I've been looking for a good topic to go out on and this one finally inspired me. I'm moving back to the West Coast soon and this will be my last post here. I'll resurface on my own blog and won't be called Teddy Salad. I want to concentrate on Green politics and it doesn't really fit in here.
My wife surprised me today by telling me she will vote for George Bush next Tuesday. Since I don't plan on voting for Kerry, and that she's my wife, instead of shouting her down in outrage with a list of Bushie-boy's 101 greatest retard moves, I listened to her logic and it made sense. Not enough to get me to vote for Bush, but at least it made sense, unlike the screaming-banshee idiocy you might see, oh, here.
Her rationale was that as a future small business owner, voting for Bush is in her enlightened self-interest as he will lower (or not raise) her taxes and decrease (or not increase) the regulation of her business vis-a-vis Kerry. She mentioned that even though you can make a case that this is only a perception - a second term for Bush may actually be worse for the small business owner - it is still something Kerry has been unable to refute, so she throws her lot in with the GOP. Even though she's not yet a millionaire, she points out that generally everyone wants to be richer and more important, and though Bush's tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit the top 1%, she could be them someday. Bush wouldn't be an impediment to the process and would ultimately be her benefactor.
The metaphor she used was the first-class passenger on an airplane. When you start flying first class, you no longer identify with the passengers in coach. You feel you worked hard to make enough to enjoy the privileges of first class, and anyone showing sympathy with the coach class is perceived as a threat, because there are only so many first class seats. Whether these feelings are right or wrong is irrelevant. She simply noted that Bush is very effective at using this reaction by saying he will "protect us". What he is actually protecting us from, you can discuss among yourselves. I have my own ideas and, as I said, it does make sense. She noted that she's getting more conservative as she gets older, and I mentioned this was a pretty common phenomenon.
Her other observation was more trenchant. As a new citizen, she still has the perspective of someone outside the U.S. She prefers Bush because he embodies the "Ugly American": ignorant, selfish and mercenary. Kerry might put a more noble face in front of the U.S. but it would have little impact on policy. American foreign policy would still be ugly, interfering and arrogant. It would simply have a less repugnant commander-in-chief. She prefers the leader that would embody the ugly reality, rather than the lie.
Both of us hate lies, and this election has had nothing but lies. Both candidates are painting themselves as something they are not. Bush pretends he cares about us 'Merkans, and Kerry pretends he's not Bush. They lie to us and we lie to ourselves.
The "debate" has focused more on Vietnam than Iraq, and it's interesting that neither candidate can even come clean on the old lies, much less discuss the new ones. They discuss bad decisions already made and irreversible, rather that the real decisions that need to be made in January and beyond. The media pretends this all means something, and talks about momentum more than solutions. Americans, as Mencken observed, are getting what they deserve and getting it good and hard.
My reactions to all this is to vote for Cobb. I otherwise wouldn't vote, so short of a "none of the above" I'll stick with my registered party. If anyone reading this really wants to flame me with the standard "not voting for Kerry is a vote for Bush" crapola, my reply is that I could still vote for Bush, so don't piss me off because I can still change my mind.
None of this is to say I don't want Kerry to win. I think Kerry would be the better President for building the Green Party. He's put himself in an impossible situation and has a very small chance of either coming through on his mildest campaign promises or getting re-elected. He embodies the "no difference between the Republocrats and Dempublicans" idea of Nader perfectly, he comes on the heels of a disasterous Bush term and if he appoints a couple of pro-choice Supreme Court justices, the Democrats won't be able to use threats to Roe vs Wade as ammunition anymore.
Heck, Kerry's term would build all third-party candidates. If the economic situation gets dire enough, you might see an odd merger of Green-Libertarian-Constitution-Independent parties behind some opportunistic candidate promising a balanced budget, non-interventionist foreign policy, and reducing defense spending to pay for health care, welfare and retirement benefits. A lot can happen in four years and I'm no psychic. Even the Red Sox won. I didn't see that coming either.
If Bush does prevail, I still know the world isn't coming to an end. Somehow I survived the first term, and with enough psychedelic drugs and alcohol I'll be able to survive until 2008. Neither candidate will be able to do much with the economy, though Kerry might be able to postpone the economic collapse for a little longer. If I had to be honest, my personal economy has improved more in the last four years than ever before, though that has a lot more to do with getting married and buying a house as the bubble was inflating. My wife and I are looking forward to a new baby and a peaceful life away from DC politics. That's a heck of a lot more important in the grand scheme of things.
Anyway, thanks for putting up with me and my screeds. I wish you all the best. Keep working for a better world and keep smiling. Thanks to Mary Beth for hosting this site and giving me a chance to experience blogging. Peace. Teddy out.