Thursday, June 5, 2008

Obama Gets the Democratic Nod

It's no secret that I'm interested in politics, so I have been keeping up with the presidential race, the Democratic nomination process in particular. Not only has it been historic because a woman and a person of mixed race (no, sorry, Obama is NOT "black" or "African-American;" he has many other races as part of his family history too) being the two front-runners, but also how long it has gone on. I can't recall a recent primary election cycle that went on as long as this one did with no decision until now. Granted, I haven't exactly been paying attention as much or for that long, but's been awhile since we have seen a primary race this close. Usually, by "Super Tuesday" or soon after, the race is over.

Well, now it appears it is, as Hillary Clinton is about to formally end her campaign even though she is really pushing to be the VP running mate for Obama. A lot of people think the two of them together would be "unstoppable," but I have a hard time seeing them running together. One of the reasons they have had so many disagreements is because they view things in totally different ways. In choosing a running mate, one usually picks someone who agrees with them more and shares common viewpoints, not someone who just engaged in a lengthy battle with them which involved heavy criticism of their ideas and plans. I also personally don't think if they ran together that they would win in any landslide either. Too many Americans regard both Obama and Clinton as too extreme, so McCain, who comes off as more of a moderate than an all-out conservative, will appeal more to them in my opinion. My experience has found that most Americans are fairly moderate in their political views. They want their basic needs met and things to function around them (roads, electricity, water, transportation), but they also want their own freedom with as little governmental interference as possible and of course, as little taxation as possible. Of course that's not everyone, but that's my observation of most people in my readings and travels.

As for my own vote, at this point I would vote for McCain, not because I think he is the best person for the job, but because I think he is better qualified than Obama. Neither have the experience I'd like to see (being in the Senate is not the same as being in the executive branch), but McCain has been in Washington longer so he has more experience working with Congress and a better idea of "how things work" in Washington. Still, I consider McCain the lesser of two evils. Obama's comments have not impressed me and all his talk about change is filled with the same old political rhetoric I have heard at every election about how everything is the other party's fault, yada yada yada. I've never been a big fan of McCain in the Senate, but I've been an even lesser fan of Obama since he started becoming well-known. The people one associates with tells a lot about how that person really is and all the controversy surrounding his religious associates tells me a lot. On top of that, I was never thrilled with his comments about diplomacy or foreign policy either. Yes, we should certainly try to talk and use diplomatic means whenever possible, but evetually you need to take a stand if they don't work. In addition, in order for diplomacy to work both sides and their constituents must value it. In other words, there are instances where diplomacy won't work, in particular with those we have identified as terrorists. Many, if not most, are not interested in discussions...they are interested in winning their war against the West. That war won't end until we either accept their way of life as our own (convert) or we are eliminated. And their war did not start recently...these people come from a culture that still considers the Crusades a recent event (the Crusades came in waves from 1095-1272). It would be similar to Americans still holding resentment to the British for the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812...And those were a LOT more recent than the last Crusade! Yes, I do realize that there have been other negative interactions between the West and the Middle East, but all have been tainted by that lingering mistrust from the Crusades. It's a cultural element that won't disappear overnight or easily. But anyway, that's a whole different blog!

There are many issues I have with both candidates, but in the end I and everyone else needs to remember that the President is not a dictator; he has limits in what he can and cannot do and what he can and cannot control. No matter what you think of President Bush and how he has extended executive powers, he is nowhere NEAR as powerful in this country as a true dictator would be. So, to sum it up, a president won't be able to sweep in and solve all our problems, no matter how charismatic he is, nor can he be the blame of all our problems or successes. We need to choose a candidate who we think will be able to address (and solve) as many of the issues facing our country as possible in ways we think are acceptable.

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