Re-thinking the Koolaid

I’m spending some time this week building a digestion post, looking back at the political process that somehow gave me a tipping point, that somehow pushed me into the polling place to cast my lot.

"It’s the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon, a politics that tells us that we have to think, act and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us, the assumption that young people are apathetic, the assumption that Republicans won’t cross over, the assumption that the wealthy care nothing for the poor and that the poor don’t vote, the assumption that African-Americans can’t support the white candidate, whites can’t support the African-American candidate, blacks and Latinos cannot come together. We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in."Barack Obama, 01/26/08

I think my aversion has been to that wedge- and that bludgeon-way to lead the masses. Todd, well-meaning friend and co-getting-old-chum, txt’ed me to marvel at how we’ve both hit 40 and turned Democrat. I’ve seen it in folks at work, young and conservative, turning older and more liberal, and I think I fit into the mold a little. But I had to txt back that I hadn’t been what I would call a Republican before, that I would rather label myself as Independent without all the baggage that that particular tag might bring with it. There’s no one side that matches everything I would want to look for. Now, what I’m seeing is that maybe that’s the wrong thing to look for. Instead of being in agreement, who inspires me? Who makes me think things will be better going forward?

And for right now, I’ve cast my vote. What was my tipping point? The Republican candidates scare me, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s a word choice, an over-confidence that I think goes awry of the problems that are really out there. And then on the Dem-side, Clinton and Edwards both used commercial copy that said something to the effect, "we will be your President, not theirs". While I understand the meaning behind it, I think, it scares me here, too, that someone would polarize and demonize in order to split a voting base. If your message is worth hearing, you don’t need the demonstrative stuff to make it look good. So here we are with Super Tuesday coming, after President Bush’s State of the Union this past Monday, and we’re in this together, for better or worse. Right?

The one I’m waiting for is the media observatiom that Republicans have jumped ship, just like Reagan pulled in formerly Democratic voters. And I want to see if anyone comes to the different conclusion that the candidate came to a new better more moderate place; not that others have shifted, but that someone has recognized or spearheaded the shift. Something like that.


9 thoughts on “Re-thinking the Koolaid

  1. Martha says:

    Wow, I am really surprised by your post Rick. While I am not officially a Democrat, I typically support those candidates and have not ever voted for a Republican for President. Have voted for other state/local Republicans, but not terribly many. I am a social moderate to liberal, but a fiscal conservative (in terms of spending) so it is hard to find a moderate candidate. And I can’t/won’t vote for people who are busy preaching from their office about how everybody else should live their lives as it has always struck me that God is not an affiliate of either party! I don’t go to church for politics and I don’t look to politics for religious instruction. I’m sort of funny like that.
    Anyhoo, just thought it was an interesting commentary on your part. I’ll go ahead and confess that i spent Friday afternoon and Saturday volunteering for Hillary in Rock Hill. Saw her speak on Friday and I was very impressed with the level of detail that she spoke on subjects about. She spoke for 45 minutes with no teleprompter and went over lots of specifics on solutions. The only bashing she did was of the current incompetents/incumbents! Further solidified my support for her, but I also have a tremendous amount of respect for McCain as he seems to do the things that he truely believes in instead of political expediency. Plus, I was very unhappy with the way he was smeared in SC eight years ago – that was truely heinous.

  2. Rick says:

    Thanks for a little of your own political fodder, Mot – I think it’s interesting how folks go one way or the other, and maybe somewhere in that mix we circle back into each other. So much of this looks like extremes at the end of a line, liberal to conservative – but when you get down to it, maybe it’s a circle that has aspects of both/and instead of so much either/or.

  3. George says:

    I’m smiling so big right now!

  4. Paul J. says:

    There’s no argument that Obama is a masterful communicator, that he is passionate about his beliefs, and that he’s drawing an amazing cross-section of people.
    But what I keep coming back to is this: it really doesn’t matter who the Democratic nominee is, because whoever it is will then officially sign off on the Democratic party platform. And it is THAT platform, not presidential nominees and their personalities, that I have to look at long and hard. Same with the Republican platform. What are the issues they will champion, both fiscally and socially? For me, that becomes the defining issue on who will or will not get my vote.
    Good post.

  5. Rick says:

    George – smiling? Do I need to ask?
    Paul – thanks, and that almost makes my point. Real change will involve more than just voting the other party in. Can he do that? I’m not sure.

  6. Martha says:

    I can’t handle extremism on either end – drives me crazy. And Obama is a good guy I think and can certainly give a speech, but I am more in the experience camp vs. who can speak well. I’ve known lots of people who can talk a good game, but are lacking where the rubber meets the road. And if you do both then great, but I just personally don’t think he’s got enough rubber and road. I’d rather have a hard worker/strong administrator type as President.
    And I could even forgive W for being an idiot if he put people in charge who were compentent and lived somewhere besides la la land. At this point, anything is an improvement – very sad indeed.

  7. Paul J. says:

    I’m curious. Do people that call Bush an idiot ACTUALLY think he’s an idiot? Or are they just letting off steam?

  8. Rick says:

    Paul – I think the most likely response is, “yes”.

  9. Chuck says:

    The fun part of all this, in four years we will be talking about what an idiot Obama is as we blow off steam. 🙂

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