i am a patriot

I really do try to stay away from politics in this space (with the somewhat recent exception of my post on attending the Democratic Convention, although even that post didn’t discuss policy).  However I can’t seem to hold myself back this time.  I’m completely frustrated with some of the rhetoric coming out of the Republican party.  Specifically the notion that there is a single "right" point of view on any given issue and that if you disagree with the Republican position, you’re simply not a real American.  It’s part of the view Bush laid out several years ago that you’re either "for us or against us" and precludes the possibility of any real conversation or debate.  It’s complete bullshit.  I understand that campaigns can be nasty and that in this campaign both candidates (and their proxies) have at times stretched the truth (although certainly McCain has run a significantly more negative campaign than Obama).  But I’m sick of being labeled "un-Americain" or "un-Patriotic" because I don’t support the Republican platform. I want a president (Democrat or Republican) who supports and governs all Americans, who sees and embraces the diversity of opinion in our country and understands the nuance of policy differences that results from that diversity. If we’ve learned anything in the last 8 years it’s that presidents who see nothing but black or white, who apply simplistic heuristics to analyze complex situations and who refuse to live anywhere but in their own bubble, are destined to fail – and to do so miserably and completely.

The real reason the Republican message is falling short this year is because they’ve made it clear that in their view they are there only to support "real Americans" and unfortunately for them, most American’s apparently aren’t their kind of "real".  It’s sad, too – I had some respect for John McCain in the past and would have seriously considered voting for him back in 2000 (when he was truly a centrist and closer in politics to Bill Clinton than he was to George Bush).  No longer….

  • Brandon

    You have the right to your opinion, but Democrats are far from sitting on pure white snow. I think our perspectives are tainted by our political persuasion. I'll wager most people reading this will disagree with the following…

    There has been nothing but negative press towards John McCain and Sarah Palin (CBS, MSNBC, NBC, SNL, etc…). The press rails on her every day, and gives Obama a pass on important issues. It seems that where ever you turn, Conservatives are made out to be evil, heartless, thugs that lie cheat and steal (for an example see anyone of the commercials against Bob Schaffer or Amd 47 – cigars and big Texas hats ring a bell?). I can't drive through Boulder without getting the middle finger for glairs for my John McCain sticker. A place that supposedly supports free expression (if you’re Ward Churchill).

    So we tend to hear the negative comments from the other side vs. what the majority (hopefully) of the people in this country are hoping for: Improved economic conditions, a more stable foreign policy, and a reliable energy policy.

    Lets get away from right = evil and left = good or vice versa.

    • sethlevine

      it takes guts to drive around in boulder with a mccain/palin bumper sticker. i actually like seeing them in town because ultimately political diversity sparks better debate and ultimately better policy (consider that one party rarely holds on to the presidency and congress for very long, as i suspect will happen to the democrats in '10). while politics is much more polarizing than it used to be, i think mccain and his supporters have taken it to an extreme this cycle (“kill him”, “obama is a socialist”, and the topic i talk about above). the sad part is that most of the country is relatively middle of the road, but our political system forces candidates to run to one side or another (to get through the primaries) – one only hopes they moderate when they are finally elected…

  • Brandon

    One more thought… Ask yourself this question: Will Obama listen to, consider, protect, etc… conseratives if he wins? Or will we see the same behavior as the last 8 years, only from the other side? Let's not forget there will be 55 million+ people that support McCain in few days. Just because 60M or so support Obama, doesn't mean we can ignore the 55 million. At least I don't think so.

    • Given that he taught at free-market-fountainhead University of Chicago and socializes with many of its most famous conservatives, I suspect he will treat conservatives with respect. Obama's most blistering criticims never mention “conservatism.” Rather, they focus on Bush, whom many conservatives have disowned. And in interviews he has never demonized Bush. Rather, he says he believes Bush generally acts in good will and based on firmly held beliefs. He just argues that those beliefs are incorrect.

      He does NOT say that he represents “real Americans.” He says he will represent all Americans.

      A friend of mine was a student of Obama's at U of C. One of his classmates was Gonzales' former chief of staff (Ted Ullyot). My friend reports that Obama was very fair-minded in the classroom and equally challenging to liberal points of view as to conservatives. And my friend is actually a fan of McCain, though he's voting for Obama.

  • Amen Seth. And Brandon … Boulder is a tough place to be a Republican. I feel for you man.