Monday, November 3, 2008

Nothing Left To Do But Vote, Vote, Vote... Whether You're A Real Or Fake American

I don't know about where you all live, but where I live here in Juneau, Alaska there is a huge excitement about this election. In the past few days I don't remember anyone talking about anything but the election. On one hand I'm a bit tired of the campaign and ready for it to be over, but for the most part I'm really excited that by the end of the day on Tuesday we will likely know who our next president is going to be.

The good news is that it's not going to be George W. Bush.

The polls of course all look very good for Obama and for large Democratic gains in the House and Senate. In fact of the 159 polls taken in the last 6 weeks John McCain has led in exactly zero of them. The actual vote is the only poll that matters though so get out and vote. If you're an Obama supporter don't take anything for granted. If you're a McCain supporter it doesn't look good, but it's only going to be worse if you don't vote.

Me? I voted early for Obama and this is by far the most excited I've ever been about a presidential candidate. I think Obama has a chance to be a very effective president, but more than that I think an Obama presidency has a chance to almost over night make us a stronger nation than we have been in a long time. In my mind the strength of our nation has very little to do with our economy or our military. Certainly it is important for us to have a strong economy and, for the time being, a strong military, but in many ways these are self-perpetuating "needs". The stronger our economy and our military become the more their strength is needed. At some point one needs to come to the realization that building up more financial wealth and a stronger military only leads to more enemies throughout the world and thus more need for money and power to protect ourselves from these enemies.

The real strength of our nation lies in the tolerance, optimism, equality, freedom, and opportunity to thrive that we have always liked to pretend every American is born with. An Obama victory would be a message to our country, and perhaps more importantly, to the world that we really do have an interest in these ideals which have been pushed to the back burner for a huge portion of our nation's history (and likely never more so than the past 8 years). For a more clear, more well written version of what I'm trying to say I highly recommend checking out this column.

Of course there is more (a lot more) to being president than simply inspiring hope in people, but when you see that the candidate who happens to be inspiring (arguably) more hope in people at home and abroad than any candidate we've had in over 40 years is also the candidate who actually talks about his specific plans rather than only talking almost entirely about the faults of his opponents plans. I don't agree with everything that Obama wants to do, but at least he's willing to talk with people about what he wants to do. I think maybe if John McCain had made his campaign a little more about himself and what he can do to help the people of this country and a LOT less about Barack Obama and why we should be afraid of him, he might not find himself in a position of needing a miracle today.

This bullshit about "real America" and "who is the real Barack Obama" and questions about Obama being a terrorist that McCain (and even more often Sarah Palin) have been peddling for several weeks now is completely ridiculous and should have on some level offended anyone who takes the time to think about the implications of comments like these. I don't necessarily think that McCain or Palin believe most of these things themselves, but I do think that they have tried to excite their supporters by making comments that have fueled the underlying bigotry and racism that many of their supporters have. I stop short of labelling either of them racist, but how much of a difference is there between being racist and using the racist tendencies of others to better your cause? Thankfully in this case it appears to have hurt their cause. If this election plays out the way that almost all polls and pundits are predicting I would suspect that those of us that McCain and Palin have essentially labelled as "fake America" might suddenly feel a lot more real to them.


Hone said...

I think both candidates are lame. One one hand you have someone who uses fear as a way of trying to scare people to vote for him and on the other hand you have someone that has literally never done anything except talk a smooth game. Both are for big goverment and will do nothing about the entitlement problem in America.

On to good news. Dave Johnston won the Cactus Rose 100 last weekend in Texas.

Anonymous said...

yeah... this election process has been exciting to follow. and illuminating. I've been able to see staunch republicans become so sick of G. W. that they are voting Obama, and the most liberal people I know refusing to vote at all, because they see no difference between the two candidates. Your blog entry and the first comment, kinda show how people are either excited, or not. Its been interesting, and we'll see...

Justin Angle said...

Exciting indeed. It's nice to see people voting FOR someone, rather than choosing the dreaded "lesser of two evils." I think that is why Obama has been out-polling McCain. Obama supporters are charged up about Obama, while McCain voters appear less excited about McCain and more concerned about voting against Obama. We'll see how it plays out...

Matt Hart said...

i can say that i admire obama as a man. i've never been able to say that about a presi.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Obama this morning, but mostly as a protest vote against Palin. I wish to keep her and others like her as far away from National public office as possible, as well as sending a message to the Republicans that if they put religous fundamentalists on the ticket, they will be defeated.
As far as Obama is concerned though, asking who he is as a politician is a valid question. Here is a link to his voting record as a Senator:

If you are wondering what all those "NV"s are, those are No Votes. There are an uncomfortable amount of those. He sure talks the talk, but as yet has refused to walk the walk.
I hope I am wrong but I get the feeling he is as slick as they come. He has also gotten everyone so excited that he can only fail to live up to the rediculously large expectations.

Basically this election boils down to no good condidates, and once again we vote for the lesser of two evils, even if alot of people seem to think that there is a good choice out there.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused why you all are so opposed to Palin? She enjoyed a 90% approval rating in Alaska at one point.

Are you really so out of touch with the norms in your state that you are included in that small 10%? Hell, GW's approval rating is higher than percentage in AK that disapprove of Palin's job as governor.

To me, you sound like the outlying fringe that do not represent mainstream opinions.

Letty said...

I'm a lurker and have been for a while...but thanks for the great reminder. You seem to have put into words exactly why I am voting for Obama!
I"m also super excited that people are actually getting out to vote!
It's about time people start to do their part.

Dave said...

I wrote the following yesterday.... (below) - have something to add
Geoff -

Hope you're above all the politics, and just keep at your individual lifestyle.

My experience is that most of the politicians, regardless of party, are in it for the power and not for helping people.

You strike me as an individualistic sort, and somewhat immune to all the grandstanding and "let's do what's best for society".

I read your blog both to learn about running and to share.

At age 45, I just set my PR last weekend for 50K. I keep learning and keeping an open mind - and try to stick to what's right for me, and not what the power-hungry do.


As an Illinois resident, I think you're going to be disappointed in Obama. He's from the Chicago machine, and very statist, often played to the power brokers.

He talks a good game, but I went third party.

I'll stop now. You're running stuff is great - keep it up. If you branch off into politics, I won't find it much value.

I agree with evanak.

Stephanie said...

Holding my nose and voting here; another person who thinks both candidates leave much to be desired.

Fonk said...

I've noticed that a lot of people will always posit that both candidates suck, and that they're always choosing the "lesser of two evils." They'll go on saying this in every Presidential election they ever vote in. It's like they're worried if they don't seem cynical, they'll seem doughy-eyed and naive.

It's OK to think that perhaps someone might be a good choice for a America, and not simply a less bad choice. It's OK to hope. And no, there is NO SUCH THING as a perfect politician. Putting one down for the mere fact that he is, in fact, a politician is like putting down cola for tasting like cola. Get over it. Yes, politicians have to calculate their risks, worry about their PR, etc. It doesn't make them ALL bad. But even the good ones still have to play the game if they want to achieve anything.

Anonymous said...

Drew said it right. Though I'm a dem at heart, There is something about obama that I can't get past. Something not genuine. So I was all set to vote for mcCain and then palin steps into the picture. Really BAD choice.
I guess now we'll see.
As much as I thought this would be a tough time to be president, I changed my mind. I now think this is a great time to be in that office as there is nowhere to go but up ;-).
Hopefully, I'm wrong about Obama and he will take us to great heights.

WynnMan said...

indeed Obama is inspiring for many reasons far beyond the political ranks. Politics aside, this is an inspiring day for people of all Nationalities and ages to finally embrace the the real portrait of America; a melting pot.

Thankfully GWB. is outta here, but more importantly Cheney!

Unknown said...

i agree with dave.

Anonymous said...

Not me -- I disagree with Dave. Whatever happens, while we are out their running and biking, we need a new direction for the country. And we weren't going to get it with Mavericky McCain/Palin who are, at best, retreads. If you are "above politics" you don't get a voice.

Vito said...

I have the greatest amount of respect in the world for John McCain and the sacrifices he has made out of love for country. I voted for Obama purely based on issues that were important to me.

I honestly think to even bring up the words racist and bigotry is totally inappropriate and unfair.

To be honest...there is plenty of that bullshit going on both sides of the isle brother, and until we stop as Americans stop accusing and pointing fingers at the other side it will always continue.

Geoff said...

i agree, you can solve a problem by sidestepping it and pretending it's not there. only problem with this is that it will take decades, if not centuries, longer than if you call a spade a spade and confront a problem head on.

in my mind this is one of the most inspiring things about an obama presidency. namely that it will almost certainly force people to confront racial issues and tendancies head on. will this create some short term hurt and tension for many people that could have easily been swept under the carpet and forgotten about for the time being? absolutely. but i believe that by several years from now (lets say 8 years) we have the potential to have eliminated much of these problems rather than having them waiting under the carpet to creep out and taint our society yet again.

Simon Kennett said...

Nicely said, Geoff.

WRT your faster second split in the 8k race - I used to get that when I did some duathlons and had sciatica. Perhaps a bigger/more intense warm-up might help? Quad stretches also worked for me - I'd try to isolate them to the quads (protecting the pelvis & lower back area) by lying face-down on the floor and reaching back for the left ankle with my right arm, etc.

Vito said...

Well put Geoff. I'm hoping for the best out of everyone.

Vito said...

Well put Geoff. I'm hoping for the best out of everyone.

camps said...

At the very least, we sent a positive message to the world.

It's been a really long time since America sent something good out there.

Anonymous said...