17 September 2008

McCain, Palin, Opportunism, and Democracy

Until recently, I wasn't paying much attention to the upcoming presidential election. I've become increasingly more cynical about the state of democracy and liberty in the United States, and remain unconvinced that either candidate can or will turn things around. I wasn't even sure who I was going to vote for, since until recently I couldn't honestly support one candidate over the other. I was thinking of writing in Mike Gravel, myself, or Marcus Aurelius. But recent events have compelled me to make a decision, and I'll probably be enabling the two-party system again this November.

Until recently, I was pretty much OK with John McCain. He was far from ideal, but considering what the Republican party gives us to work with, he looked like a bastion of integrity, civility, and reasonableness by comparison. I wouldn't mind if he lost to Obama, but my world wouldn't fall apart if he became the president. It's not as if I'm entirely comfortable with the idea of Obama being president, either. As said, until recently I was pretty much "eh" on the election. When it came to my decision of whether I should vote my conscious (Marcus Aurelius) or vote for Obama came down to one question: how far will McCain go to appease the religious right -- the supporters of Pat Robertson, the happily late Jerry Falwell, and the rest of that gang who decry every scientific advance since Galileo as "Satanic" and who think homosexuals are demon-possessed?

In recent decades, this group has become a political force to be reckoned with. As a result of decades of pandering to this group of uninformed peasants, it is now impossible to be elected without payng lip-service to the state god. This situation is a violation of Article VI of the Constitution, but who cares about that quaint little document? I realized that if McCain wanted to be elected, he had to pander to this group. I know that referring to these people as uninformed peasants sounds snobbish and elitist, and it is -- and with good reason. I want my broken bones set by doctors who know what they're doing; I want criminals pursued by police officers who know what they're doing; and I want my laws passed by people who know what they're doing -- and I do not think for one moment that people who think the Earth is six thousand years old can be trusted to choose the people who will deliberate on education standards. These people believe sickness and homosexuality are the result of demonic forces and they want to elect people who are in charge of health and medicine? Call me elitist if you will, but I do not want my politicians elected by people whose political opinions are solely informed by commercial television. Yet I see no solution to this problem, which is the reason I've become so cynical about the future of liberty and democracy: its fate is to be decided by mass hysteria.

You can see now why I was apathetic when it came to the election and why my only concern was with John McCain's relationship to the religious right, these lovable peasants whose fathers stopped the Freedom Riders and set their buses on fire and who think that the hypothetical Creator of the universe, with its billions of stars and solar systems, cares about the welfare of a political abstraction on one small continent of one small planet in a backwater galaxy -- and cares about it because It wants worship. Not only are these people wrong, they're insufferably arrogant. To think that Deity would care about the worship of primates!

So a week or so ago, John McCain answered my question and in so doing made an enemy out of me. I don't like being McCain's enemy, but I have no choice. He chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate, and in so doing told me how far he'll go: he will happily bend over and take it in the bum from Ted Haggard. That's how far he'll go. Sarah Palin is inexperienced, and is sure to alienate half the nation and all of the world -- but McCain wants to ensure his victory, so he'll risk her becoming President to get himself elected. It doesn't bother me that he's being a cynical opportunist -- that's American "democracy". Reagan made his bones by being a witch-hunter, after all. What bothers me is that he's so brazen about it. Other cynical politicians at least try to HIDE their opportunism. This guy is brazen about it. His contempt for the American people and reality is impressively massive. What is he going to next? Start flinging Mexican immigrants into "internment camps" to await deportation? What will McCain do to stay in power? I don't want to learn the answer. If he wins, I do not see good things in store for the future of human rights, informed democracy, and liberty -- those liberal values his party despises so much.


Neurovore said...

Excellent post. I think the final nail in the coffin for me was when McCain embraced President Bush in a hug. I know that back in the 2000 elections president McCain was decrying the neocons now he is practically their bitch. After all, he agrees with the president 90% of the time on over two hundred seperate issues.

I am a bit wary of the Obama campaign because he passed the FISA bill. However, compared to having a carbon copy of "Dubya" for four more years anything would be an improvement. Plus. there is also the very real possibility that McCain would die in office from health related issues because of his age. This would make Sara Palin the president for the remainder of the presidential term. That would be enough to give any sane person nightmares for weeks on end.

smellincoffee said...

Our doubts about Obama began at the same time, then. His support for the Great Wall of America didn't help, nor does his continual support of faith-based initiatives and his lack of support for nuclear power. Better he than Palin, though.