Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Damn You, Obama

I'm pissed, so I'm going to rant a little bit. Obama voted today to continue the warrantless wiretapping without FISA oversight, and to give telecom companies legal immunity for helping in this Constitutional violation. It seems that as soon as he landed the nomination, all pretense of being "different" was gone. "Change we can believe in" my ass.

He preyed on peoples' desire to believe that things could be different and better; it doesn't get any lower than that. This is going to have wide-ranging implications for our democratic system, too--a lot of young people rallied behind Obama as the first real candidate they could believe in; now that he's turned out to be just another politician, many of them will be a lot less likely to participate in the political process in the future. If someone actually comes along who REALLY DOES represent change, the fact that this shyster sold us a line of bullshit is going to make it harder for him to make his case. In case you can't tell, I'm monumentally angry about this--he fooled me, and if that costs the Democrats this election, that's something I won't easily forgive.

He's also alienating his base. I was 100% behind him during the primaries--I donated money to the campaign, talked other people into supporting him, and generally held him up as a candidate who really might have a shot at fixing our broken system. I'm not sure if he realizes this, but the grassroots (mostly online) far-left progressives are the ones who really created his momentum in the first place. At the outset of the race, Hillary was the presumptive nominee--both from the party's perspective, and from the mass media's. Obama's message of hope and change resonated with those of us who are sick to death of the status quo, of the backstabbing "compromises" made in the name of getting votes and getting power, and of the general "play the game" sentiment that most politicians have. Obama presented himself as a fresh, young, idealistic and--most of all--truly progressive candidate who would remain above the sordid "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" world of Washington politics, and for a time it really seemed like he was. As soon as he became the presumptive nominee, though, all that vanished--he shifted radically toward the center, and started to pander to various groups just in the name of getting votes. His chance to win this election for the Democrats rested squarely on his image of REAL change in the White House--not just a switch from Right-Center to Left-Center, but a fresh vision; he represented a message of hope that not every election had to be a psuedo-choice between the puppet on the right and the puppet on the left. He's now working steadily to destroy that image, and whether it's because he never was the candidate he purported to be or because he's getting (and following) some very bad advice about "what he needs to do to win," turning into just another politician might well lose this for the Democrats, which is something we cannot afford.

So much for hope. Damn you, Barack Obama.


Chris Jackson said...

Not to defend that particular vote (yes, it was a terrible idea), but do you think there's any legitimacy to the argument that he has to win the election in order to make any substantial change? On this issue, for example, maybe he thinks passing the bill & getting elected will allow him, as president, to fundamentally change the law regarding warrant-less wiretapping, which is better than a token opposition vote to a bill that would have passed anyway.

I'm not sure how I feel about this anyway, but just thought I'd comment...

Michael said...

Good get it out of your system now. Best thing to do with emotions, let them run through you.

Then when you are done, you can start thinking again. Things like we are going to wind up with either Obama or McCain as president, do you care which? Things like if you are looking for somebody who agrees with you on everything you are abdicating any role at all in the election, and certainly not discussing anything approaching who will lead the country and how.

Hang with Barack a bit more, and think of him in contrast to the other choices, even as he inevitably makes himself real instead of occupying an ideal at the platonic entrance to your mind. The closer you get to the actual campaign, the more, I suspect, you will think in terms of reality and not in ideals.

To me, it is the same as engineering. As an engineer, I constantly deride the stupid analytical mistakes and stupid technical choices made as a result of them. And EVERY system has them. Including the best, most amazing groundbreaking revolutionary systems in the world. If you had access to the right people you would hear about the stupidity in the iPhone, the stupidities in CDMA, and on and on and on.

I'd venture to say the formation of the USA itself is filled with such stupid design errors. Keeping the US constitution safe for slavery even as independence was supported with "All Men are Created Equal." Can you imagine shifting to the Tory position when you realized how hypocritical we were? What we were REALLY doing was building something that, despite not being perfect, was simply way better than what existed before.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the sausage factory! But if you aspire to advance understanding, first figure out how to make a tasty sausage.

Metaphors mixed while you wait,