voting zen

it’s a kind of eeiry, peaceful feeling, knowing that you’re voting for the loser.  no need to go home and fire up CNN + Politico and breathlessly wait out the evening.  knowing that you didn’t just choose between the lesser of two evils, and that no matter whether it’s a blue landslide or an upset for the ages, you have four years worth of “I didn’t vote for that guy” in your back pocket.

the gentle self-delusion that I’ve “voted on principle” is still fresh.  both candidates had substantial parts of their platforms, and especially their rhetoric, that made it impossible for me to consider either one less undeserving than the other… a sample:

To both men I say, to paraphrase Gordon Gekko, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

GEKKO TIMEOUT:

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed — you mark my words — will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

where was I…

  • Obama: “McCain wants to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas”; technically true, but an unintended consequence and not something McCain is trying to reward companies for doing*.  Kind of like how Obama’s ‘tax breaks’ are going to go to murderers, drunk-drivers, and rapists — those are unintended consequences, like wind farms (ostensibly good) killing birds (not so good).
  • McCainFeingold.  Still shaking my head over that one.
  • Obama’s tax breaks — call me a skeptic, but I don’t believe 95% of Americans are getting one.  I’ll let you know when I file my 1040 in April 2010; but I’ll bet you I’ll be paying more (as my top marginal rate and as a percentage of total income).  Obama’s commercials even said “95% of Working Americans” at one point, and I’ll bet Working Americans will be re-defined as they see fit (ie. working-class, not working=employed).
  • the utopia of “Green Jobs” (both candidates) — I posted on this before.  And something tells me I’ll be throwing something at the screen when I hear about Green Jobs during the victory speech tonight.  A pox on both their houses.
  • the scurge of “Foreign Oil” (both candidates) — the oil market is a global one, and discriminating against foreign oil makes about as much sense as discriminating against foreign cars, electricity, timber, anything.  And before you call me crazy, yes, there is plenty of ‘foreign’ electricity in the United States — from the same place that is the #1 source of imported oil (Canada; I know, this beat is getting old, isn’t it?  but it’s true…)
  • Obama: “I will make college affordable for every American. Period.” — if college is worth the investment (cost/benefit-wise, and I don’t think it is for everyone), people can find a way to finance it.  There are more financing options, and just alternative options (online, etc), available today than there has ever been before.  State schools and community colleges can be real bargains — but everybody wants to talk about how many million dollars it costs to put a kid through Harvard…

and #1 (shared)

  • Obama: “Barack Obama will make health insurance affordable and accessible to all” — again, with the “I can unilaterally make all things affordable AND accessible” line…  and you wonder why people call him a socialist.
  • McCain: “Better Care, At Lower Cost, for Every American” — I know they differ in the details, but every bit as grandiose and unrealistic.  Where is the straight talk?

Alright, this is getting less and less zen every moment, and I realize it’s all too late to convince you to change your vote.  Besides, I’ve got to go — only 2 more hours before the polls close and I lock-down in my CNN/Politico stupor.

* although if you could demonstrate that it’s an area where the US lacks comparative advantage, I would actually advocate tax breaks to actively ship those jobs overseas… it’s time we focus on what America does best, and not on industries that are little more than baggage from the Agricultural and Industrial ages…

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “voting zen

  1. Sen. McCain was hoisted in his own petard with the McCain-Feingold “reform” and it just might cost him what he most desired.

  2. Red

    What you don’t realize about Gordon is that his character wasn’t intended to be taken seriously. You must be a postmodernist, which is fine, but I doubt you would call yourself that.

    http://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/10/14/movies/1194823301209/critics-picks-wall-street.html

  3. I think you mean he wasn’t to be “taken literally”. certainly the character was to be taken seriously, it’s not like he was intended to be comic-relief or was out there sputtering unintelligible nonsense.

    thanks for the link; that was interesting. I think the reviewer only got it partially right though — he made it sound like Gekko’s description was attractive but it was a lie. I disagree.

    the speech and the idea are not attractive lies, but they’re only partial truths, and the part Gekko leaves out is that there IS also an ugly side to greed. and if 95% of the people are virtuously greedy, there will still be that 5% that are not and can ruin it for the rest.

    Gekko’s lie was that all greed is virtuous, or that he was on the side of the virtuous greed. of course he’d likely argue that he was helping weed out the weak; and I might defend him for that, regardless of whether Bud’s dad lost his job in the process.

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