Electioneering

I really don’t like politics. I appreciate those who are true servants of the people, though it seems for a long time there is no difference between politicians and government service. Not being a fan of politics, it makes it difficult to find the real servants out there.

Perhaps I sound cynical. Allow me to clarify: when it comes to politics, I AM! Occasionally, I will have students ask me “who are you voting for” or “what do you think about >insert political cause here<. I try to invoke the “Oh, as a teacher I really shouldn’t talk politics …..never a good idea for someone in some position of power to go pushing their personal views (I mean, the social studies teachers practically get paid to do that, much to the chagrin of many students). I keep my personal viewpoint to myself because “throwing the lot of them in jail” doesn’t seem right to me. So, I shut up. If cynicism is a disease, I don’t want to spread it to the impressionable minds. They have the right to grow cynical or not on their own schedule.

So, we are looking down the barrel of Election 2008: McCain v. Obama.

Personally, I’m not sure who I would vote for. On the one hand, McCain has experience. That can be good and bad. While conservative, I don’t get the impression he is as foolish with power as certain other chief executives have been. That’s good. Maybe his most notable piece of legislation was a bipartisan campaign finance reform bill. Not bad.

On the other hand, given his age, I’m not sure if I like the idea of the former mayor of a rural town of 3,000, and the current governor of second least populated state (fairly homogenous at that) being quite so close to being in charge. While I tend to be conservative, and don’t 100% disagree with her stances, I am far from being in agreement with many of them.

I look at Mr. Obama. He really does not have a lot of experience in an executive capacity, or in national government. That’s problematic. Some of the things I am hearing about in terms of his policies seem like they are not going to work. That’s not so good. On the other hand, is it likely that any of his more extreme plans will get passed? Maybe not.

His VP choice isn’t terrible. AND … and this is hard to quantify: we have been through 16 years of pretty rough presidents. History is not going to treat the Clinton administration well, and the ocean bottom doesn’t seem to be the limit as to where the current administration is going to end up. Maybe, we really do just need someone who will grab the reigns and take us somewhere else.

Now, that can be dangerous thinking. I can only wonder how many Germans were thinking that very same thing in 1932 when they voted for the National Socialists. On the other hand, I hope I am reading Mr. Obama in that he doesn’t seem to be one plotting to do things like Hitler and his zombies. Maybe we just need someone to restore some hope that things will get better. Sometimes hope can be very powerful when it comes to getting a nation turned around.

I was having a discussion with my mother, who reminded me of the axiom that people rarely vote for someone, and more often vote against someone. I’m not sure I believe that, and in this case, there may be two evils, and it may be a matter of picking the lesser of two evils.

Maybe mom is right …..

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3 Responses to Electioneering

  1. Tom N. says:

    I’m nervous about the cult of personality that has arisen around Obama. And when I hear people talking all lovey-dovey about him, I want to say, “He’s a Chicago politician! Don’t you know what that means?!” But I mostly just keep my mouth shut.

  2. TeganX7 says:

    A review of what Chicago politicians have accomplished:

    1. Have befriended the mob, and made them a lot less likely to kill innocent people.

    2. Beat the living daylights out of hippies in ’68 (we’re here to preserve disorder ….)

    3. Flipped off the President of the United States, and in the dark of night closed down Meigs Field to make a park, and did so with little or no consequence.

    4. Cost their own public schools money to make a political point by encouraging kids to miss school.

    5. Bought up parts of neighboring suburbs to expand O’Hare without any permission, and then got the permission.

    6. Gave Wrigley Field landmark status to prevent owners (current or future from making any improvements that will allow the team to make more money, perpetually permitting the Cubs to use “lack of funds” as an excuse for not winning. When the Sox threatend to move, they got them a new stadium.

    At least points 2 & 6 were positive.

  3. Alan P says:

    There was an interesting article on NPR tonight about the differences between McCain’s and Obama’s leadership approach (http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/09/08/pm_presidential_ceo_q/).

    McCain is described as a “warrior” – personal power produces results and courage and honor, etc. McCain, consistent with a “heroic” leader, used the word, “I” about twice as often as McCain.

    Obama is described as a “healer”, bringing people together, mending lives, etc.

    I somewhat prefer the healer. And despite the inexperience, I think he knows it, and will seek the appropriate advice when making decisions.

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