Posts Tagged ‘mccain’

Reason #6: Social Responsibility Isn’t Socialism

October 30, 2008

While I’ve written a bit on this before, I just have to return to the idea of wealth. Who has it and wants to keep it, who doesn’t have it and wants to taste just a morsel of the pie of life.

Perhaps it is the minivan I see almost daily at my daughter’s school that has a large “No Socialism, Vote McCain” painted on it by hand.

Perhaps I’m thinking about this a lot because last night I was subjected to the latest Palin ranting, “Barack Obama is going to redistribute your wealth.” Then, of course, she linked this redistribution to taxes (click here for a nice break-down of the two candidates’ positions, complete with a cast of characters).

Whatever the reason, this wealth redistribution stuff, which is being uttered a lot in the waning days of the campaign, strikes me as offensive on many, many levels. However, let’s just examine two points:

1. This doesn’t make sense! All of these claims of socialism and redistribution are sensationalistic ploys. As Obama has said, time and time again, he defines “wealthy” as those making $250,000 or more per year. So do I. I just firmly believe that those who are doing pretty well financially, who can make their mortgage payments and have food on the table every night, have a social and moral responsibility to help out those who aren’t in this state. I have had countless advantages in life – a stable family, a great education, good physical and mental health, and a solid support network of friends, to mention just a few – and I’m not making $250,000 per year even with these advantages! Imagine those who haven’t had the half of this.

Its just a big lottery of life, and we need to take care of those who didn’t get the lucky numbers. That’s why Obama’s idea of wealth and taxes, which would work toward closing the gap between the haves and the have nots, doesn’t offend me or incite fear as it does in the Republician ticket. It’s the socially responsible thing to do.

2. This brings me to my second point – the recent comments about “wealth distribution” really irk me on creepier, more insidious level. This is because it seems that McCain and Palin are trying to shift our value system as a society. It appears they are trying to strip us of our empathy towards others.

I’m not the only one with this view. Here are a few takes on that line you’ve probably heard about how a society will be judged by how it treats its poor…

From Confucius:
In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of.
In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.
From James Baldwin (an African American writer):
Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
From Jean-Paul Sartre:
When the rich wage war it is the poor who die.

And, one of my favorite’s from that little powerhouse of a nun, Mother Teresa:

At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’

Herein lies what really scares me about the position the Republicans are taking toward wealth – they can’t picture themselves as hungry, naked, or homeless. Even today, in an economic crisis that is scaring the bejezus out of many folks, they insist that we don’t need to consider those less fortunate. And that, to me, just seems wrong.

– Colleen, mother of three from Boulder, Colorado, who hopes she can become proud of how our country treats those occupying the lowest rungs of the economic totem pole.

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Reason #11: He’s NOT out Shopping…

October 25, 2008

When Sarah Palin was nominated to be McCain’s Vice President she did what any smart, busy woman would logically do. She went shopping.

Let me repeat that, she didn’t spend her time reading, studying, debating, heck, thinking about what this meant in her life (as well as if, honestly, she really belonged in this role). She went shopping.

$150,000+ worth, on the Republican National Party’s tab.

Yeah, yeah, now that this has been exposed, Palin and the RNC are saying it will go to charity at the end of the campaign. There even seem to be some lost receipts, after this shocking tab came out stores can’t find their records

Other Disturbing Facts:

Sarah’s make up artist is earning more than McCain’s foreign policy advisor.

She’s in good company with Cindy McCain who spent $300,000 on a “party ensemble” (what is that even?).

The First Dude is taking on a new look, and even baby Trig got a $295 pram. Is she moving from Alaska to rural England or something?

Heck, Palin can’t even perform on Saturday Night Live without haggling over her wardrobe!

Folks, this is ridiculous.

The most disturbing aspect is that this seems to be a grand ploy to get us to stop thinking about the issues on this campaign and concentrate on Sarah’s latest fashion sense, haircut, and new snaz.

Even if she only spent a few hundred thousand dollars to raise millions, (’cause, let’s remember, she’s a “regular gal“). this is emblematic of a disconnect in values and, on a more sinister level, indicative of what they think of us, the people. This seems to be a grand ploy to get us to stop thinking about the issues on this campaign and concentrate on Sarah’s new look. They think we’ll buy this miracle make-over and forget about the issues.

Well, I’m insulted.

And finally, gals, as Chris Matthews so aptly says, this is the attempt to “remake” the Hockey Mom. Which, as we must recall, is the very identity which Palin is touting!

Well true hockey moms are smart, sassy, and they don’t need a make-over.

Let’s vote Obama. And keep our wardrobes, which are mighty fine just as is, intact.

– Colleen, a mama in Boulder who likes to shop with the best of ’em, but favors consignment stores and has the best fashion consultants a gal could dream of, good friends and a snazzy husband.

Reason #13: Dinosaurs, God, and Science in Schools

October 23, 2008

Our nation is going down. Down in science. The puck is whizzing past us while we stand around with our sticks in the air. It’s ugly.

McCain is supposedly “waffling” on whether Creationism (and/or Intelligent Design, which, per Molly our scientist here , is “equally problematic, just wrapped up in a little cloak”) and Evolution should be taught, side by side, in our schools (though he has certainly come out strong for Creationism in the past). And we all know where Palin stands on this issue. How can you “waffle” on this?

Here are a few reasons we view “waffling” as problematic:

1. There is a significant difference between McCain and Obama on this issue. One guy doesn’t know what he thinks. The other believes that Creationism has no place in our schools. Obama states, “I think it’s a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don’t hold up to scientific inquiry.”

The question is whether or not Creationism/Intelligent Design should be treated as an equal to Evolution. Science is driven by hypotheses. Creationism and Intelligent Design are devoid of hypotheses. Evolution, on the other hand, has a number of hypotheses that have been tested – through time – by numerous scientists.

Can you believe we have Presidential candidates who actually want to introduce “non-science” in the classroom. Oh yeah, global warming isn’t really happening anyway, right?!!

This is not only sad for the future of science, but sad for our children. Those little hockey playing buggers. What are we teaching them – that critical thought doesn’t matter?!

2. This approach is dangerous – perilous even – as our country slips behind in the standings in science. We’re behind Europe and Asia. Science and technology have had a place in our country for a long time. Think model T. Think of the computer. Think of that very essential element in any hockey game – the Zamboni. If this trend continues, we won’t be making new Zambonis in this country. We’ll be depending on inventors from elsewhere.

3. Furthermore, this approach to science – giving religion a place in our schools – completely denies the separation of church and state, which requires that the government not endorse one religion over another, or religion over non-religion. Certainly, we can all believe what we’d like, but teaching religion in the schools isolates some beliefs while embracing others.

So challenge your kids to reach new levels of science. Vote Obama.

– Molly, an evolutionary biologist who always wanted to ride atop a Zamboni and is fired up about the dismal decline of science in our country, and Colleen, who didn’t do so well in her science classes but does understand that humans didn’t have pet dinosaurs

Reason #19: McAnger vs. Zen and the Art of Campaigning

October 17, 2008

When watching the Obama-McCain debates, anyone in my home knows that I’ve always wanted Obama to be a little more forceful, to maybe do a little cross-checking and “stick it to McCain” when he insults and disparages him. Not rudely, of course, but just to show a little debating style, like we all learned in high school, a little “ummph.”

I’ve changed my tune.

In this past week I found myself finding Obama’s calm, collected disposition appealing, actually. He doesn’t appear ruffled, even when someone is insulting his intelligence or ability to serve as president.

In fact, as McCain compared his “feeling hurt” by a public comparison he didn’t like to what Obama has endured through racist comments on his life at McCain rallies, Obama didn’t get pissed. Perhaps he’s planning a third book on Zen and the Art of Campaigning

But folks, here’s a little – disturbing – glimpse into McCain’s temperament. A picture of how he treats others. Its kind of scary.

So, as we head into the weekend, and continue to have more spirited conversations with friends and family members about one of the biggest elections of our lives. Let’s try to stay cool. To breathe.

Let’s try to be “Obama-like” in fact.

Just possibly, this will bring a little more dialogue, and peace, to both our inner and outer worlds.

By the way, if you want more indications of McAnger, check out:

McCain’s language and others’ perceptions

McCain-Obama interaction

McCain getting worked by Letterman last night

– Colleen, a mama in Boulder whose three kids constantly challenge her state of inner peace

Reason #20: Of Plumbers, Wealth, and Government

October 17, 2008

The other day a friend mentioned a conversation he had just had with his father. In a moment of somewhat spirited debate between them his dad sputtered out, “Well, If Obama was in office now, all of our money will be going to the poor people!”

Wow.

What struck me about this comment was the visceral fear it unmasked. People are scared. They’re scared that “the government” will take their hard earned money, like a caped guy with RH on the back, coming in the dark of night. They’re scared that capitalism will turn into socialism.

Most of all, they’re scared that the American Dream – work hard and you’ll be duly rewarded – will sail away from them to some other promised shore.

Then, last night, we met Joe the Plumber. Perhaps he is cousin to Joe Six-Pack?

Joe is scared too, like my friend’s dad. His fear is even paralyzing him from deciding who to vote for this election. The problem, however, is that Joe is supposed to represent the “every-person” of this election. Your neighbors. Yourselves. We are supposed to identify with him because (a) his name is “Joe,” and (b) he’s a plumber. Not a lawyer or a banker or a doctor, but a regular guy (apparently, most of us have an antiquated view of plumbers…).

And of course, Joe is a man.  I wonder if John McCain would’ve put air quotes around Joe’s “health?”

But let’s just think about Joe’s hard earned wealth for a moment.

First off, as we’ve mentioned before, definitions of what is rich differ vastly. As we know, for Obama wealth is defined as earning more than $250,000 per year. McCain puts it at $5,000,000 per year (no, no, the zero key on my computer didn’t get stuck).

So yes, by Obama’s definition Joe, our dear plumber, is kind of a wealthy guy if he truly does earn more than $250,000 per year as a plumber (is anyone else predicting that there will be a run on applications for plumbing trade school this coming year?). And I’d suspect most of us would agree that $250,000 a year doing pretty well. As another friend said recently, if you’re making this much, why wouldn’t you want to spread it around a little?

Well folks (said in my best Palin accent), I’m urging you to pause amidst these debates on Joe and wealth to remember the reason we’re so fired up about this election. The point of this whole process is to decide what YOU want your government, and your money, to stand for.

Behind “the government” loom real people with real ideals, values, and, dare I say, even some expertise (I know, I know, despite the jokes about “government workers” and “good enough for government work”!)? As Bill Maher said on Larry King Live tonight when discrediting Palin’s qualifications for the Vice Presidency, it used to be that “you had to know things to be in the government!”

I encourage you to pause for a brief moment and reflect on what your ideal government would look like. This election is our chance to move, a little bit more, in this direction.

Think about who’s ideals and values and integrity you’re most aligned with.

Then think about privilege.

Think about whether, if you arrived at the $250,000 annual salary, perhaps it was because you landed on one of those squares in life that came with certain – random – privileges like class, race, education, upbringing, geography.

Then think about those “poor people” that my friend’s father is scared of. Is it just possible that they landed on another square in the game of life?

Is it even possible that we can have other definitions of what makes a person wealthy? Things like education, health…even service to others.

So as you lie down tonight, ponder the meaning of government. And dream about what makes you rich. I’m betting its about much more than money.

– Colleen, mother of three in Boulder who is rich in family and friends.

Reason #25: The Supreme Court, aka, the effects of this year’s presidential election will reverberate for much longer than four years

October 11, 2008

The Supreme Court is teetering.

Two of the three remaining non-conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court are nearing retirement age.

The next president will likely have the opportunity to achieve one of two things during his tenure: move toward a measured diversity of opinion on the Supreme Court, or tip the Court so far to one side that no balance remains in determining the laws of the land.

After the infamous Couric interviews, it’s clear that Sarah Palin has no idea what the Supreme Court does!

But, John McCain certainly does and has stated explicitly that, if he has the opportunity to appoint judges, he will use Samuel Alito and John Roberts as his “models,” statistically two of the most conservative Supreme Court justices ever to sit on the bench.

A recent academic study demonstrated that Supreme Court justices, in spite of their reputation for impartiality, actually vote along ideological lines. Big surprise!

A quick look at the issues on the presidential candidates’ websites reveal what these ideological lines would be.   The McCain/Palin website features a section on “Dignity and Human Life” which translates simply as anti-choice, anti-gay, and anti-stem cell research.  Their site does not even mention “Civil Rights,” an issue which appears first on Obama’s list.

Other notable omissions from McCain’s top list of issues: Women, Poverty, Rural America, Disabilities, Seniors, and perhaps most frightening, Family.

If McCain/Palin win this election, the perspective framing some of the most important decisions of our country’s future will be just that – ONE perspective.

And a limited one at that.

Whether you count yourself as conservative, liberal, or neither, this seems like an untenable position for a democratic society.

I urge you to look carefully at both candidates’ websites to understand their priorities and where you fit – or don’t fit – into them.

– Ann, a mountain momma from Sugarloaf, Colorado, who is NOT teetering in her support for Obama!

Reason #26: Mudslinging, Silence, and the Princess Bride

October 10, 2008

INCONCEIVABLE! (uttered in our best Princess Bride accent!)

The McCain-Palin ticket is so incredibly desperate that they are trying to divert our attention to lies, hysteria, and things that just flat-out don’t make sense. Why can’t they spend their time on real issues?

Let’s look at the Bill Ayers situation. Would you want to be held accountable for the actions of other people? For the deeds they did 40 years ago? Come on!

Obama has spoken out vehemently against the violence of Ayers group when they were protesting the Vietnam War in the past. Today Ayers is a Distinguished Professor at one of the most respected universities in the country. He won the 1997 “Citizen of the Year” award by Mayor Daley and the city of Chicago. And, he served on the Annenberg Challenge for education with Obama.

Oh, but wait! Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood. That must mean a strong connection, right? Have you checked out your neighbors – ‘cause with this problematic line of thought, you’re responsible for their politics and their actions!

Should Leonore Annenberg (who endorses McCain) be chastised for running a foundation that supports terrorists?

Is every student Ayers teaches at the University of Chicago a terrorist-in-training?

Perhaps the University of Chicago is a terrorist training ground?

Does this line of thought strike you as absurd?

We thought so. Such abhorrent associational grappling by the McCain-Palin ticket is beyond bad sportsmanship, its the political equivalent of something for which you should be thrown out of the game. Ejected.

According to none other than Fox News, however, voters aren’t buying it: read here about how Obama’s numbers haven’t been hurt by this below-the-belt insinuation.

And now that your shackles are raised on the obnoxiously false claims of terrorist associations, uttered through the words of McCain and Palin, let’s just mention a more insidious form of their political desperation – silence.

At recent McCain and Palin rallies people have been shouting reprehensible things.

Obama has been called a “terrorist” (wonder where they got that farfetched and ludicrous idea, ahem, see above)…

Others have uttered worse things that make the hair on the back of our necks stand up, like “kill him”.

What the *&%^ is going on here folks?!

And what did the presidential and vice-presidential candidates do? Cry out that this was a reprehensible comment? Take a stand?

Nope. They were silent.

Well we’re not gonna be.

Raise your sticks and give a cry out in solidarity with truthful, real words.  In solidarity with Obama.

Let’s tell McCain and Palin to come back when they have something real to say, or when they are ready to stand up for the racist, fear-mongering, violence-inciting insults by their sick and twisted fans.

Otherwise, they should just pack their bags and head on home.

– Colleen, a momma in Boulder who is rarely silent.

p.s.–did you not click on the Princess Bride link? Go back, click on it. Better yet, click right here for a brilliant redoing of the Princess bride for Election 2008. We’re talking Al Gore as Inigo Montoya, Bill Clinton as Fezzik and more.