The American people are fed up. Weeks away from electing the 44th president of the United States, many are seething with anger. And the culprit is not a particular party, not a particular event.
The culprit is the cumulative burden of a) rising ‘working poverty’ even among college educated professionals, b) depressed wages, c) health care that is too expensive, d) a deteriorating infrastructure, e) an unpopular foreign war in Iraq, f) the falling value of the dollar, and g) finally, a political leadership mired with embarrassing mediocrity and a government that is not working.
And now we face a catastrophic financial meltdown that we are being told will impact our lives for decades to come, and that it can only be fixed by buying Wall Street trash with $700,000,000,000 of our hard-earned money now, now, now!!! As a result, on September 25, 2008, thousands of Americans went to the streets in protest.
“People all over the country are up in arms about this,” says David Elliot, a spokesman for the grassroots advocacy group, UsAction. One estimate finds that there were 251 separate protest events in more than 41 states to protest the bailout. It was difficult to find news coverage of this Day of Protest. Despite this, know that it happened, and the anger that drove it will not be swept under the rug the same way this news apparently was.
If I know my political parties well, this public anger will be used, manipulated, exploited to pave the road to the White House. Knowing this, expecting this, it is wise to use this anger to focus our mind, to sharpen our decision-making skill, to cut the BS that clouds our choices.
The way I see it, the upcoming election is our national wedding day, and we must wisely choose our groom.
Will it be McCain? Or will it be Obama? Time is ticking and we can’t afford to quibble about finding true love, because we have relatives in the rear demanding a proper match, and they are angry at our choices. We know both grooms-to-be will ultimately disappoint us; after all, politicians are all the same.
No use to be paralyzed with indecision; we just need to focus on who will provide a better future for our kids, and answer key questions: Who will be more responsible? Who will truly care about us? Who is more deserving of our energy and trust?
From this perspective, no matter your ideological predisposition, I say the better groom is Obama. Not McCain.
There is a widening bipartisan consensus that an Obama administration will be better equipped (with the right level of intelligence, pragmatism, sensibility to working/middle class issues) in setting straight a failing economy. His proposed initiatives (tax cut for 95% of American families, closing tax loopholes for big corporations and the ultra-rich, and retooling the economy to help the middle class), represent the overdue changes the US needs to maintain the American quality of life.
Then there is the question of good governance. Many believe that how a political campaign is run is an indication of how a candidate will govern, if elected. Obama scores higher marks here, too. He remains the one with the more principled campaign, the more inspiring platform for change, the more authenticity in motivation.
There is a growing consensus — and a bipartisan one at that — that McCain has not kept his word in running a principled campaign. His campaign has been one of intrigue, deception, and cynicism; don’t forget his choice in Palin. The McCain campaign is punctuated with bizarre convulsions of made-for-TV examples of boldness, courage and leadership. Smoke and mirrors. — And what are we to make of McCain’s record as a leader for the past three decades? Despite McCain’s loud and straining declaration that he is the people’s champion now that he wants to be our president, what, in fact, does his legislative record say? More smoke and mirrors. Actions speak louder than words, as the old saying goes.
For the U.S. to achieve proper ‘nation-rebuilding’ in the next 4+ years, setting a good foundation first will be key. Smoke and mirrors won’t do; more of the same won’t do. McCain won’t do.
I believe that Obama is the one better able to restore public trust in government. While McCain has repeatedly demonstrated how tethered he is to the Bush worldview, Obama has so far been able to inspire the apathetic youth to care (in itself, not a simple task), cultivate good will around the globe, and draw out millions of disillusioned Americans to care, once more. Obama exudes authenticity, trustworthiness; that’s why.
This dude, Obama, is for real.
And amid all the other things we need to consider and worry about in this election, amid our search for peace from anger, maybe that’s all there is to it: knowing which dude is for real.