November 7, 2008

Obamania


I am glad that Obama will be president. In terms of civil rights, and what it means for minorities not only in America, but throughout the world, his election provides a powerful signal we are moving closer to equality.

In terms of politics, there is only one issue which substantially stands out for me. Obama came out strongly against the invasion of Iraq from the very beginning. I respect that. But that stance alone would not have been enough for me to vote for him. One other policy proposal I have heard from him that appeals to me is his proposal to help provide scholarships for anyone who does public service, whether in the Peace Corps, the Military, etc.

Overall, although Obama is closer to what I stand for than McCain, I do not really think that he is any closer to representing me than Clinton was. I think he will continue the same types of economic policies that we had in the nineties. I think he will support giving more power to big business. I think more money will be funnelled to environmental and energy causes, but it will still be done by government subsidies that favor the powerful.

What I am really curious about is what all the fuss has been about. Why is everyone so crazy for Obama? Is it just because of race? That part I can certainly understand. But I think beyond the issue of race, the real factor here is not so much Obama, but just how terrible Bush was as a president. He alienated so many people that now everyone has latched onto Obama as someone who will really bring changes to Washington. In terms of Iraq, and our international standing, these changes will be obvious. But any Democrat would have brought the same kinds of change. So what other changes will Obama bring? He certainly has not made that clear yet, and people seem to be following him with a kind of blind hope that his election really will mean a new America.

I do not see it. I think people will find that a lot less change will occur than they were hoping for. Obama is a Democrat, and as long as America embraces this two party system, our government will be controlled by a cabal of big business and special interests, with a slight drift from right to left depending on which party is in power. The erosion of our individual rights will continue, and more power and wealth will congregate in fewer hands.

I really think the people who just voted for Obama should take a serious look at the Green party or another third party that might be more aligned with their personal outlook. This country needs more plurality in its political system. Badly.

7 comments:

The Tao said...

Have you heard him talk?

aprilbeijing said...

i agree with The Tao -- listen to a couple of his speeches, such as the one on racism in america, or his concession speech when he lost the primary in New Hampshire

The Good Doctor said...

i have heard him talk. he's totally charismatic. when i watched his debates with mccain i thought he was extremely presidential. but it does not change my opinion of his politics.

his first big test in my mind will be how he deals with the automakers. the democrats really want to bale out one of their biggest contributors, no strings attached. the same way the republicans want to bale out wall street. the democrats are in power, but it is going to be politics as usual i expect.

Anonymous said...

I took a 'good look' at the Green Party in 2000 and we got the worst president in a century. The damage will take decades to be undone. Never again.

The Good Doctor said...

so you think it was the green party's fault? you voted in florida, and so threw the election towards bush? the would only be the case if the difference was a single vote, which it was not.

if you were truly interested in voting for the green party, it is not your fault bush became president. it is the fault of the people that voted for him, not the people who did not.

had gore won, how much would be different? we can never really know. but it was only after his election that gore pushed over towards the left. prior to that, he was advocating the same policies that clinton followed for eight years, policies that helped lead to our current financial crisis.

what exactly do you mean by a 'good look?' does that mean you actually voted for nader? does that mean you looked into what the green party stands for? have you thought about getting involved locally with the issues that the green party advocates?

i absolutely deny anyone who blames the green party for the election of george w. bush. the green party represents values and philosophies that are not found in any of the other parties, certainly not in the democratic or republican platforms. no one should be vilified for voting for the candidate they believe in. no one that voted for someone other than bush should be blamed for bush's election.

and please keep the following two facts in mind:

1. more democrats voted for bush in florida than voted for nader in 2000. if anyone should be blamed for bush's election, it should be them.

2. in 2004, when the green party ran a candidate that told people they should vote for kerry, bush won by an even wider margin.

Anonymous said...

The Good Doctor: so you think it was the green party's fault?

Not exclusively. But in part? Absolutely.

you voted in florida, and so threw the election towards bush? th[at] would only be the case if the difference was a single vote, which it was not.

Hmmm. So by this reasoning, it's alright if I burn obscene amounts of carbon as long as my individual contribution isn't responsible for the ultimate harms of global warming? After all, just as my individual failure to vote for Gore in 2000 wasn't ultimately responsible for his defeat, it's very unlikely that my personal contribution will make the difference in the glaciers melting or the oceans rising.

This logic seems dubious. In my book, acts of omission, even if motivated by ostensibly noble purposes, are culpable. So yes, I blame anyone who could have voted for Gore but didn't (myself included).

The Green party deserves special blame because they betrayed their own interests in perpetrating the fantasy that voting for them was cost-free. The last eight years have made it clear that it was not.

The Good Doctor said...

i think we both agree that bush has been a terrible president. however, according to your argument, the only choice people had who were against bush was to vote for gore. how is this in any way fair or democratic? this is just one step better than a system where i am given only one choice. (maybe two steps better, because their is a primary system as well.)

even given the primary, according to you, we are given only two choices, between one of two parties that control our government. what if i want neither of them? is it my fault when one of them gets elected? no, because i am against both of them being president.

unfortunately, this is the system we have throughout most of america. because two parties dominate the process, every other voice becomes marginalized. and the democratic party has a deeply vested interest in convincing us that a vote for another party such as the greens is really a vote for republicans.

there are a number of ways that american 'democracy' could be changed to make it more fair and representative, including easing restrictions against inclusion of alternative parties on ballots and in debates. one of the simplest and most powerful changes is explained at fairvote.org. america should adopt choice voting, and we could move closer to providing voters with actual choices.

i still absolutely deny that a vote for the green party is a vote for bush or the republicans. you vote for who you vote for.

anyone who votes for the green party, or any other alternative party, should be applauded for expanding the horizons of our democracy rather than being vilified.

i encourage everyone to go to fairvote.org to learn more about more democratic election methods.