First Debate and False Equivalence

The first Presidential debate was aimed at a specific group of people. Whoever has already decided their vote, this wasn’t for you. Nothing either candidate said or did would have swayed you away from your choice made after the primaries. There’s a solid core of folks for each camp that can’t bring themselves to switch.

I watched tonight to see if Clinton could show a contrast to Trump, a clear contrast between smart, capable, rational, to pessimistic, ignorant, and ill-tempered. I want this difference as obvious as night and day. It’s the difference between stability and impulsive amorality.

Trump is a man who cannot complete a cohesive sentence. Great extemporaneous speakers can at least put together harmonious thoughts. Trump has trouble with this, particularly if he’s already ignorant of the subject matter and getting flustered. He does a trick where he sort of trails off and lets the audience fill in the blanks how they like and then applaud for him. It was telling tonight when he didn’t elicit those audience reactions that he was floundering.

This debate’s contrast was for my dear undecided, independent, third-party-leaning friends who need it most:

Please stop trying to shoot the moon. I know full well how sick everyone is of voting for the lesser of two evils. But putting your vote to a candidate or party so far outside the bounds of potential victory is taking your voice away to stop the greater of two evils.

#PlayHeartsNotWar

In all clarity: this is an election between a life-long policy wonk of a politician and lying, mysogynistic reality TV show personality. One candidate understands the intricate web of connecting politics, economics, and military strategies that interweave our complex world, and the other stays willfully ignorant and is only looking out for his monetary advantages.

You can dislike Clinton’s policies, but she has them. You can bring advice, compromise, options to her and she will listen. Being the opposition party in Congress to a Clinton White House can be your voice of dissent.

To my Republican friends, the ones who cannot conceive of voting for Clinton at the top of the ticket, you’re welcome to abstain. Vote for Senate on down and avoid claiming Clinton is the better candidate for President if you must.

But to my young, independent, ruckus-loving friends: do not throw your voice away for spite. Please do not see Clinton and Trump as cut from the same cloth. You may not like the status quo, but the status quo is at least stable. Electing someone beholden to no party, prone to vindictive spats, praising authoritarian leaders (you do know autocracies are far worse for freedom than democratic republics, right?), and willfully ignorant of how large economies work, is legitimately dangerous to us and everyone else. We’re too large of an economy and military to be operating at the whims of someone who would prefer checks and balances be beholden to his golden name.

If you think that the onerousness of our military and bureaucracy would stop him, there’s a point where disobedience becomes a mutiny and a coup. This would permanently damage the bedrock of our great republic.

To be perfectly clear: your third-party candidate cannot win. And nor should they. A third party should start smaller, grow more organically, and build an infrastructure, get a few state houses and congressional seats in their camp. Republican and Democrat candidates both start getting intelligence briefs and start building their cabinets and policy papers at least the summer before election day so they can be best prepared for the massive task of running the United States government. Without starting smaller, building a base infrastructure for governance of maybe a couple states first, I don’t think it safe to put that on the world stage against a Congress with no allies.

All presidential candidates speak big about what they will do in office, but it’s an office of limited scope and power. Without any other elected officials backing them, without walking into the office backed by institutional knowledge, it’s a weak position for domestic affairs and a dangerous one for international affairs.

The current election can only be won by one of two people. One person has never held public offic, has revealed massive dark underpinnings of American culture, has caused a schism in the party that nominated him, has shown petty vindictive mood swings, and has made a complete and conscious refusal to advance and learn anything for the massive responsibility of representing our replublic. But at least he elicits feelings.

The other has a long career in politics with the trail of dirt and deals that follow it, has been in the national spotlight so long that every opinion shift can be seen, comes off as calculated and robotic in giving speeches. But at least she knows policy and international relations inside and out. Those policies may be awful to you, but the stability of the United States government and its relations around the world will not be at risk. All the unknowns that a Trump presidency might bring aren’t worth that risk.

Those are the two options. If you vote other than those two, you’ve thrown your hat in with risking our stability and standing in the world. You’ll be voting for the greater of two evils.

We Did It…

Catching up with the primary results from last night, it appears we did it.  Obama held a nearly 15 point lead in North Carolina and crushed the Clintons’ lead in Indiana to a mere 2.  Delegate-wise, Obama netted 12 more over the Clintons, so once again the math is increasingly against them.
And then there is the popular turnout.  In Lake County, Indiana, outside of Chicago, there was a 95% voter turnout.  I have never heard of such a number.  People were saying the norm is around 20-25%.  Obama helped draw out nearly every single registered voter.  That is what this man brings to the table.  It is incredible, and I am happy to be a witness to it.

I do not know when I was thinking, which is odd as it is such a rare occurrence these days.  I am sure it was while taking a shower.  Good thinking happens in the shower.

Anyway, I was thinking about this election and my kids.  My son is heading right into five, my daughter is less than two months old.  When I was born, Ronald Reagan was President.  My first understanding of politics was when I was six, I think.  I have a vague recollection of being in first grade and gathering that our President was George Bush (now the first).  So that would have been about in 1989.

Back to my kids.  I don’t mention to my son that there is an election underway, a big one, probably because I don’t want to have to explain Bush II to him.  I am just going with the assumption that Obama is elected President (with 90% turnout and 70% of the vote, of course).  By the time my daughter becomes politically aware, Obama’s second term could be wrapping up.  My son would not yet have a memory of a white man being President.

How cool is that?

Almost as cool as this quote.

There Will Be Sex For Money…

If I hear one more thing about the Governor of New York’s little scandal, there will be violence.
I don’t care.

I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.

It is entirely Mr Spitzer’s affair (pun entirely intended).  It affects him and his family.  But he’s just another wealthy, relatively powerful person paying for high-priced sex workers.  It barely has any bearing on the state of New York, and it certainly means nothing to me out here in Minnesota.  I’d rather hear about the ice melting and people crazy enough to wear shorts and t-shirts in 40-degree weather.

It’s nonsense and drivel.  There are so many other things on the line in the world, this is a distraction.  Good golly, we’re still fighting an unjust, colonialist war that we started.  A colonialist war!  How about the biggest, most idiotic, most anti-American thing to do, and it’s been FIVE YEARS.  We are the original anti-colonialists.  We sparked it all.  Between ourselves in the New World and the French in the Old, we set the world on fire.  Why aren’t we spending our time discussing this!?

So nuts to this guy.  He resigned; good for New York.  It still means nothing to me.

As for prostitution, my thoughts are that there will be no way to stop the world’s oldest profession.  And frankly, having it legal or at least swept under the table, is fine.  To me, it beats the shit out of rape.

Categorize Me…

For a long time, I have held the view that the American political system was never intended to have parties.  While all legislative maneuvers boil down to a yea or nay vote, each legislator would represent their constituents and vote in whatever direction they feel will benefit them.  The very concept that a land of three hundred million people, or for that matter, a group of three or more, can fall into one of two camps has always been sheer nonsense to me.
I have always felt apart from the two major political parties of the United States.  The things I believed in would toss me across both sides of the aisle.  So what to do?  When the time came, I did not register with any party.  I was always planning to vote for the person I saw fit for any given office, as I think it should be.

Sparked by an article I read about Generation X (of which I am at the very tail end, I think), and having always had these ideas in the back of my mind, I started listing out my own political beliefs.  Now, most feelings I have on these points are fluid, and it depends on how the world turns for me to retain or change my ideas.  Basically, I’ll I’m saying is that these ideas are far from permanent, and hardly fully explained to their greatest detail.

The list is just after the jump.

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Postscript…

The next person I see saying they choose Hillary Clinton because of her experience is going to get slapped.  She has nearly no experience.  She was a President’s wife, and through that unelected position, failed to push through health care reform.  Then she was elected to be a Senator for a state she never lived in by the sake of her name recognition alone.  That’s not experience; that’s riding coattails.

Choosing Priorities…

Tomorrow, I cannot caucus.  I cannot join the Democratic caucus and vote for Barack Obama because I have my first Master’s class of the semester that night.
I am completely torn.  I know my personal future is of higher priority, particularly when it is now just my own life than relies on it.  But I cannot help but feel that participating in the caucus, finally having a chance to fight against the criminal powers that be (or would be).

Here is my call: I need someone to go in my stead.  It does not even have to be in Minnesota.  In fact, I would take five Californians over my one Minnesotan vote any day.  Who will go to a caucus or primary and vote for Mr Obama over Ms Clinton?  Who will do this for me, and pick moving into the future over reminiscing over the past?

Help me.  Help us all.

Working Out The Differences…

Here is my response to an English friend’s email asking me what the heck was going on over here.  Sometimes I still don’t quite understand it.

All the hubbub out here is for the primary elections.  We haven’t even gotten to the actual Presidential race where our voting would count toward specifically selecting the President.

The process in Britain’s Parliament, indeed much of Britain’s political processes can draw parallels with the US Congress.  If I’m remembering correctly, when Parliament picks the Prime Minister (and the opposition leader), it’s an internal party debate among Members of Parliament and out of that mass emerges their respective leaders.  In Congress, the same process goes on for picking the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader (For the House of Representatives half), and the same for picking Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate.

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I Can’t Take It…

And neither can she.  I’m saddened enough by Mr Obama’s loss to that awful Ms Clinton in the New Hampshire primaries.  But to think the scale was tipped by this makes me irate.  At least if the loss strengthens Mr Obama’s abilities to keep trucking through this nonsense all the way to the White House, I’m for it.
I can’t take the hubbub about this.  As much as I love listening to NPR on my drive to and from work, I just cursed and changed the station when they were interviewing the lady who asked the question that apparently ‘brought on the waterworks’.  It was an absurd question.  As phrased this afternoon on the radio, the question was essentially, ‘How do you do it?  How do you stay so wonderful?’

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