Monday, September 8, 2008

presidential campaign response 1

This election is mostly about oil. McCain and Obama both refer to high fuel costs with nearly every mention of U.S. economy. When McCain talks about U.S. off-shore drilling, he mentions that we currently depend on terrorist-supporting nations for energy. Last Thursday night, Palin mentioned Russia as a threat to global security, and inferred that Russia's primary interest is oil.

I would like to hear candidates speak to the global environment and the United States' impact on it. I hear a lot about the U.S. economy, but only as it pertains to individual clumps of humans, and not as it pertains to a global community of humans, much less a global community of fish, birds, or ocean currents. Obviously, the president's loyalty resides first with his/her people, not to fish, but the people he/she represents should serve the world at large, and the world is suffering dramatically. For all the talk about Sarah Palin's knowledge of northwestern ideals, I've heard nothing about preserving ecosystems, returning damaged environments to healthy states, even acknowledging or monitoring environments (!) except statements that emphasize the importance of finding new industries for a struggling economy. In his acceptance speech, McCain said that "we need to restore the health of our planet by using all resources available to restore our economy." Terribly phrased, I think his point is this: a healthy American economy propagates a healthy planet. I disagree completely, and history does too!

I think McCain purposefully associates environmental preservation with the state of our economy, and this confuses people. They think he's talking about a healthy planet, but he's just talking about preserving their quality of living. I disdain this. We should be concerned with the planet for obvious large reasons, including--to a much smaller extent--the environment's effect on our economy. Alternative fuel, solely for the sake of better jobs, is not enough for me.

I'm frustrated that people only want to hear surface level stuff about taxes, big or small government, and national security: party-line phrases and meaningless banter. Sometimes I think people DO want straight talk and change, and that if our candidates would stop catering to our wallets, our stomachs, our pride, we'd understand and we'd rally around them. But look what happened to Ron Paul in the primaries: he was ridiculed and laughed at, and the public didn't care enough to lift up his issues.

I don't think presidential candidates need to get banally specific, ignoring the symbolism of their position. I think a president can still act as a figurehead, philosophize, inspire, and leave the specifics to the smaller communities. As much as I wish to God I felt as confident in our leaders' knowledge as I feel in Ross Perot's knowledge of our economy, we can inspire a nation without graphs. We need real philosophy! Our two-party system makes this impossible.

For instance, I hear very little talk about credit philosophy, which is weird, since Americans clearly have a muddled understanding of credit. American Government probably doesn't have a muddled understanding of credit, but it's a pretty closed-mouthed understanding. In my 10 years of voting, I've never heard a candidate from a major party enumerate the expenditures of a government versus the income of the government. Yet, candidates still talk about reducing federal debt. When we're talking about sums of money this large, how can any normal wage-earner truly grasp the meaning of statements like "We waste 100 billion dollars a year on countries not our own." To what am I comparing 100 billion dollars? The unknown budgets of other government expense accounts? And how could I possibly put a number like 100 billion in perspective? How many hotels can I buy with that much money?

It doesn't matter, because candidates lump the issue of federal spending into the larger issue of large versus small government, a stupid argument that plays on our fear of big brother or our individualistic pride or our liberal love for humanity. You Republicans and Democrats, I despise you. You are no better than cliques of high school kids, street gangs, or monotonous religion. You move in swarms, gaining momentum only because you surround yourself with others like you, motivated by some general feeling of purpose and a general hate for those who choose to live in direct defiance of you. I hate you and I hate your puppet-candidates. Get a life of your own, help others do the same!

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