Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I continue to wipe the slimy stain of democratic participation off myself following my act of voting today. Usually, my skepticism leaves me morally opposed to the democratic process because the masses are to malleable and stupid to realize what they are voting for or against. I want to institute a philosopher-king. Sound bites and factional politics designed to exploit general apathy and ignorance have led the electorate for decades. Despite this, I felt the absolute necessity to vote today in hopes of adding to the voice of opposition to the political dynamics that have dominated my entire lifetime. I'm old enough to remember the despair and frustration of the late 70's that enabled the rise of Reagan conservatism for 30 years. The 70's was the backwash of the social changes of the 60's and a decade of depressive disaster as society tried to stabilize itself after years of social turmoil. I'm not a big Reagan fan, he was not intellectually gifted and Reaganomics in combination with the S&L scandal of the 80's destroyed my families farming life. That said, the country required leadership and Reagan provided that in a way that unified the country when nobody else could. Leadership matters, sometimes providing a direction and vision, even if it is not always optimal, is better than the paralyzed stagnation of polarized factionalism. The attitude of the nation improved and the country advanced behind strong leadership - the nation moved out of a psychological despair. Attitudes in the 80's were improved, and it was a better time to live. I do not care about the marginal groups that were left out of this because the country needed to mobilized beyond Carter's ineptitude. He was not a leader; he was viewed as a joke and no recent attempts to rehabilitate his image will change how he was perceived at the time. I remember clearly what it was like. The only thing Reagan offered was manifest leadership, but it was enough. That transformation provided the nation what it needed until it devolved into the present conservative era of fissure politics that have dominated society. Even Clinton was still functioning in a conservative environment. My vote today was placed to try to end this era because it was necessary. Obama can provide dynamic leadership and has a chance to move the country in a time of need like Reagan did. Perhaps he can create a new era, but he must do it in a way that creates unity and not exacerbate factionalism. He can send a death blow to the conservative right if he does things properly. He needs to abandon cronyism and payback politics to eliminate backlash ammunition the far-right can use against him. He needs to incorporate and employ moderate right talent in appropriate areas. He needs to marginalize Pelosi and Reid because they are morons and always have been - they give fuel and fodder to right-wing attacks. He needs to throw them overboard on foreign policy, so that he can figure out a way to restore and project the appearance of military strength while improving European backing during the euphoria of his election. This still means getting out of Iraq, but engagements will continue around the Middle East and redeployment is more messy than the pacifist left will admit. Special operations and surgical strikes around the region will remain critical, but they need to be done properly. I have it on very high authority that the new strategy is to entice the factional leaders with the primary hallmark of civilization : greater access to power, leisure, money, and sex. Competing tribal factions are best pacified with these types of bribes. Nothing else is ever effective. Abstract concepts of democracy sure as hell aren't. It can all be boiled down to this and it is this present strategy that has enabled improvement. I'm not joking - I have it from the highest levels within my old contacts that this was an official policy change recently. These tactics are what has actually been implemented to a greater effect. Obama needs to use the military talent on the right to deal with defense issues. Powell needs to be brought in because he has respect across the board. Gates and Petraeus need to be left in place because they proved effective in the face of Bush's disaster and made the mess more manageable. Gates' PhD on Russian Studies is going to continue to be valuable as Russian nationalism rejuvenates under Putin. Obama needs to allow talented people to do what they specialize in, but incompetent people need to be held accountable. Obama needs to react shrewdly when he is tested on security. This type of test is how I wound up in Iraq during Clinton's first term. It will happen. Obama needs to let Petraeus and Gates craft a strong response that is not a knee-jerk Bush reaction. Allowing capable specialists to shape defense will improve Obama's credibility on defense in a way that will allow him to push for social program changes. If he allows the defense industrial complex to retain face, he can make gains in a variety of other social areas that will inoculate him from attacks from the far right. He needs to sell his middle class tax cut and couple it with infrastructure rebuilding that will provide jobs to build the tax base back up. He needs to tie social programs to public service in an attempt to get the disenfranchised engaged with the nation. Welfare and redistribution can't be unfettered entitlement - it must be tied to specific actions that build pride in accomplishment, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility. It will defang the far-right attacks while accomplishing a greater cohesion throughout the nation. We must employ an inclusive policy where a wide variety of people can become mobilized to action because it is appealing and financially beneficial. The divisive loudmouth social activist champions of the politically correct left should be marginalized as the worthless whiners they are. They are as evil as the far-right loons - free discourse needs to be encouraged without the incessant fear that someone might say something wrong or offensive. Intent of speech should be the criteria as opposed to listener response. People need to toughen up and be less hyper-sensitive to everything. Speech, even hate-speech, should remain protected in this country. I was raised in the 70's indoctrinated in the old notion "I may hate what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." That concept was killed in the hyper-sensitivity of the 90's and it empowered the far-right nut-jobs on talk radio. It is the hyper-sensitivity that fuels the backlash flight to the far-right. Political correctness empowered the far-right much more than people realize because it took common sense and intent out of the equation. Obama has the leadership skills to close the door on the old divisive politics of Rove, Bush, Cheney, Gingrich, Delay, Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, and all those on both sides who made their living race-baiting. Obama is an exceptional figure with phenomenal leadership qualities and intellectual abilities. He has immense potential to possibly transform a nation. I want to be optimistically hopeful, but it goes against my skeptical nature. However, he is what the nation needed at the right time. I don't even care so much where he leads, as long as he leads everybody. However, if he mucks it up, you'll see the far-right re-energized with a vitriolic vengeance that could descend into a resurgence of fascism. He needs to succeed!