Politics

I’ve always seen myself as a fair-minded, willing to listen to both sides of the story sort of person when it comes to politics. I’m a registered independent, but, in truth, I’m actually a die-hard, liberal, bleeding heart who has a hard time even reading news stories that discuss the Republican party line. I haven’t watched the RN convention because I know I’ll be cursing like a sailor at every thing they say. Even this morning, when my husband said there are probably a lot of women who can relate to Sarah Palin, my response was “So fuckin’ what? That doesn’t mean she’s ready to be president.” (I should have said vice president, but I have the worse case scenario in my mind). I have nothing against Sarah Palin or John McCain or any other Republican politician. I’m a firm believer in biparitisan politics, and I realize the only way to push certain legislation forward is to compromise when necessary. The fact that Palin’s unmarried daughter is pregnant isn’t a big deal to me, but because Palin is a conservative, and I find conservatives to be incredibly self-righteous about their religious credentials (which tend to include a strong stance in favor of abstinence), and most work against organizations like Planned Parenthood (it could have done some good here), then the fact that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant becomes an issue (so she’s going to marry her boyfriend…I’m sure they’ll live happily ever after).

I feel strongly about this election, and I tell my husband that wherever we move to, we need to get involved at the street level, and be out in our sandwich boards, waving to cars and collecting donations, and convincing people why they should vote for Obama. But then I think about the person like me on the Republican side. Nothing I say is going to convince someone who agrees with the Republican ideology to vote differently. Just like nothing anyone says is going to convince me to vote for McCain—it has nothing to do with McCain and everything to do with the fact that I disagree with the party’s ideology. And those who are undecided will probably have key issues that will determine who they’re voting for. If they are anti-women’s rights, they’ll vote for McCain. If they are anti-affordable healthcare, they’ll vote for McCain, etc. etc. So then the act of knocking on doors and trying to convince people to see things my way seems futile, because I know no one is going to convince me to see things their way when it comes to the Republican ticket. Outside of throwing every spare dollar Obama’s way, what else is there to do? Am I being too cynical?

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2 thoughts on “Politics

  1. Perhaps you should have observed the RNC convention for that which you are saying follows that which is being said at the convention. Oh my god I’ve become a Republican (Not Yet), but on the other hand the democratic Party does not practise bi partisan politics.The Republican party(s) foray into bi partisan politics has been substantially increased with the concept that we are one as Americans and it takes the philosophy and ideals of all to make one functioning and incoruptuble government.

  2. I actually have been watching the Republican convention, which has been hard since I no longer drink during the week.

    You wrote: “Nothing I say is going to convince someone who agrees with the Republican ideology to vote differently. Just like nothing anyone says is going to convince me to vote for McCain—it has nothing to do with McCain and everything to do with the fact that I disagree with the party’s ideology.” There’s truth to this, of course, but it seems to me that the reason people like you, or me, or other people we know vote the way we do is because we are aware of those ideological differences. We’ve done the research, or people have talked to us about political issues. We’ve made up our own minds.

    I don’t think the people who were dazzled by Sarah Palin’s speech last night have put that kind of effort into it. Frankly, she said nothing new– McCain was a POW, we love the troops, Washington needs a wake-up call, blah blah blah. The only time she came close to discussing policy, she was lying (claiming to have opposed the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” for example). Nevertheless, the general consensus among her ideological supporters seems to be “she nailed it,” despite the fact that she did absolutely nothing to communicate new ideas or reasons to vote for her if you’re still undecided.

    All this is to say that I think it’s important that we bleeding heart liberals do the kind of street level activism you’re talking about, because it’s kind of an important part of our own philosophy. Liberalism isn’t a country club; we’re not exclusive. We know that effective rhetoric is rhetoric that persuades (like Obama’s and Biden’s), not rhetoric that reaffirms prejudices and fears (like McCain’s and Palin’s). Let the Republicans have their smarmy sarcasm (“Flip-flop!” “What the fuck is a community organizer?”)– we have reason, manners, good looks, dancing ability, and R.E.M. With these tools, in fact, I think we can persuade people. Not the die-hard, “I got a poster of Ann Coulter in my living room” types– they can’t be reasoned with, as their brains are made out of cow shit. But the independent voter, the undecided who just knows that Obama seems charming but McCain seems brave– those are the ones who can– and should– be persuaded to vote for the intelligent and ethical candidate with the actual ideas for this country.

    Hope all is well with you.

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