Saturday, August 30, 2008

taking off the gloves

It is that time in America when our two party political system slings mud and throws darts and the person on the street gets to vote and think that it all matters. Sarcasm, yes. Often it feels like the truth. Sadly.

But this time it feels like it really does matter. I have made my choice, yet cynicism still exists. It feels like each presidential candidate picked his running mate (or it was picked for him) solely based on making himself look good in response to accusations from the other side. (Note: "other side" now seems to be a very narrow fence and the players are standing a handshake away from each other.) The running mates picked to balance what has already been said about him and what is anticipated to be said about him and to try to grab some voters from the presumed other camp.

I don't know if it is me or if this election is even more transparent. It almost seems like a joke. Qualifications out the window, folks - we just need to look good and show that we know how to play ball, too. I know it is far more complicated; really, I do.

So, while I am dreading the next couple months because of the splits and hatred and name-calling this arouses every time it comes around, I am also paying attention. I think there is a clear choice: and it scares me that some otherwise thinking and caring people I know are even considering the other one - although I haven't heard from them since the newest running mate was chosen; I hope that has finally made them see what is truly at stake.

Today I received the following blogs posts and an email which I want to share.

The first is from writer Ariel Gore :

Weirdly enough, I dreamed that John McCain selected a gardener snake as his running mate, and he kept it in a little blue ceramic pot. The Republican machine and journalists on CNN were madly searching through the old rule books to find a statute that required the VP be human. By the time the baby woke me, they had found no such rule."

The second is from dramaturg Kim Crow, posted on Portland Dramaturgy Cabal :

With media outlets all abuzz with the major party conventions, I thought it might be an apt time to consider the two major presidential candidates' position on the Arts. Even if our minds are already made up, here is an overview of how each candidate might affect us as dramaturgs in the role of arts advocate.

The Obama camp provides a Fact Sheet on its official website and states, "The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition." The Fact Sheet briefly details Obama's platform which includes:
  • Reinvesting in Arts Education
  • Supporting Increased Funding for the NEA
  • Promoting Cultural Diplomacy
  • Attracting Foreign Talent
  • Providing Health Care for Artists
  • Ensuring Tax Fairness for Artists
I pored over the McCain campaign site, and I could not find any sort of description of his arts platform. Apparently, I am not the only one. Since I'm in a generous mood (and since I spent a lot of time on his website), here are some McCain policies that could loosely be applied to the arts.

Encourage investment in innovation
Reform intellectual property protection

Provide the resources needed to succeed

Who was it that said "the worst review is no review?" "

From, an email:

" Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. ... [Click the link above to read the excerpts.] ...

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

1 comment:

  1. CORRECTION/AMPLIFICATION: Because of that single statement about obscenity and federal subsidies, I attributed to John McCain a willingness to fund the arts (while making certain that anything “obscene” is not funded) . It’s a willingness that, in fact, may not be there at all, at least as demonstrated by some of his legislative actions.

    According to Elizabeth Currid of the University of Southern California, writing for USC’s Election 2008 website (”a special resource for journalists”), McCain “has a historical track record of supporting anti-arts legislation, including the 1999 Smith-Ashcroft Amendment, which would have cut all funding for the NEA; and the 1989 Helms Amendment, which aimed to deny funding to art considered ‘obscene.’

    McCain, she concludes, “doesn’t have an arts policy, other than a desire to eliminate spending directed toward the arts.”