Justin's Links

about - RSS - donate - search:

Monday, 11 October - link

politics is personal

All politics is local. Ethan, a good ally from my college days suggested that I've been alarmingly apolitical here on Links.net.

Which is funny because I spent so many hours reading newspapers and news magazines and political websites and loading up Electoral-Vote.com - I've been eagerly awaiting all the hours of my life I'll have back after this election is over. Not that politics will end, but much seems to be riding on this contest. As one of my most politically observant family members put it, "It will be a catastrophe if that asshole gets re-elected."

Still my web site doesn't reflect that - I don't rave much on a national (or international) political scale. I don't have an "elect John" or "bury George" banner up here. No flaming rants with slanted facts railing against the opposition. No sense of a clear enemy! That was my biggest objection to Fahrenheit 9/11; it worked to create and exploit difference.

In spite of my misgivings and the better angels of my nature, I've found myself recently wishing the US Democrats would be more direct and even unflinchingly nasty in their critiques. Bush's team strikes me as expertly manipulative, why can't the other side match their malicious malapropisms? Then I catch myself - how could I wish for more ugliness anywhere, ever?

I remember George, my step-father, telling me once about Adlai Stevenson (Wikipedia) - he was smart, he was articulate, maybe too much so to win the Presidential elections of '52 and '56. Maybe I should hope the smartest candidate knows when to play dirty?

All politics is personal. I work for gender and race equality in my daily demeanor. I promote the cause of compassion for other people, urging and practicing the benefit of the doubt. I work to avoid saying negative things, work to find the best aspects of our human natures. Wouldn't I wish the same from my politicians? People who maintain optimism and intelligence and generosity?

I meet a lot of people and I make an effort to see their side of the story. If you know people, chances are you know people with different stands on complicated issues. Heck, some of my relatives live in Red States, and are Red Voters!

This year America is being portrayed as this dramatically divided nation, with people living close to water leaning liberal and people living on the land keeping conservative. That's an easy way to describe a complex picture: I'm much more interested in the potential for "Purple State Poltics" - all people, all regions have light and dark, red and blue - entrust oneself to change.

If I manage to submit these voter registration papers in time, I'll vote for John Kerry. I've found Bush to be a divisive, aggressive, impolitic doubletalker. Far too effective at media hoodwinkery for my tastes - after all his shenanigans with talking up pure evil and weapons of this and that, taking us into an expensive messy war for vanishing reasons, I can't believe half the people polled in this country still believe he can be trusted with responsibility.

That leads me think I have more to learn about fear and greed and compassion and truth and understanding - Bush seems to offer something that people like I guess, an assuredness that's comforting in a time of conflict. But I believe think he has unduly upped the level of global conflict, and I'd like to see that come down. I don't mind nuance. Then again, no one I know directly died in 9/11, maybe I'd be more angry and eager for war if they had. But somehow I'd like to think not. I don't like war, I don't like the death penalty; I don't think states should kill.

Anyhow all of this is messy and complicated and hard to sort out - I can spin myself endlessly through all kinds of "what-ifs" and "but then you's." Meanwhile these final days of the Bush regime seem to demand straight talking, out of the corner of your mouth. But nailing down an expansive personal political philosophy inevitably exposes preference augmented by ignorance. I don't know enough about global politics to make elaborate judgments about the necessity of war. I would sit out on all this angry ranting online in favor of concentrating on my homework, but the stakes are high here. Mostly because of the Supreme Court and the environment. Bush says Clarence Thomas is one of this two favorite justices; Clarence Thomas who took Thurgood Marshall's seat? That brings tears to my eyes. But hey, maybe Thomas is a decent man with a strong belief in the First Amendment and other positions I'll come to appreciate if I age into financial well-being? Yesterday's clarity is today's stupidity, after all.

Today I have a values clash with George Bush; I don't like to dwell on it because it would seem to mean I have a values clash with half my home country. Admitting I have a values clash with half my country would seem to make it harder to relate, understand or work alongside the people around me. So I work to remain open, to bury the clash and emphasize the shared circumstances. We want to be happy, we want other people to be happy. We want to do right by our parents, and by our children. That said, I'm going to encourage people to vote for someone who will allow for more nuance in this current debate over war and peace - John F. Kerry.

Posted on 11 October 2004 : 00:19 (TrackBack)
Read Comments

February 2005 - comments are closed on Links.net. Thanks.

email a link to this page

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.