Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Monday, November 28, 2005

This Be the Article

Back in the 1990s, most of us grew accustomed to a series of anti-Clinton bumper stickers that read "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush", in reference to the 1992 Presidential Election. One year removed from the 2004 Election, we're now treated to a new generation of auto adornments intended to ridicule the current commander-in-chief; they say "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kerry", if you're wondering.

As someone who has never been enamored of bumper stickers in the first place--if I were interested in your politics, your religion, where you or your kids went to school or your favorite bands, I'd ask!--I have a few observations. First of all, how delightfully original! I don't even know if the anti-Clinton ones were original and they were repugnant enough. Could you tone down the haughtiness a bit, please? Are you so insecure that you have to remind me people you didn't vote for the guy you hate? Are you four years old or something? You're trying to throw it back in the faces of your political adversaries. Big whoop!

And another thing, who tried to blame you? No one was blaming you for anything until you bought that stupid bumper sticker. I don't think highly of blame dodgers, people who try to weasel out of accountability, so I've decided it's all your fault: the situation in Iraq is your fault; the Monica Lewinsky scandal was your fault; even 9/11 was your fault. Are you happy now? That's what you get for trying to abdicate your responsibilites, loser. Anyone who ever bought either of those bumper stickers is to blame and if you're one who bought both (and you know somewhere there's a person who did!) you can also take credit for every economic recession since the time you were born!

All of this brings me to the subject of our next Presidential Election. Don't blame me, but I'll be voting for Barack Obama if he runs. Why? I just like him. It's not an ideological matter because I'm not entirely clear on his ideology. To reiterate, I just like him; there's no simpler way to put it. None of the other potential candidates appeal to me. John Kerry? Proven loser. John Edwards? Pretty face. Hillary Clinton? Too polarizing? Evan Bayh? Not enough name recognition. Condoleeza Rice? Too strongly associated with the Bush clan. John McCain? Good man, but he's been around the block too many times. My concern about Obama is his youthful appearance and lack of experience. I don't mean this would make him a bad president, but people would probably perceive it as such. He might lose to a guy like McCain, who has vast experience and is a war hero as well. I would rather Obama wait until 2012 than lose to McCain in 2008, but in all honesty, I'd rather him just be president, period, in 2008, 2012, or whenever. I think he could alter the way the United States is perceived and literally change the world. Maybe I'm setting my expectations too high; it's possible there isn't much depth beyond his good looks and easy demeanor and eloquent speech. Maybe he has no real vision or ideas. But does anyone anymore?

These days, people who "stand" for things, who have genuine "principles" to which they are "committed" uncompromisingly are some of the scariest around: Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schlafly, Ralph Nader, or even someone like Howard Dean. Are these the sort of people we want running the country? Maybe I'm a cynic. Perhaps I just have no true principles of my own, but give me someone who's at least moderately pragmatic. For President, anyway. Let the idealists inhabit the periphery, where they belong and where they're happiest, because they're able to criticize without actually doing. That's pretty much what we all want, isn't it? Myself included. We want to fight the power; then we want to have the power; then we want to hand the power to someone else because it isn't worth the trouble after all. To paraphrase Philip Larkin:

Man hands power onto man;
It deepens like a coastal shelf
Get out of office when you can
And don't cast any votes yourself.

Or something like that.


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