I had been having a debate with two of my best friends about what was important in this election. I realize that there are a million, if not billions, of posts and blogs and opinions about this election. Everything each candidate spouts about this being a crossroads year is absolutely true. This is a pivotal point in our lives. For those of us who are the baby boomers' children, we have seen the Reagan years and were led to believe that anything not of American descent or Western European origin was evil. Then the Berlin Wall fell and Reagan was considered a hero. Many of us support Bush (41st) as President then witnessed him renege on his tax pledge and start caring more about capturing a man 7000 miles away that we used to support against Iran. He cared so much in fact, that he began to forget about our troubles (and recession) here; making time only to state that he cares more about energy than the spotted owl. Then came Clinton and while a lot of us were apprehensive, he was smart and politically savvy. He listened to advisors when necessary and spoke coherently and fluently and persuasively.
The conservatives still like to bring up Monica but hey, Reagan re-married and in fact we've come to learn that the great crusader himself, Newt, was engulfed in his own affair. If you ask me, that is the embodiment of family values. Ask not what your hypocrite is doing but ask what your President did instead. Newt led the contract with America and that brought such lampoons such as Dobson, Coulter, and Delay into mainstream conservatism religious right politics -- then the great Decider W came to power and with him the man who was always turning the key in the puppet's back - Dick Cheney.
Why do I care? Because I'm tired of being lied to, fed stories that make me believe we are helping others, and paying taxes to a growing debt while W tries to provide tax relief to those who don't need, nor asked, for it. He is so rooted in money himself that he figures by paying the favors now he'll reap the benefits later. It is disheartening to know that we lose potentially $10 Billion a year in tax revenue from the wealthy tax cuts and estate tax principles yet we wait for 10 years to adjust the minimum wage. What kind of great society is this? Certainly not one that Reagan would have espoused... Why do I care about this now? I care because John McCain is not a new school of thought; he is the same lobbyist-friendly, Washington-tainted bureaucrat that has poisoned our political process and parted our once helpful government. It is people like McCain, Boehner, Delay, Rove, and even those on the Democratic side such as Reid and Feingold that obstruct our progress.
Now, I agree that Hilary is a polarizing figure and would likely not be where she is if it weren't for Bill. Her ideas are expensive and would probably cost us some tax dollars, but as a person I would rather have to pay $25 more per paycheck to ensure that kids have health insurance and our schools are improved rather than hear McCain embrace permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% while voting to filibuster the the minimum wage vote. I'm not sure what finally convinced McCain to succumb to the minimum wage other than the business tax benefits that were amended to the bill. Conservatives say that McCain is really a liberal and if that's the case - great! You know what Liberal translates into? It means progressive and welcoming. I loathe the day that somebody thinks of me as short-sighted, close-minded, and ignorant (i.e. - conservatives and the like-minded).
In reality, the only really big votes that McCain has bucked the Republican base with was on the tax cuts in early 2000's, gay marraige, immigration, and stem cell research. Otherwise, he's acted as a rubber stamp for continuing the war (possibly for another 100 years) and leaving open the possibility of invading Iran. What should we tell our children when one day, after years of divisive political games and on-going occupation of the middle east, our sons and daughters are drafted into military service. Why do I care? Because my job as a parent-to-be is one where I'm supposed to provide a better life to my children than I had. Every parent has that responsibility. Being in the military is no dishonor - do not misunderstand my point. Being in a global conflict that we illegitimately fathered through deceit and greed by a few powerful politicians is a global dishonor. We can maintain a successful presence, much like Germany and Japan, and remove ourselves from a largely religious and civil disconnect between several ethnically and religiously diverse sects. A military presence, led from 7000 miles away by our cowardice Republican leaders, will NOT resolve this.
Economically speaking, did you know that 77% of the tax cuts that McCain now embraces would affect those making $500K+ a year (about 0.7% of the population) which comes out to $146 billion in today's dollar value for the first ten years after those tax cuts are permanent? The money that those tax cuts reduce from our tax revenue base could actually pay for a lot of the debt that reckless Republican spending has accrued; it's not as if we can take that money and help our own any more. It's funny how Bush's priorities lie with people he has never met 7000 miles away and not even with those who elected him. I never elected him myself, so I don't expect anything of the guy. As far as I'm concerned, I'm ashamed to lay claim to being an American at times for fear of being associated with him, Rumsfield, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, Alito, etc, etc, etc.
Continuing on my McCain rant, he voted no on almost every bill that would grant funding to schools, he voted against SCHIP, he avoids votes about FISA, immigration, and Iraq funding now (he co-authored the immigration bill). I'm not sure how this is constructive to our society. I'm not sure how voting against children's healthcare that will cost roughly $7b per year is more fiscally responsible to Americans than continually voted to authorize 100-200B per year for a war that nobody wants anymore. One says that this is federalizing our health care and that adults will take advantage of SCHIP. Tell me how that is the case if they cannot be treated and hospitals can continue to turn away patients; tell me how you can look in the face of an uninsured girl who is four years old and needs treatment but won't receive it because her single mother cannot afford it. You voted for it; you live with it sir.
On the issue of Education, McCain supports NCLB (a disaster which encourages teachers to teach toward tests, not towards learning) and supports charter schools where a larger portion of money goes to pre-selected schools and parents lie to get their kids in. My wonder is what about the schools that don't receive that funding? It appears they fall behind the curve. On the issue of guns, he doesn't support a ban on assault rifles. He only supports a background check. I'm not sure how we can live in a society where assault rifles are permitted. Most countries don't even allow private ownership anymore; it's not the Revolutionary War; get over it NRA. On Health Care, supports encouraging small businesses to band together to negotiate lower rates with health care providers -- what??? Small business is not bigger than Aetna, etc unfortunately. This is his CYA excuse to claim he looks out for smaller people, but he still takes a large sum of money from the insurance
What I'm trying to say is that I respect McCain's service to the country and his POW era; he is an American and military hero and should be remembered that way however he tends to sway with the popular trend at the time (no tax cuts then tax cuts if the conservatives want it; speaking out against conservatives then giving the commencement speech at Liberty, etc). I prefer Obama because he is greener and less-tainted by Washington. He is an exemplary speaker and carries weight with our generation, but this is not our parents anymore. Our parents want us, as their children, to live a long, fruitful, prosperous, and peaceful life. I don't doubt that my parents won't vote for McCain, but this is not their time to decide the next ten to twenty to thirty years of our lives. It's our time to vote. Why do I care? Because I want my child to grow up in a society where I can feel comfortable in; I'm already going to pay the debts of this administration; I sure hope my child doesn't have to as well for McCain's administration.
With regard to Iraq, there has to be some closure. I still think that we cannot leave, but we basically abandoned Afghanistan where the real threat is. Now we are stuck and nobody except Obama is willing to speak to world leaders that we may not get along with. I think we are a better society than to say we won't try to find diplomatic solutions with Iran, Syria, etc. We are nuclear armed and can wipe Iran off the planet if we find ourselves in trouble, but why not negotiate first. Altogether, I do respect McCain and I love that we can have these debates, I think it's time for a new school of thought though.
My vote is for Obama; he is an agent of change and unstained by the politics of Washington. He can unite liberals and moderates and independents alike. He may not appeal to the Religious right but he is a religious man and that is enough for me. Extremism is not a way of life; it's only a choice. Obama deplores this; he is excited about creating a better future for us; he is sincere and has his own young children. He grew up benefiting from opportunities given to him by his parents. For those of us who are children of the baby boomers, we have the same responsibility.
Why do I care? I care because if I don't, our generation and our children will have to face the consequences...
Why do I care? I care because I'm tired of having to watch the news each night and see reports of our ethos being eaten away by our Administration's actions, ignorance, and arrogance.
Why do I care? I care because I'm allowed to and because I will.