Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Somehow, I think I may have neglected to mention in this space that I’m a fervent supporter of Barack Obama for President. This shouldn’t be surprising to anybody who either knows me in real life or who has been reading my journal for any significant amount of time.
I understand that being politically active and aware is to constantly be on a war footing, especially in our modern world where the reliable dissemination of information carries with it the price of widespread misinformation and disinformation. So I’m not saying that I won’t be willing to argue about why I support Obama. Indeed, I have very little respect for people who are unwilling to defend at all their position on something as important as who should be selected to take the helm of a nuclear superpower. I’m ready to discuss the topic in civil tones preferably and in heated tones if need be.
You want to bring up Jeremiah Wright? Fine. Let’s talk about why association does not imply agreement. Let’s find out who these incredibly fortunate souls are who have never found themselves locked in bitter contention with somebody they love. Let’s talk about the maturity it takes to turn to a member of your family and explain to them why you think they’re wrong and the cowardly ease it takes to simply turn your back on that person and say you’re never going to speak again to them ever ever ever. Give me the evidence that Wright has been spouting his God Damn America rhetoric for the twenty-odd years that Obama has been a member of his church without once offering any positive outreach that might also have attracted the members of his congregation. Tell me how this association is so much worse than the pandering methods of John McCain to actively seek and cultivate the endorsements of crazy end-times preachers such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley (men who I’m aware he has recently “rejected and denounced,” but whose records of repeated and virulent statements against Jews, Muslims, gays, and all manner of Other have been readily available to the McCain campaign before he decided to create the association). Explain all of this to me, and we’ll talk.
Feel free to argue that Obama’s race is such a prohibitive factor as to cost Democrats the White House in 2008. Please follow up that statement by reminding me why it is that our candidacy decisions should be held hostage to the power of a racist veto. Remind me why I should lower my personal standards of human equality to meet the outdated needs of blind, ignorant people.
Go ahead and screech that Obama is a Super Double Top Secret Radical Muslim who will sell us all out to al-Qaida as his first executive order and turn Washington into the center of the new Islamic Caliphate. But then shut up and go back to hiding in your bomb shelter, fool. The rest of America will let you know when it’s safe to come back outside.
It’s exhausting, obviously, to keep hitting these fat pitches into the stands, and for the most part I’d prefer if I didn’t have to keep swinging at them. But none of these frustrate me quite so much as the declaration:
2) Barack Obama cannot be President because he does not have enough experience.
So let’s talk about experience. Let’s talk about gaining experience for the incredibly unique job of President of the United States, a position so specialized that only 43 people have ever held it, and only very few have managed to perform exceedingly well at it. A position that continues to evolve with each occupant and a position for which the challenges are often different depending on the state of the entire world.
A position that, counter-intuitively, those who have the most practical experience are prohibited from ever holding again1.
For the record, Barack Obama has ten years of experience in the legislative aspect of American government. This is, undoubtedly, a far cry from John McCain’s quarter-century as a legislator.
But what do these numbers guarantee? I’m compelled to note that the current cabal of craven fuckwits residing at 1600 Pennsylvania have about a hundred years of collective government experience between them, yet still managed to completely cock up everything that the country is and used to stand for. I’d also be compelled to point out that three of our nation’s most celebrated presidents had spent either a comparable length of time in government before assuming the office, or significantly less2.
Experience is an indicator of familiarity, not proficiency. Using it as the sole determining factor in this election is folly, and if you can’t see that, you have my pity.
Oh, yes, I know, I’m just another mindless “Obamabot,” one of those people foaming at the mouth with zealous fervor in the throngs of a cult of personality. I can’t see that I’m backing a man who makes pretty speeches and talks about hope and change but who doesn’t seem to talk about his policy ideas. Because we all know that a candidate that drones on about the dry and complicated details of policy ad nauseum is exactly the sort of thing that news networks are clamoring for to boost their ratings, that most people would sit and listen to with rapt attention.
I support Barack Obama because I believe that great leaders have the ability to inspire. Great leaders do not instill in their followers the notion that everything would fall apart if the leader were no longer there; they instead make those followers believe that any one of them could step up and continue the work if anything happened to the leader. This is what I have heard in Barack Obama’s rhetoric.
Maybe you can’t hear that, or maybe you don’t want to.
As for me, after eight years of being shown that no protest, no common sense, and no indignation can possibly deter the mind of a bloodthirsty, bullheaded boy king, it is nice to be told that my voice might still be important enough to be heard. I’m invigorated by the idea that I still have the power to push, to pull, to prod, to fight.
1 The tangent that I won’t get into in-depth right now is that of my conflicted feelings on term limits. On the one hand, I appreciate that they’re a good thing if only to keep people from grasping forever at the trappings of power. But on the other, I feel like our current system of two four-year terms has created the current ridiculous circus in which each new election season begins at the moment of inauguration. It leads to the unfortunate mode that a president’s first term can be spent more often subjugating the needs of the nation to the needs of gaining enough political capital to survive the next election, while the second term can bring us a chief executive on tilt, reckless and unconcerned because they know that they can never hold the job again. Legacy, shmegacy. Even the worst president will find people willing to erect shrines to them after they step down.
2 It is arguably unfair to include Washington in that group, as he obviously would never have had the opportunity to be anything other than President due to the fact that there was no country or independent government there before he assumed the mantle. I feel my point stands even stronger because of that, however. Washington was flying blind and could at any moment have made decisions that sent the American Experiment tumbling headlong into the abyss. That he did not, and it did not, is a testament to his leadership…which happened without government experience.