I can barely stomach the news from the presidential campaigns, now in its 473rd consecutive month. Even reading the headlines is enough to make me feel a bit green around the gills. The one that prompted this post was “Sexism, Racism, which is worse?” and promises of discussing the fact that Hil’s campaign claims Obama’s is sexist, and Obama’s saying Hil is racist. Blah, blah, blah.
There is no clear winner at this point for me, personally, and certainly not for the citizenry. If the contest were for the most self-interested and juvenile human being on national television, the competition is tight and I’d be hard-pressed to choose one from the gaggle of candidates that have told me little other than that they want to be president, and how bad the other guy/gal is. This is not enough to make me want to vote for you. Making yourself look good by putting others down is the last, sad resort of those who have low self-esteem, and it is no way to make friends and influence people. That the people who would style themselves the putative leaders of the free world use this as their strategy of choice speaks volumes.
Race and gender issues are a given in this election, as for the first time in our history do we have a black man and a woman who are real contenders for the highest office in the nation. But to any thinking person, race and gender issues should be a part of your consideration of ANY candidate. If your future president has no problem dismissing the concerns of any section of the citizenry, s/he is not a suitable candidate. We don’t have 14 different presidents by interest group and demographic (you’re thinking of the Senate); we have one, and if that one isn’t interested in a more perfect union, preferring instead to be divisive, then I’ve got no use for him or her.
Here’s what I want to know, and the candidate that can answer my questions to my satisfaction will have my vote. I direct them to the Democratic candidates, because I am highly unlikely to vote for Republicans, nor do I think that the R’s care to address my issues, but if they’re willing, I’m willing to listen.
- I don’t care what you have to say about ending the war when you are president. The pertinent question is, why haven’t you already? Of 5 candidates, 3 are currently in Congress. Obama and Clinton are U.S. Senators; Kucinich is a Representative. Biden and Dodd, now out of contention, are sitting Senators. If 5 Democratic Senators powerful enough to run for the presidency and to expect to get their party’s nomination cannot bring enough pressure to bear on the body they are a part of to end this god-forsaken war that they hold the purse-strings for, then what makes them think that as President they’ll be able to? We’re fighting in Iraq. We’re fighting in Afghanistan. Bushy’s rattling his saber, literally, about Iran now. Congress has the power to stop this war today. Why should I believe you’ll do something about it a year from now when you have the power to do something about it now and you won’t?
- How do you rationalize the practice of not imposing tax sanctions on those who take jobs and bank accounts out of the United States to avoid taxes? When is it going to stop? I heard it growing up, and I heard it at my first job: If it’s good enough for you to earn your money here, it’s good enough for you to spend it here. Bush would rather cut funding for the health care of the poorest children in the nation than rescind tax cuts for the richest individuals and corporations in the nation. And Congress lets him.
- How do you respond to my disappointment, and that of millions of Americans, who voted in a Democratic Congress in a hope for real change, only to be faced with business as usual? We gave you our votes in good faith; you haven’t acted on your part of the bargain. I know you’re busy campaigning, but as far as I know, we’re still paying most of you to do a job as our representatives. Do it. It’s the right thing to do, morally, and politically. If you don’t follow through with the promises you made 2 years ago, why on earth would we believe the ones you’re making now?
- What is it going to take for you to discuss your true feelings and plans on issues instead of pandering to individual audiences? Mitt Romney tells the people in Michigan that there’s no reason for Americans to be buying foreign cars, and gets a big hand, despite the fact that it’s common knowledge that American companies are having their cars and parts made in other countries, Chrysler is owned by Germans, and that Toyota and Nissan have opened plants here, hiring Americans. Yes, he’s on the other team, but you all do it. Please. If you’re going to be that obvious about it, why don’t you just go ahead and offer free porn and puppies to citizens for their vote. I know your chief concern is getting elected, but there are many of us who would actually like to know where you stand before we’re willing to make that possible. I admired Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota. I didn’t agree with his politics in general, but he said what he really felt, however unpopular it might be, and did what he said he’d do. You can talk about integrity all you want, but it don’t mean a thing if you never display any.
- When will you stop being cowed by the religious wrong? I yearn for an actual liberal candidate who actually believes in the things America stands for: freedom of (and from other people’s) religion, self-determination, equality under the law. A true democrat (small ‘d’—someone actually interested in a democracy), a true liberal, would not shrink from providing federal protection to gay citizens, guaranteeing that they have the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as all other adult citizens. The “Defense of Marriage Act” is indefensible and you know it; marriage is not under attack except from within. The citizens targeted by it are, however, and while you cannot change everyone’s heart and mind, you can make the nation wiser and greater than a single bigot. Your attempts to say this is a “state’s rights” issue is just you trying to weasel out of taking a stand (see #4). It is not, and we have a “full faith and credit” clause in the Constitution. You remember the Constitution, right? Civil rights: They’re not just for white hetero male folk anymore. Your unwillingness to move on this issue tells me you don’t understand the first thing about freedom, and have no business running this country.
- What do you intend to do about the deservedly terrible international reputation this government and this nation have earned in the last 8 years? We used to be a beacon of freedom and hope to people across the globe. Now we’re known universally as a selfish, short-sighted, greedy bully. Even our friends don’t want to stand too close, and it grieves me. What is your plan for mending fences?
- When are you going to repeal the Patriot Act? And how will you guarantee that such an affront to civil rights (there’s that pesky Constitution again!) never happens again?
- Are you going to have the same difficulty defining and discussing torture as the current administration? It’s wrong. You know it is.
- When are you going to ratify the Kyoto Treaty and start taking environmental issues seriously? Along with that, what concrete plans do you have to reduce America’s dependence on oil? We don’t need another study or another committee to look at the problem, unless it’s on the the continuing American dependence on oil being directly proportional to the continuing American politico’s dependence on big business donations. This problem isn’t going away; but the oil supply is.
- When are you going pay our dues to the U.N.? Before they kick us out and move the U.N. to The Hague?
- Are any of you strong enough, smart enough, wise enough, and humane enough to represent THIS citizen?