Today, November 4th is the big General Election in the United States.
Last week I mailed in my absentee ballot and voted for Barack Obama for president.
While it’s always a bit difficult for me to vote for one of the two dominant parties (whose incompetence, lack of principle or outright corruption got us in this mess in the first place) I just can’t support any of our current third-party options. All the third-party candidates I’ve seen so far are scumbags, crackpots or extremists on the Lunatic Fringe who I don’t want near the White House, because most of their ideas are incredibly dangerous to the general welfare.
Instead of third-parties, I strongly support this concept: we sane, common sense people must HIJACK both parties and rebuild the system.
Rebuild the system!! Our infrastructure is shamefully decrepit. If you look at infrastructure and train stations in Germany and compare to ones here, you may mistakenly think the Germans won WWII. The people are willing to pay to modernize this country. Americans want to nation-build, but we don’t want to nation-build in Iraq on the other side of the globe anymore, we want to nation-build IN AMERICA. How about giving all the poor people a job rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure? I’ve met very few Americans who want a handout. Most want a good job where they can actually contribute. Let’s create jobs repairing it, and building the transportation network of the future (MagLev anyone?)
Rebuild the system!! For example, a good way to fix the health care crisis would be for a strong supporter of consumer choice and a dogged opponent of profiteering middle-men to take over at Department of HHS and spearhead a total redesign of the system with COMMON SENSE reforms.
Can Obama hijack the party and get stuff done? I’ll be pressuring him as much as I can to start. Amputating both the Clinton and Bush platforms from our politics is a very important first step, and I will give no quarter until I see a full exorcism of those dangerous old ideas.
I’m afraid of old, failed policies hanging around and sapping our country’s strength further. Pro-war “conservatives” do not support the amount of sacrifice required to make their foreign policy plans financially feasible (instead they fight tooth and nail against paying the tab they ran up) which will doom this country to insolvency. They want a grandiose foreign policy, but don’t want to pay for it.
Wars are very expensive, always have been, and always will be. War debt has driven numerous nations to economic collapse (ask the Russians about the Soviet-Afghan war). Read David McCullough’s books on early U.S. history, they make it clear how serious war debt can be. After the Revolutionary War, the United States government had to seize people’s houses to pay off the war debt, which led to armed revolt in Massachusetts. I wish pro-war advocates realized just how financially untenable their “two land wars in Asia plus no paying the tab” policies are. This can ruin your child’s quality of life, they’ll be the ones forced to pay up. Eventually. you’ve got to pay the piper.
My biggest problem with John McCain the neo-cons isn’t that their “Team America: World Police”-style foreign policy is immoral and doomed to failure (though this is close second).
My biggest problem is that they won’t pay for it, and I’m very worried that in 5, 10, 15 years when we must choose either to gut Medicare and Medicaid or not make good on our interest payments to China and risk an international incident, America’s (and my) quality of life will be ruined. It’s WRONG, deeply unfair to put your fellow Americans in that position. I don’t want to be punished for policies I hate and never supported (of course, upcoming administrations will be blamed because the Republicans wouldn’t pay the piper, and that’s unfair too).
Check out this great case study of the Missouri battleground in TIME Magazine. It seems the heartland is hurting, and hurting badly economically, and for pretty much everyone interviewed for this story, that’s meant a tidal wave of emotion against the Republican brand, and support for Obama (even among former Bush voters). After reading articles like this one, you can almost feel a 1932-style landslide afoot.
But this election is just the beginning of the battle. It will take extraordinary pressure, people DEMANDING real change, for any meaningful reforms to get past Congress, and it will be especially difficult with the next president hemmed in by events, but it can happen. I believe.
But Americans can’t just poke a voting booth, then go back to loafing on the couch and expect the government to fix itself. It won’t work that way.