Friday, September 12, 2008

Turning Off:

My parents--two born-and-bread white southerners--morphed into liberals during the Civil Rights Movement. They raised me to value equality and justice. They raised me to believe that to whom much is given, much is required. They raised me to be a left-wing Democrat.

* * *

For all the elections of my voting life, I've said that I might move to Canada if the party I was not supporting (ie, the Republicans) won the election.

Ok, Ok: I know Canada doesn't want to make new citizens of disaffected American voters just on a whim.

Well, I pretty much knew I wasn't even going to try, too. The United States is my home and I honestly cannot imagine just throwing in the towel out of anger that democracy isn't going my way at the moment. That is not what DEMOCRACY is even about. But the idea of turning my back on the whole country sometimes got me through some difficult moments.

* * *

Dukakis, the Democratic candidate when I was in college, lost the presidential election--to my absolute surprise. I was living in a lefty neighborhood in Massachusetts and could not imagine anyone voting for George H.W. Bush.

I did not actually move after the election, of course, and I survived those four years in the United States. I got involved in pacifist organizations and the feminist movement and the queer movement--and my anger turned into motivation for change even if it had to take place outside national politics.

I lived in a lovely lefty-hippie neighborhood in North Carolina when Harvey Gantt ran against *Jesse Helms in 1990. I did not know a single person who supported Helms--and absolutely could not imagine anyone actually voting for Helms. Gantt was smart and progressive and clearly a leader on a path the state should take.

Again, I was wrong. And hey, I did leave North Carolina (albeit for different reasons).

* * *

I didn't move after George W. Bush was appointed president, or even after the second fiasco four years later.

Nevertheless, I have never fully accepted that Bush is actually my president.

(I know that statement will rule out my chances to ever run for office...as if they were not already ruined by my dangerously evil pacifist commitments or my belief in non-chromosome-defined love.)

* * *

I said after McCain was chosen in the Republican primary that even if Obama did not win this election, I could honestly say I would not leave the country and would acknowledge that the guy was actually my president. I mean, I disagree with him an awful lot of the time, but hey...he's not Bush.

But...but...

Well, I guess things have changed.

As I said to my partner David last night, the neo-Con flat-world globalism is troubling. But the paleo-Con flat earth beliefs of right-wing evangelicals are far more disturbing to me.

Palin is a radical conservative of the evangelical stripe.

I have enough trouble dealing with Obama when he starts talking about his beliefs. I honestly don't like the idea that people who feel their religious beliefs are relevant to presidency could become our leaders. I don't like the idea that any core political decisions, from who we define as "enemies" to issues of abortion rights or creationism in the schools, might be made within the framework of an individual's individual beliefs. The lens I want my leaders to look through when making decisions that affect all of us is the lens of humanism: what is best for the people of this country and world, not what the politician says God wants him or her to do.

God gets used an awful lot to justify evil--too often for me to trust God language in politics. Maybe too much for me to trust God language in other places, too.

* * *

I think I've changed my mind. Maybe I will move to Canada.

* * *

I haven't slept enough in nights. I felt like this during the end of both of the previous elections. Is it normal to feel so ill about something as...intangible(?) ...as who wins the presidential election?

I think I need to turn off the radio, turn off the internet, just to preserve my own sanity. I won't be posting for a few days as I take this Luddite holiday.


*When creating the link for Gantt, I discovered that one of Helm's advisors in that awful race-baiting Senate campaign is now, frighteningly, McCain's chief campaign adviser. (Check out the horrifying ideas presented in that last link.)

8 comments:

Mouse said...

As a person who believes that God doesn't need to enter into politics AT ALL.. this election and the hype surrounding it is really very troubling to me. While I don't subscribe to any organized religion, I do believe that a person's beliefs are just that.. PERSONAL. I don't want someone else's God governing my life, my family, or my girlie bits.. thank you VERY much. I have threatened to move to Canada as well but I don't really want to HAVE to move because my government has forsaken me.

Green Bean said...

I know how you feel. I go to sleep later and later every night. Tossing and turning after scouring the internet for hope. Really, pre-Palin, McCain wasn't that bad. Oh, I wasn't going to vote for him or anything crazy like that, but I could have lived with him. Now, I'm scared as hell for our country, our children, our planet, those wolves that Palin guns down from aloft an airplane.

We need to use that fear to motivate us. I'll do some phone banking, have donated, plan to write about it but there are so many minds that just cannot be changed.

Martha H said...

I agree with everything you stated, particularly the Gantt/Helms race. I was in NC then, also. Please check out Ms. Spirit Trail's post, too.

http://thespirittrail.blogspot.com/2008/09/so-august-sucked-me-into-other.html

Carrie K said...

I think everyone makes decisions based on their personal beliefs whether that belief includes God or the inhumanity of man. Wars have been fought in the name of God but that doesn't make God the reason. It's generally power, goods or ego.

I worry about those who would make all our decisions for us, whether that would be who we marry, what children we bear or what we will be obliged to support.

I worry about a citzenry that is concerned about wire tapping and illegal surveillance but carries with them at all times, an electronic harness. I worry that children seem to grow up indoors nowadays and have never met a mountain, much less saved it.

Erin said...

I think this election feels more tangible due to the crisis point this country has reached. I am scared that another 4 years of duck and cover our asses will put the environment into ruin, our international standing into the crapper forever, and our rights to govern our bodies as a thing of the past.
Must donate more....

Chris Rich said...

I too grew weary of the swirling acrimonious jibberish this election mess is descending into and decided to shift focus beyond, like a zen archer looking past the target.

I poke my head into the desperate corporate media fogging as they really do not want to see the return of the Fairness doctrine. Web2 is slowly dooming them anyway.

Robert Kennedy jr. mentioned how we are the most thoroughly entertained people even as we are the most poorly informed.

So my solution was to immerse myself in making a Sustainability blog with lots of links about useful things we'll need to move beyond the end of the fossil fuel fools errand. Enjoy.

CindyW said...

Late to your post. I admire that you post political posts. Writing about green living is often save. Honestly who doesn't want to be more green?

But writing about politics is riskier, especially when you declare your side. But at this point when everyday it gets scarier for me and my family, it seems that there is no choice but talk about it.

The thing is though how many minds can one change by writing about your very reasonable and rational opinions? I don't know.

I know people who threw their votes unblinkingly to McCain when they heard about Palin. I know people who will still vote for McCain though they are scared shitless of Palin. That's how those two camps united, I suppose.

Anyway, I am not sure what is the useful thing to do - writing to small town newspapers? canvassing? phone banking? donating more? None of them seem enough. Yet I know all of them add up to a successful campaign.

William Cooney said...

A late comer to the world of skepticism (due to the obscenity of early childhood ritual religious inculcation) I am also of the mind that this religious litmus test for the office of president is not a good thing at all.

At least Obama sees it only fair, though, that we non-believers be included in national discussions about faith, religion and politics. It wasn't that long ago that George H.W. Bush, when asked what he thought of atheists, questioned whether they should be considered as true citizens at all!

I voted for Ralph Nader the last 4 election cycles out of total disillusionment, but this time, I'm pulling the Liberal Lever for Mr. Obama.

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