History in the Making

I have never before seen an inauguration, nor have I ever had any wish to. Politics, until this past year, simply failed to capture my interest. I knew I didn’t like Al Gore, but I didn’t know why; I knew that I did like Bill Clinton, but I didn’t know why.

I didn’t vote for Obama – excuse me, President Obama -, and looking back, I still would not have: I do not entirely trust the man. Part of it was reading about Obama snubbing Hilary – an issue that is still in debate (intentional or not?). It made me afraid that he had a bit of a temper. And Googling this issue did little to ease my mind (although, really, can I trust Google?).
Then there are the people with whom he has kept company. That isn’t a huge problem to me. Some people can befriend troublesome or controversial figures without actually being trouble themselves. Some people can’t. I don’t know what type of man President Obama is.
And finally – and this may be a little unfair – I don’t trust Chicago. Chicago has always had a hand in dirty politics, and it seems incredible to think that this man who was completely immersed in the dirty world of Chicago politics would be able to make a clean exit. Of course, this remains to be seen, and we must accept that all politicians are almost certainly somewhat crooked.

In spite of my trepidations, I was pleased for President Obama today. I clapped for him, I cheered for him, and I listened to him until I had to leave for class (I was tempted to skip class, but it’s the second week, so no). I thought it was adorable that he stumbled over his oath, because I think that shows he is not just a leader of this great country, but that he is also human.
I imagine his wife is just as proud as he is. Perhaps prouder.

I know some people who refused to watch the inauguration, which I can hardly imagine. In spite of one’s feelings towards President Obama, today was truly history in the making, a day for America and Americans to be proud of, to remember, to celebrate.

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Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet Jen the College Student

I tell you, I’m going to be really glad when the elections are over, even if Obama wins. I’m just sick of having nothing to write about other than politics.

Anyway, have you heard of Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber is ridiculously famous (real name: Joe Wurzelbacher).
Look, I’ll prove it!

Last weekend, while Barack Obama was canvassing for support in the small town of Holland, Ohio, the Democratic nominee ran into a tall, bald man, since dubbed Joe the plumber. He asked Obama if he believed in the American Dream — he said he was about to buy a company that makes more than $250,000 a year and was concerned that the Democratic nominee would tax him more because of it.

Obama explained his tax plan in depth, saying it’s better to lower taxes for Americans who make less money, so that they could afford to buy from his business. John McCain attacked Obama for this exchange, saying the Illinois senator is trying to “spread the wealth around.”

“We’re going to take Joe’s money, give it to Senator Obama, and let him spread the wealth around. I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around,” McCain said. He added, “Why would you want to increase anybody’s taxes right now? Why would you want to do that to anyone, anyone in America, when we have such a tough time?”

Joe the plumber was mentioned 11 times at the beginning of the debate, nine times by McCain and twice by Obama.

Hi! I’m Jen the College Student! Nobody really talks about me, but I exist. And I think that raising taxes is a way of life. Even if you find someone who’s willing to lower taxes, the lowered taxes will not last. Period.
So fine, tax me less right now, because I have No Income. Tax me more later, if I become a Rich White Girl. Tax me more right now if you must, because I’m a Poor White College Student, and we’re used to not having any money!
Let me just say, though, that if McCain is serious about not raising taxes, I’ll take it, even if it’s only temporary. And if he says it but doesn’t mean it, I don’t care, because it wouldn’t be a huge surprise.

Side note: Although Joe the Plumber evidently hasn’t disclosed who’s getting his vote, I got a kick out of Fox’s headline: Voter Confronts Sen Obama Over his Tax Plan. Makes it sound angrier than it actually was, see? Anyway, that’s irrelevant.
~~~~
You watch that debate? McCain’s doing better. According to the poll, Obama’s got the lead, but I happen to not trust the polls. I’ve never been polled, I believe in the Bradley Effect, and I think that while people are ready to vote in a black president, a lot of people are uncomfortable with Obama being the one.

Found an interesting article on Reuters comparing the body language of the two candidates. Here it is, complete with my opinions (it’s funner that way).

OBAMA

– Wore an American flag pin and a shiny red tie with white stripes. Lame! That is so lame. What’s even worse is that people might actually fall for it. If you want to be patriotic, BE patriotic. It’s like wearing a “WWJD?” bracelet all over again.

– Sighed occasionally and chuckled frequently when McCain said something with which he disagreed. Annoying.

– Laughed out loud when McCain said his campaign was about the economy directly after pressing Obama about his relationship with Bill Ayers, a 1960s radical. Rude and annoying.

– Smiled broadly and wished congratulations to McCain when the Arizona senator spoke about a home state sports team’s recent victory. Very nice.

– Referred to McCain by his first name, John. Okay, I guess. McCain did the opposite. I don’t have a strong opinion either way.

– Looked directly at the camera when making his opening and closing statement and when discussing many of his campaign proposals. Very good.

MCCAIN

– Wore a dark navy tie with white stripes. Not quite as bad as the American flag get-up, but pretty close.

– Referred to his opponent as “you” when looking at Obama but never called him by his first name, preferring “Senator Obama” instead. Again, no strong opinion.

– Seemed antsy in his chair, gestured frequently with his hands, and played with his “sharpie” pen. That’s adorable! I love Sharpie pens! But maybe he shouldn’t have fidgeted, as that’s distracting and makes him look unprepared.

– Addressed the camera directly and spoke to “Joe” the plumber, who took on a life of his own as an invisible third participant at the debate. Cool.

– Raised his eyebrows and occasionally interrupted when Obama said things he disagreed with. RUDE.

– Sometimes tripped over his words, saying referring once to “Fannie and Freddie Mae” when he meant mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Understandable; I do that all the time.

– Said “good job, good job” to Obama at the end of the debate when the two candidates shook hands again.  Very nice.

So, both candidates are capable of being jerks and being nice. Go figure. What did we learn? Nothing. Except that subliminal patriotic messaging should be banned.

Oh, and the best line ever? “Senator Obama, I am not president Bush. If you want to run against president Bush, you should have done so four years ago.”
Damn straight!

 

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 9:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Taking More than Nothing

Two of my favorite books are Alice in Wonderland andThrough the Looking Glass. The stories are filled with odd and witty conversations. You have to read almost every line at least three times before you “get it.”

One of the best lines comes from a conversation between Alice and the Mad Hatter:
Alice: I’ve had nothing yet, so I can’t take more.
The Hatter: You mean you can’t take less; it’s very easy to take more than nothing.

What Alice means, of course, is that she can’t have more of nothing. The Hatter, perhaps inadvertently, twists her meaning, implying that she was saying you can’t have more than nothing.
Maybe it’s Alice’s fault; after all, she didn’t clarify. But I’m a bit cynical, so I like to think that the Hatter was tripping her up on purpose. He knew what she meant, that sneaky little Hatter, and he went and twisted her words anyway!

You know who else does that? McCain. Or, at the very least, McCain’s campaign workers (who are reflections of McCain, whether he wants them to be or not).
I’ll bet Obama does, too, but I’m not talking about him right now. I’ll rant about him another day.

There are two instances I’m stewing over. The first is the Lipstick Ad, which has been pulled off YouTube; I believe you can still access the ad on McCain’s site. The ad accuses Obama of calling Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig.” And at the end, there’s a quote from Katie Couric talking about the “continued and accepted role of sexism in American life.”
The ad closes with a picture of Obama & this caption: “Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes.” (Haha, lipstick smears! Pun!)

According to this ad, not only did Obama call Palin a “lipstick-wearing pig,” he also outraged Katie Couric by doing so. It certainly would be a smear tactic from Obama…if it were true.
Yet funnily enough, Couric wasn’t talking about Obama or Palin or McCain. She was discussing the Democratic primary coverage of Hillary Clinton.
As for the analogy of a lipstick-wearing pig, Obama said nothing about Palin. Here’s what he really said –

John McCain says he’s about change, too, and so I guess his whole angle is, “Watch out George Bush.” Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics … That’s not change. That’s just calling something the same thing, something different.
But you know … you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You know, you can … wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years.

They’re actually great analogies, although it would have been better for his image if he said, “You can put a golden ring on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” which is a Biblical reference.
Anyway, you can see from the quote that Obama was talking about McCain’s policies, not his running mate.

Obama’s response? “Keep in mind that technically had I meant it this way — she would be the lipstick,” and McCain’s policies would be the pig. I think it would have been kind of sweet if he called her lipstick. He could even pick out a nice, pretty shade to call her.

But keeping all of that in mind, don’t you think it’s a bit rich for McCain’s people to get all worked-up after the comment, considering that Palin recently compared herself, as a hockey mom, to a pit bull (“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”)?

Sadly, it doesn’t end there. McCain has also recently released another ad campaign focused on smear tactics, expressing outrage that Obama supports “comprehensive sex education” for kindergarten students. To understand this, you’ll have to travel back to 2003, when an Illinois bill hoping to modify the sex education laws was introduced. It received a fair amount of support, including from Illinois PTAs, State Medical Society, Public Health Association, and the Education Association.
And yes, Obama voted for it, but the bill wasn’t saying, “I know! Let’s hand out condoms in kindergarten! Yay sex!”
First, it would have made the sex education in question voluntary, allowing parents the option to withdraw their children, which makes sense.
Second, Obama said back in 2004 that the idea was to protect children from sex predators. He claims to known friends & family members who were abused sexually at a very young age (which I believe).
Third, the heavy topics – intercourse, homosexuality, and contraception/safe sex – would have been reserved for the older students.

The Lipstick Ad, that’s just annoying and slightly amusing, particularly since McCain got caught. The distortion of the sex education legislature, on the other hand, is sick and shameful. McCain’s people took a good, wholesome idea and proclaimed it to be something entirely different.

 

The Mad Hatter policy; that’s the McCain way.

 ~~~~~

If you’re searching for a positive side about the whole sex education thing, at least McCain didn’t say anything as blatantly stupid as Mitt Romney. Check out this Romney quote (from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/77496.php):

Sen. Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten. How much sex education is appropriate for a five-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number.

Bully for you, Romney! You just implied that to teach kids the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” is dangerous information.

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Antichrist (or not)

(Let me just say that I am not really an Obama supporter. I’m not planning on voting for him. But this anti-Obama stuff is just getting ridiculous.)

Did you hear the news? Obama is a TERRORIST. He must be. Because he’s a closet MUSLIM. And all MUSLIMS are TERRORISTS.
Or not.

I don’t really know whether Obama was ever a practicing Muslim or not. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if our nation’s leader is a Christian, agnostic, atheist, Muslim, or Taoist. It doesn’t matter.

I know a lot of Christians, and some “Christians,” are going to disagree with me there, pulling out examples from the Bible and maybe even from history of “godless” nations that are destroyed, evidently because of their lack of faith. Nevermind the fact that, sooner or later, all nations get replaced; it must be the hand of God, every time.
Well, maybe it is.

Until you can prove it, though – which you’ll never be able to do – I’m just going to go right along saying that in this nation, this pretty much excellent nation that claims to allow all sorts of beliefs – it doesn’t matter. Frankly, I’m all for the separation of church & state to begin with. And for another thing, even if Obama is a Muslim, he’s not a bloody terrorist. And let’s just say that he gets elected as President and then unveils his true colors as the ANTICHRIST and subsequently declares that Islam will be that nation’s religion…

Do you really think it would stick? Do you think he could get away with it? Do you think he would even survive 24 hours after such a proclamation? No! Of course not!

Some people have even gotten on his case because of his middle name: Hussein. He was named after his grandfather, a devout Muslim.
I was almost named Polly Esther (no joke). Does that mean that I would have worn nothing but polyester for my entire life? Yeah, not so much. You can’t decide what your parents name you, and it’s really not uncommon for a child to be named after a close relative.

But anyway, maybe Obama is or was a Muslim. Still doesn’t matter to me.

Then again, maybe he’s NOT a Muslim. Maybe it’s just a bunch of hype seeping out from some McCain supporters and, of course, some religious folks. I read this one blog – Thoughts from a Conservative Christian. I read quite a few blog entries, but my favorite was all about how eeeeeevil Obama is, that dirty MUSLIM.
This was the best part:

In 1971, Obama enrolled in the Besuki Primary School, a government school, as Barry Soetoro, Muslim.
All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school and a young Barry Soetoro, being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school.

Wow! “Barry” was essentially forced to study Islam. How dare he?! I don’t know know if it’s true that all Indonesian students are required to study religion – the Conservative Christian blog got the info from another blog – but the blogger in question certainly seems to believe it. And later we get this gem:

According to Islamic scholars, reciting the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, makes one a Muslim. This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim’s complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam. Obama chanted it with pride and finesse.

This, of course, is entirely similar to the idea that calling on the name of Jesus Christ will redeem you. But even though Obama’s done that…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he recited the Shahada (and I think one can safely assume he didn’t just randomly volunteer such information; if I’m wrong, let me know). For all I/we know, Obama doesn’t believe that reciting the Shahada makes you a Muslim. I mean, I could recite it right now and I wouldn’t consider myself a Muslim. Mr. Conservative Christian Blogger apparently doesn’t take this idea into consideration.

By the way…let’s just say, again, for the sake of argument, that Obama really was a devout Muslim who changed his religion so that he could fulfill his dream of becoming President.
Does that sound like something an extremist would do?

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm  Comments (6)  
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