Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bad Liberal List: Election 2008! Where I was apathetic, but judgmental.

So this election season, both during the primaries and the general election, I felt nothing but apathy. Which is odd. And my inner teenager would be very, very ashamed of me right now.

Before I could legally vote, I loved politics and was fascinated by the presidents. Sis RoyalTurkey and I made up a game, called the President's Initial Game when we were about seven and eight respectively. She would turn to the Presidents section of our 1984 Funk and Wagnell's Encyclopedia and then give me a president's inititals and then I would guess who that president was! It was very exciting I tell you. During the 1992 Presidential election, I loved the Presidents unit in the fourth grade, and I learned many, many facts and myths about them. I was super excited about the collected biographies of Presidents and First Ladies that I received in the fifth grade for my eleventh birthday. I lectured my elementary school classmates about many political issues that I had very little knowledge about. I was heartbroken in 1996 when the Republicans took back Congress (ugh!), and I ranted and raved for days about Rick White beating Maria Cantwell for her House of Representatives seat (even though she was not in my district!). My senior year of high school, I so wanted to vote, even though my birthday was on Inauguration Day and therefore I would not be old enough to vote in the 2000 election. I threatened to move to France if Dubya got elected. My mother told me to calm down and stop exaggerating, and my AP Government teacher Ms. Kubic suggested that Finland might be a better option since they have an excellent socialized medicine program.

Then I went to college, and the obsession continued. I went to CMC because the school was proud of its Government program. I loved my U.S. President Class, not only because I learned many interesting things about Presidential history and political strategy, but also because now I am able to list all of the presidents in order (except I can never remember the 11th president). In that class, after learning about the Reagan backlash in 1986, I wished I had stronger political memories of 1986 so I could remember the Borking and general Democratic Congressional Dominance. (All I actually remember about 1986 was that I played with Barbies, started preschool, and bobbed for apples and unsuccessfully tried to hit a pinata at one of my many cousins' birthday parties back when I lived in California.) I stayed at the Ath for four hours with a bunch of my college classmates as we watched the 2004 election returns come in, and then I paced around my college apartment ranting and raving about those returns. All-in-all, I was a your garden variety political dork, surrounded by many others at good ole CMC. In fact I was one of the less politically active - since I was not an active member of the Claremont Democrats, I did not phone bank, and I did not prescinct walk. Maybe that was a sign of thing to come.

Here's a list of my shameful behavior and thoughts this election season:

I did not vote in the Democratic Primary. For some reason after I moved to Boston, I never got around to registering to vote in my district. Shameful, lazy, a disgrace to CMC grads everywhere, I know! Further, I did not have a strong opinion one way or the other about Obama or Clinton. They both had similar voting records and experience in the Senate. Also, for all of the hoopla about Obama being against the war in Iraq, once he got to the Senate he certainly voted for many of Bush's reccommended National Security bills including the renewal of the Patriot Act, just like Clinton! So really, we had two rather moderate democrats who had more charisma than past Democratic primary candidates. Further, the complaints about Clinton's "electibility" rubbed me the wrong way. The gist of the argument seemed to be that many people thought Clinton was a bitch and that was the reason they did not vote for her, and nobody would be saying that if a man had Clinton's personality. Also, I had no problem with Clinton fighting the primary as long as she did. The vote was pretty damn close, and I would have fought too. But that said, I was not really amazed by Clinton or Obama, and I could not decide.

I did not watch political coverage during the primary. This was supposedly one of the most heated primaries of all time, and I did not particularly care. What will I tell my grandchildren?

I did not watch the political conventions. In the battle between watching self-congratulatory fanfare of both parties and bad summer television, bad summer television won.

I did not watch one political debate. Then again, I always hated watching political debates, even back when I was a budding political wonk in elementary and middle school. The debates always seemed to be repetition of the same points, and then whining about small things, such as the hoopla over Bill Clinton not calling Bush 1, Mr. President, during the 1992 debates, during the 1996 debates. Also, by the time the primary season was over, I already knew I was going to be voting for Obama, so what was the point of watching? Especially since Project Runway was airing at the same time.

Both parties pandered to the public with their VP choices. And pandering has been a political strategy for centuries, so I did not understand the outcry.
When Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running-mate, many people in the media and bloggers ranted about how the Republicans were pandering to the moderate women who were upset that Clinton was not picked as Obama's running mate. First of all, of course they were pandering to people, politicians do that all the time. However, it was not a very effective pander, since Sarah Palin ran counter to all of John McCain's campaign slogans of being an experienced maverick. Since McCain is the oldest or one of the older presidential candidates of all time, I thought it might be a good idea to have a more moderate running mate, since many are afraid he'll die and might worry about a more conservative VP becoming President, and there is no major conservative third party threat. But he did not do that. He actually had a shot of getting the moderate vote before naming his running mate, but he certainly shot that all to hell. And managed to aliente some of the elites in his own party. Good going!

However Democrats pandered too! Their pick of Joe Biden basically reassured their more traditional base and some moderates, that not to worry, the Democrats have an old white man on their Presidential team too! I also thought that it definitely proved that Obama was going to pick Edwards before he got caught with pants down. Therefore, he had to go with the second best old white man who suffers from both asshole tone (more traditionally known as having a condescending, defensive tone of voice or sounding like a prick) and foot-in-mouth disease.

But, although I was apathetic, yet judgmental, all election season. I finally registered to vote here in good ole Central Illinois, and I will be voting for Obama at the B-N YMCA on Tuesday. Happy voting everyone! Avoid hanging and dimpled chads! Goodness, I was so apathetic this election season, I'm even using dated voting jokes. Sigh....

P.S. Since I'm getting political anyway: If you are registered to vote in California please vote "No" on Proposition 8 on Tuesday. There are good conservative and liberal arguments against it, so there's even a rationale for everyone! Everyone should have a right to get married to the person they choose and should have those benefits of being a married couple in the eyes of the law.

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