Hopes and Fears in the Presidential Race.
One of the things that I've found particularly fascinating during this presidential race has been hearing about the reasons different people support their respective favorites. While a few individuals have been motivated by the defense of a particular ideology, many find themselves choosing between the lesser of two evils (and these aren't necessarily mutually exclusive motivations). Many of the arguments that I have heard formulated over the last couple of weeks are framed in terms of fears. As is typical in cases of divisive elections (like the vast majority of national races nowadays), there are a lot of poorly reasoned accusations being bandied about. Only occasionally do they seem to have some grounding in reality.
I'd like to think that I could make my decision primarily on hopes, rather than fears. In my case I can truly say that I am ultimately voting FOR someone, rather than AGAINST his opponent. But that line has certainly been blurred for me recently. There was a time not long ago when (though I supported Obama) I believed that a McCain presidency would not be disastrous for the nation. He seemed to genuinely want to reach across the aisle and consider ideas on their merits. Perhaps his gradual shift back to the most conservative wing of his party over the last few years should have been a tip-off. Still I can admit that I was honestly shocked when he announced Sarah Palin as his running mate.
I have mentioned a lot of negatives regarding the Governor of Alaska in this blog. However I think it's important to keep a sound foundation in the real-world when it comes to my doubts about a McCain/Palin ticket. As much as Palin represents an extreme version of social conservatism, as long as McCain is able to fulfill the duties of the office (should he win, of course) I don't think this will be much of an issue. I don't believe that Palin wil be able to get the nation to agree to outlaw abortion in cases where a woman has been impregnated as the result of rape or incest. I don't think the citizenry will look favorably on her urges to ban books. And I don't think she'll be able to fully integrate creationism into our science curriculum at a national level.
On the other hand, I think it's unlikely that the Obama/Biden ticket will likely enact comprehensive health care reform that substantially increases our national debt. I don't believe he will boost corporate taxes by any meaningful degree. And I'm certain he won't seek to outlaw personal property rights (as some wingnuts suggest). My expectations regarding his (or McCain's) presidency are naturally contained by the limits of the office. The Chief Executive serves as Commander-in-Chief, and sets the tone for the country's foreign and domestic policy. I want a president who approaches relations with other nations with an intellectual and overtly diplomatic approach. I want him to consider war only as a LAST Resort. I want nuanced and considered strategies that enhance our international standing.
The biggest national issue facing the United States is energy independence. It has extraordinary ramifications for national security, the future of our economic success, and our relations with the rest of the world. We MUST somehow develop alternative sources of energy. Aside from the issue of global climate change, it is in our best interest. We cannot bear another presidential administration that is beholden to the military-industrial complex and the oil industry. Compare the records and stated positions of the two tickets. McCain has not supported tax credits for companies developing solar/wind power, and Obama has. Look up their voting records. The GOP platform is "Drill, Baby, Drill" and Palin practices "Alaskanomics". That's enough reason right there to support Obama/Biden.