Thursday, September 18, 2008

2 Cents

Confession time: I am a bleeding-heart liberal. If you're not, I encourage you to keep reading anyway, because I'm also a libertarian-leaning homeschooling mom who'd like to learn how to hunt (and has for a few years, long before I ever heard of Sarah Palin). This will not be a whiny, conservative-bashing post, for I pride myself on not often doing what's expected of "someone like me."

As a former Canadian, I think probably the two biggest issues that make me a card-carrying liberal are health care and taxes, and not necessarily in that order. My many Canadian relatives enjoy free, high-quality health care, encompassing treatments for prostate and bone cancer, mental illness, asthma, ER visits, extended hospitalizations after accidents, heart surgeries... the list goes on. But the point is, they have a great health care system up there, so nobody needs to fear that getting sick or hurt will mean the financial crushing of their, or their families', hopes and dreams. Also, as my brother put it recently, "the political parties do not hate the shit out of each other, and the election season is only 5 weeks long."

I'm sure you know why Canadians' health care is free and excellent: taxes. Yes, they pay taxes through the nose, but collectively they all benefit. I think this CNN Commentator put it best (I found this yesterday on Daily Kos, a recent addiction):

Republicans lowered my taxes, and will keep them low. But the value of my home has dropped 20%, my health insurance costs have doubled, gas costs $4 a gallon, and my investments are in the tank. Please, tax me.

So, here's the part of my political rant where I blast McCain: I was okay with him at first, but I keep reading and hearing things that worry me.

Earlier in the campaign, McCain scoffed when Obama handed out tire pressure gauges at a campaign rally; he said something like 'does he think he's going to fix the problem with tire pressure gauges?..' Well, yes, in fact:

"Keep car tires properly inflated. In our tests of a Toyota Camry, fuel efficiency dropped 1.3 mpg when the tires were deflated by 10 psi." - Consumer Reports, October 2008

Also, Sarah Palin really frightens me. I'm so offended by this, "oh, you're a woman, of course you have to put a woman in the White House..." I'm an in-the-trenches mom - I hope, in fact, to someday be a hockey mom - yet I believe that 'drill, baby, drill' is a really bad idea. I wouldn't vote for anyone, female or otherwise, who stands in such stark contrast to many ideals I hold dear (global warming is real, gay people have rights, too, evolution...).

Also, I worry that should she ever gain #1 status, Sarah Palin will be very similar to Bush (same arrogance, slightly less foreign policy knowledge), and I find that scary, indeed.

But worst, worst of all is the sliminess of the McCain/Palin campaign; they have fallen back on hate and scorn because they have nothing better to offer. Jonathan Alter's article, in the current issue of Newsweek, really helped crystallize my thinking. He writes: "The faith-based community organizing Obama undertook (and that Palin continues to trash) exemplifies the very idea of putting social change before selfish career. Why else take a job for a fraction of what he could have made elsewhere?" When I first heard Palin dis Obama for his community work, I thought to myself, 'what's wrong with working within a community you're trying to help?"

So, do I still have friends out there from the other side of the political aisle? I hope so, and I'd love to hear constructively critical, non-sneering, engaging debate. If we ask this of our political leaders, we should at least be willing to try it ourselves.

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