Friday, September 7, 2012
Guest Post: The Grumpy Bulldog: It's Not Just About ME
During the Republican convention, Mitt Romney and his cronies tried to draw back on that old Reagan line of "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" (This despite that the only similarity between Reagan and Romney is dyeing their hair.) Then the Democrats took up that question and people took to Twitter with hash tags and stuff.
Is the Grumpy Bulldog better off than 4 years ago? NO! I mean besides time's continual march onward making me older, balder, and fatter, I'm not really better off than four years ago. The company I work for is going to be out of business in about two years because the UAW program I work for got axed in the last deal with GM. (Though really we'd probably have been out of business 3 years ago if Romney had gotten his way.)
So obviously I'm not better off than I was at this time in 2008. That means I have to vote for Romney, right? Um, no. See because the problem so many people have in casting their vote is thinking it's only about ME instead of what's good for America as a whole.
Republicans especially love to prey on this selfishness. There's a billboard on I-75 by Detroit that says, "Obama Supports Abortion and Gay Marriage, Do You?--Vote Republican." The implication there is that if you don't like abortion or gay marriage then you have to vote Republican. Which to me is bullshit.
OK, to be honest I don't "like" abortion. I'm not going around screaming, "Wooo, Abortions!!! Yeah, let's kill us some fetuses!!!" But I understand (thanks in large part to The Cider House Rules by John Irving) that it's a complex issue. Banning abortions for everyone just because I personally do not support them is far too simplistic for the world we live in.
As for gay marriage, why the fuck shouldn't we allow it? What, because some book from 2000 years ago maybe says it's bad? The same book that includes incest, rape, and murder to please an invisible entity? The same book where that invisible entity kills a man's family and destroys his life just to win a bet with the devil? Anyway, why should Kim Kardashian be able to marry some guy she barely knows but two guys or two girls who are in love and have known each other forever not be able to get married? How does that make sense? Or to use the somewhat cynical argument from my book Where You Belong, marriage can be fucked up no matter where your genitals are.
Besides that, neither of these issues really affect me personally. I'm not going to get any women knocked up. And I'm sure as hell not ever going to need an abortion. I'm not going to marry any dudes either. So really, why the hell should I vote for someone just because of those issues?
But to get back more to my point, I hate that people do let these kind of issues determine their vote. I especially hate when people think, "I don't like abortion, so no abortions for anyone!" Or "I don't like gays so they can't have the same rights as everyone else!" Who the hell are you to decide that for millions of other people? Get over yourself!
So that's what I'm saying when I talk about it's not just about ME and whether I'm better off or which candidate I think better reflects MY values. It's about who I think is better for everyone in America as a whole. And I think the better guy is the one who's inclusive, rather than the one who's exclusive. Because America is about freedom and if our leaders don't believe in freedom then what the hell good are they?
Another thing I wanted to bring up is a little historical nugget I thought of. Back during the onset of the Depression, Herbert Hoover was president. Hoover was a pro-business Republican, which was fine in the Roaring 20s but did shit for America when the stock market tanked and the economy collapsed. Hoover's response to the Depression was largely to do nothing. He touted that Americans' "rugged individualism" would pull them through. Which it obviously didn't, so they elected FDR, who believed the government should take a more active role in the situation, which actually didn't do all that much better.
Anyway, it occurred to me that the whole Tea Party thing is really a return to Hooverism. All this small government stuff they tout is the same "rugged individualism" Hoover championed. That kind of thing might sound great until you lose your job, get evicted from your home, and have to dig through garbage cans for food. Back in 1930-31 or so, people who lost their homes founded tent/shack cities they called Hoovervilles. That's rugged individualism for you. It didn't work in 1932 and it's not going to work in 2012 either.
Something else while I'm venting all this stuff is I went on vacation in July up to Petoskey, Michigan. (It's near the top of the mitten.) Driving around I kept seeing these bumper stickers and billboards saying, "Defend Freedom, Vote Against Obama!" To me this is just like the Birther crap, the "Obama 2016" mockumentary, and all these other conspiracy theories floating around. And I think to myself, "What has this man actually DONE to warrant that much hate?"
I mean when you say "Defend Freedom" what freedoms have been infringed in the last 3+ years? Your freedom to go bankrupt should you need a costly operation because you don't have medical insurance? I get so tired of all this paranoid "Manchurian Candidate" crap. He's a Kenyan Muslim! He's a secret Communist! He's an alien parasite from the planet Xenu! Sorry, but there's no actual, factual evidence to support any of that shit. I don't care if you're rich like Donald Trump, you still come off sounding like the paranoid guy wearing a tinfoil hat so the government can't read his thoughts. It's sad then to think these people's vote counts just as much as mine.
Strangely though all these tinfoil hat wearers don't seem to have any problem electing a guy who's a leader in a religion that believes the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, there were white Native Americans before the real Native Americans, God lives on another planet, and all the other crazy hoodoo the Mormons believe. You don't even need a tinfoil hat for that; it's a fact! (Or facts I learned from "South Park" and "Religulous" at least.) Ironically if I went about screaming about that stuff all those tinfoil hat wearers would call me a bigot. Just like if I say they're racist dolts they'd say I'm racist against white people. (That seriously happened in 2008.)
Anyway, I guess the overall point is I wish we lived in a country where people could think rationally and look at the big picture instead of coloring everything with their own prejudices.
Tuesday is still a Two-Fer, not that you care...