It is with a heavy heart and great and crushing sorrow that I admit to you, dear reader, that I am, in fact, going to vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States. And before you go on shouting at me that the race hasn’t even yet been decided because the primaries and caucuses are still going… let’s be real for a moment.
The reason I do watch sports and don’t watch politics is because the outcomes are not predictable in sports – there are great comebacks and amazing upsets. Not so in politics. And don’t go waxing on to me about Dewey over Truman in ’48. For God’s sake, gas cost twenty six cents a gallon and there were only twenty seven television channels back then. Times have changed, wake up and smell the iPhone. There are no modern political upsets – perhaps a few hiccups, but nowadays a little momentum means a nomination and a little more means a seat in the White House. Like it or not, for the most part, we’re a nation of followers, being spoon-fed leadership through that little high-definition light box in our living rooms. And so it goes, it’s going to be Obama against McCain, and in the immortal words of Michael Buffer: “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
It’s not like I hold it against the Democrats. I don’t. I mean Hillary is about as electable as a slab of rotted goat cheese when you get right down to it, and upon close examination, probably slightly less palatable, too. She’s about as pleasant as a sandpaper luge run without the sled. I think everyone I know can look at her and associate her with at least one horrible, harsh older woman in their lives. And it’s not like we don’t all have some older women in our lives that we adore. I mean, who doesn’t have a favorite grandmother. But there was always that librarian, or the lady at the DMV counter or the boss’ wife that we all consciously thought to ourselves, I really hope I don’t have to talk with her for long, she’s horrible… and that’s Hillary Clinton to me. All of that notwithstanding the national shame of having Bill Clinton as the nation’s inaugural “First Gentleman” in the White House. With that kind of material, even I could host the Tonight Show for four years. No, the Democrats finally got it right and they’ve nominated a winner.
And what’s worse, as if being a registered Republican since I was eighteen isn’t enough grounds for betrayal, I’m also a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, which makes me a Benedict Arnold two times over. The idea that we would have had two Presidents from our little “boat school” in Maryland, fills me with pride for my alma mater. But I can’t. I can’t vote for John McCain… not for President. He can run for anything else and I’ll vote for him; early and often. But not this, not now. There is too much to fix, too much change needed, too many things to overlook.
I’m mostly just tired; tired of trying to defend a war that we’ve been bungling for years, tired of failed global policy, tired of the shamelessness of an administration. I’m the kind of Republican that would reanimate Ronald Reagan and put him in office tomorrow if we had the technology – there will never be another president as great as him (I bet that will stir up some comments, woo hoo!). But I’m certainly not a religious man, and think the “700 Club” should be something having to do with baseball and home runs. I’m not a part of the “religious right” in any way, and find them mostly abhorrent and stupid. No, I’m what I like to call a “fiscal Republican” although they have lots of other nifty names for us: Neo-Conservatives, Moderate Conservatives, Campus Republicans, etc. But those buzzwords don’t really tell the story. I’m a Republican because I want to keep as much of my money as possible – because, well, I earned it and you didn’t. Sorry if that makes me sound like an ass – but it’s as bluntly as I can put it. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I won’t give you some if you need it, but I don’t want someone else to tell me if you need it or not, or whether or not I have to give it. If I want to spend my money on universal health care or welfare, I’ll let you know. But since, under this Republican administration, we’ve so far spent $495 billion dollars on a war that we can’t seem to stop fighting , $2 billion dollars on a fence between the U.S. and Mexico that we can’t seem to actually build, and hundreds of millions of dollars on a secondary public education system that proudly turned out Ms. Teen South Carolina, it looks like my GOP buddies are now bent on taking my money, too. Great. With my only reason for overlooking my party’s (and its nominee’s) insane social positions gone – it looks like I’m officially crossing the aisle this election. (Deep breath)
Let me be clear: John McCain is an American Hero; the real thing. Not only was he onboard the USS Forrestal when it caught fire (the worst in Navy history) and survived, but also was shot down and captured while flying over Vietnam, and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war – including unimaginable bouts of torture and interrogation. He never broke during that ordeal, and came back to a less-than-grateful nation. Still, he believed in the system enough to get into politics – and for that he deserves our profound respect. If I hear someone trying to discount this part of Mr. McCain’s legacy, I will likely beat them to death with the nearest set of salad spoons. No, seriously, I’ll do it. He deserves better. But, besides being a hero, he’s also an old man – and his social views are simply outdated.
First off, he’s Pro-Life and that’s always been the most difficult thing for me to overlook in any GOP candidate – he’s not equivocal on this one, he explicitly wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, which, to my mind, would be the greatest judicial tragedy this country has ever seen.
Second, he wants to seal off the Mexican border. Seriously, this is the dumbest thing to spend money on since pet rocks. You’re never going to seal that border, and it’s stupid to even try… look what happened to the Great Wall of China… good idea? Okay, that’s a bad analogy, I know. But again, I’m tired of my keep-your-own-money Republicans spending what I give them on this kind of nonsense. How about subsidizing the mortgage industry or alternate fuels? Here’s what I don’t want: I don’t want a condo in Burbank to cost $750,000 for two bedrooms and one bath, and I don’t want to pay four dollars a gallon to drive my car in the nation’s worst traffic. You know what the $30 billion dollar fence could be traded for? A real subway in L.A. That’s right… one that could eliminate a traffic problem that costs millions of dollars a day in lost productivity. How much money is that “fence” going to save us?
Third, he’s against gay marriage and wants a Constitutional amendment to that end. Really? Are straight marriages so kick-ass that we can’t give someone else a go at it? The divorce rate is at 50% right now, and they don’t count California (who doesn’t keep count of their divorces – clearly to avoid the shame)! Just leave this alone – if we need an amendment to our Constitution it should be something that closes up that big loophole allowing the Commander-in-Chief to conduct a war for five years without getting a Congressional declaration.
Fourth, he’s for the war continuing on to our “victory for lasting change” in Iraq. Enough already. We need to leave. Now. I’ve tried to defend this mess as long as I can remember – trying to leave the tactical and strategic decisions to those most qualified to make them – but I’m afraid those folks aren’t really deciding anything anymore, and now we’re just trying to save face for the President’s “legacy” at the expense of American lives. I’m tired of looking for classmates in the obituaries section of my alumni magazine. We lost, so what? Lesson learned, and we won’t lose like that again. Do we really need to be undefeated to be the best? Ask the New England Patriots how that worked out for them. Hey, maybe we can have a joint resolution admitting defeat in Iraq and Vietnam. It’s catharsis for everyone!
Finally, he’s against gun control and stem cell research – the last bastion for the paranoid and under-informed. I can almost hear the banjos. School shootings and deadly cancer for decades to come – but hey, at least we’ve still got the church. Come on – we can do better than that!
Listen, I love his economic plans, I do. But I just can’t overlook the rest of this nonsense. I can’t. And for what it’s worth, it’s not as though an Obama presidency will empty every GOP office in D.C. – last time I looked it will only clear out one. There will be enough Republicans left to make sure that I don’t send all my money into the Treasury, because despite what they may say, that’s always been their first priority anyway. It’s the one issue where we really have common objectives and aligned personal incentives. I have to believe they’ll protect their own wallets – and end up protecting mine in the process. Besides, President Obama will have a lot more on his to-do list above “tax reform” – and if he ever does get to it, it’s not like the road to taxing the rich won’t be an exceptionally bumpy one. In short, I’ll take my chances – especially considering all I expect to gain.
Do I know where Mr. Obama stands on all of the above? No, I don’t. And I’m not going to look it up, either. I don’t really care. I’ve simply had enough of the Republicans, present and proposed – and this time I’m speaking up with my vote.
As for changing parties, let’s not get ahead of ourselves… you Democrats still came this close to trying to put another Clinton in office, and your consensus answer to attempting to nix the G.W. Bush Presidency halfway through was John Kerry… I think I’ll keep my “trunk” for now.