands, and will be left with a sour, empty taste in the back of your throat at that. No, all most people are really looking for is to see if their possible future president can handle themselves under fire. I think it's safe to say that everyone handled themselves well.

If I had to pick a winner, I would say that John Edwards came off as the most capable of the three. He handled himself well, got angry when he was supposed to and showed emotion when he was supposed to. He even interjected with some stories of his "rough" upbringing. You could almost see the mist of empathy floating up to the stage from his would-be yokel voters.

Also, I find myself recalling his smile vividly, and I'm getting a nudge from my subconscious that says "A smiling president is a good president".

And you thought they outlawed subliminal advertising.

Slow and Steady

Let's call it fate that I chose to begin this blog during the nascent stages of perhaps the most highly anticipated election in recent memory.

On this night: the Michigan primaries have come off and there is one undisputed fact that is emerging as law for this election year - the voters have absolutely no fucking idea who to vote for. In an ugly twist of fate, Mitt Romney has taken the Republican primary in his late father's gubernatorial "turf". Thanks dad!

Most of us only know "Mitt" for two things:

1) He looks like the father in "The Munsters".
2) He's a senator from Wyoming.

If you thought number 2 was actually true, don't worry - most of the country doesn't know the difference either. Romney's claim to fame is that he was once governor of Massachusetts. Yippee. Oh, and his dad owned Michigan. Thanks dad! McCain came in second with a very respectable showing, and somebody else came in third.

As for the Democrats, Hillary pulled out a commanding victory with a whopping 55% of the vote. She's finally flexing her muscle as the rightful heir to the female domination crown, and it has been widely rumored that Queen Elizabeth has already started asking Hil to Sunday tea. Way to go, Presidentress!

It should be mentioned, however, that neither Obama nor Edwards put their name on the ballot for Michigan, and that 40% of voters were termed "uncommitted". Statewide ads were run on behalf of both Obama and Edwards pleading for voters to cast for "uncommitted" (since the Michigan primary seems to have broken Democratic National Committee rules). I'm not going to explain the logistics of this strategy here, but let's just say that the state is basically a waste for Democrats. Meanwhile, Hillary's won her second state (theoretically) and John Edwards is an inch from being pushed out of the race. Thanks dad!

Well that's perfect. Just as we are all agreed that Republicans are BAD and Democrats are GOOD, and that we must unite to make the country better, the Democrats have basically trashed one of their major primaries. I know there are a lot more states but COME ON guys, let's at least show that we've got our shit together!

But honestly - there is a great and terrible fear that is hidden behind a thin veil of confidence in the apparent "evil" of the current administration. All logical peoples of the United States are counting on the formerly illogical peoples to make the proper choices this time around, despite any philosophical arguments of "right and wrong". All Democrats believe, in their heart of hearts, that there is a great number of Republicans who have converted since the previous electoral abortion.

The fear is that this is not only completely untrue, but that the few Republicans who were impacted by the idiocy of the last few years are actually on the fence, and that it wouldn't take much to push them back to the dark side. So when they see that most of Michigan's voters all voted for Hillary, and the rest are completely uncommitted to any candidate, it doesn't bode well for the conversion ratio. The Christian missionaries had it right, thousands of years ago. They all believed in the same thing, they all spoke at the same time, and they kept the savages in the dark.

For Starters...

After a considerable period of reluctance, the time has officially arrived for me to begin leaving my internet footprint.

And I was so against "MySpace". Ah well, at some point in all our lives we must come to terms with the sad fact that we are simply another lunatic in the crowd on the sidelines of the game of life. There are many players, all making things happen, all walking around with their faces hanging out and their big plans slowly coming to fruition, yet there are many more non-players, lunatics, and well-wishers that simply never understand the rules. I number in this latter group.

So this web log is a way for me, us, the common jerk to scream a little bit. I expect to cover a number of topics, most of which will seem directly important to the common man and will seem most decidedly ridiculous to the caviar-and-segway set. This blog will feature completely biased, opinion-based critique and commentary, with shades of fiction and journalism inter-weaved. Most of the journalistic topics (ie politics, world news) will have no actual research behind them, but will be infuriating yet entertaining op-ed pieces. Like all op-ed writing, mine will be used to categorically demonstrate how much better my opinion is than almost everyone else's (I will mention the few, if any, who have better opinions).

A little about me: I have been a professional writer for a number of years. I work mostly in creative writing, but have forayed into journalism on a number of occasions. If anyone wants to know my true identity, they are free to ask.

I find most journalists to be parasitic versions of blood-hounds, chasing stories and deadlines and publishers around like teenage boys chasing their own hard-ons into the girls locker room. They are ambulance-chasing vampires who catch the hot story on the way to the morgue. Now, I say MOST journalists are like this. Certainly, there are a few to the contrary...