Four years ago, I was a nervous wreck. The polls showed my guy, Barack Hussein Obama, with a commanding lead, but what did the polls know? What about the Bradley Effect? What about the conservatives and their voting machines and their lying, cheating ways? Diebold was a thing, right?
Well turns out, all my worry was for not. I got a lump in my throat when I watched Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart break the news. I nearly teared up when Obama gave his acceptance speech. Hope. Change. Those weren’t just slogans, they were revelatory ideas.
Aaaand they were bullshit.
For as much as I told myself I knew that all politicians were liars, and all politicians were phony and self-serving, I secretly thought Obama was the exception. He was my guy. He was the first president I ever voted for who actually won! So I bought into the hype, and the conservatives clucked and sighed and called him an empty suit and The Messiah and other, more ridiculous things. But these were the people who supported Dubya, for chrissake. What could they possibly know?
Then I watched Obama cave immediately on closing Guantanamo. I watched him launch predator drone attacks on Americans without trial. I watched him double down on Bush’s anti-constitutional policies and introduce the concept of “indefinite detention”, in which the President has the ability to declare anyone an enemy combatant and detain them indefinitely. I mean, shit. At least try to hide it with some Orwellian double-speak like “Patriot Act”. And then there’s NDAA. Obama could literally order Mitt Romney’s death today and it would be legal. I don’t understand how that’s okay with anyone, anywhere. My liberal friends were rightfully outraged by Bush’s naked power grabs and by his authorization of torture and spying on Americans without warrants or a paper trail. But on Obama, I hear very little. We were also furious with the Bush administration for leaking Valerie Plame’s name, but the fact that the Obama administration mislead (but not quite technically lied—wink wink) everyone on Benghazi for 10 days seems to bother no one outside of Fox News.
During Obama’s inauguration, he said, “we reject as false the choice between our safety our ideals…those ideals still light up the world, and we will not give them up for expediency’s sake”. I loved that line so much I made it my favorite Facebook quote. I deleted it two years later, when I realized he didn’t believe it anymore. (Current replacement: “That’s what she said”.–Michael Scott).
So, what to do? Am I still voting for Obama next week, even after all that and much much more (cough-*no real Wall Street reform*-cough) bullshit? Yes. How do I justify that? Well, I guess I’ll take a page from the Obama campaign and go negative.
Many Republicans are fucking horrible. Just fucking horrible. We’ll start with their distrust of the “liberal media”, which as near as I can tell means “media that is not conservative”. This distrust bleeds into everything else that appears to exist in the natural world. They believe evolution is “just a theory” and that global warming is a hoax. They “unskew” polls to their liking, declare the unemployment numbers “fixed”, and when Sarah Palin says something dumb about Paul Revere they race to the internet machines and literally try to change history by “updating” Wikipedia. They were wholly unconcerned with the national debt until January 20, 2009. As of early this year, 53% of them think Obama wasn’t born here or are “unsure”. 53% of Republicans are willing to go on record as racists, morons, or both.
I refuse to live in a world where I support the same guy they do. They believe that life begins at conception. Fine, I can respect that, but then when ugly realities like rape or the life of the mother come into play they make up fanciful nonsense to defend their suddenly indefensible positions. I mean seriously, a grown adult running for Senate said that the egg will reject a rape-sperm just on principle. Other grown adults running for President–and sometimes leading in the GOP polls–compared me to a dog fucking a man and said our Founding Fathers worked to end slavery, and couldn’t name three Cabinet departments, and talked of building colonies on the moon, and called Obama a Nazi, and hinted that he wasn’t born here. These are not fringe loonies off to the side. They were people who had a legitimate chance of becoming leaders of the free world. Also, one guy just kept saying “9-9-9” over and over. It was weird.
When I was young, I often heard that Republicans think with their heads and Democrats feel with their hearts. As a young Republican/Libertarian/Objectivist, that appealed to me. That may have been true then. Certainly, the opposite is true now.
At this point, you might say “none of these people are currently running for President”.
True enough. So let’s focus on that guy, Mitt Romney. All politicians lie, and are phony and self-serving. Mitt Romney just murdered them all and absorbed their powers, like the world’s most boring X-Men character. It’s hard to attack his positions, as they are ever changing. But as near as I can tell, Mitt Romney believes the 13 trillion debt is immoral and the pitch to reduce it includes ending Obamacare (he’s lying and saying it will increase the deficit, so he’s going to cut it, even though he intends to keep everything in it except the ability to pay for it), ending PBS funding (which makes up less than one tenth of one percent of the budget) and by lowering taxes.
This of course will increase our deficit, but good news, Romney will offset that by closing numerous unnamed loopholes. The natural question then, is why go through the trouble of lowering taxes and then closing loopholes if the net result will be exactly the same? Unless of course, the closing of the unnamed loopholes will effect only certain people…
Where did this “fiscally responsible” myth start? How is it responsible to promise the moon and the stars but swear no one will ever have to pay for it? Check the stats. Republican administrations increase spending and debt, Democratic ones reduce them. Clinton gave us a massive surplus that Bush destroyed. And now the Republicans want the ball back? No way.
Behind closed doors, Romney believes that 47% of the population (all Obama supporters) are moochers and bums who he, the great Romney, could never convince to take responsibility for their lives. The fact that many elderly and poor in rural areas who don’t pay income tax and yet vote Republican doesn’t enter into his head. He feels like it shouldn’t be true, so it’s not. Mitt Romney supports candidates who say that a child from rape is a gift from God, and he hobnobs with the likes of the bloated Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Float with hair known as Donald Trump. He goes on the radio show of Bryan Fisher, a notorious homophobic flaming piece of excrement who thinks (among other crazy things) homosexuality should be outlawed and that the Nazis were all gay. Fisher also loudly complained when Romney hired openly gay Richard Grenell to his foreign policy team, forcing Grenell’s resignation a week later. The fact that Mitt Romney would sit in a room with someone like that and seek his endorsement tells me all I need to know about what Mitt Romney thinks of me. Still, according to Gallup, 20% of gays are supporting him. I’ll never understand that mentality, even if I live to be as old as Bette Midler, who is someone I’m told old Republican gays like.
And then there’s good ol’ SCOTUS. Upcoming, there are two votes on gay marriage rights and both promise to be squeakers. Reliable liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83 and a cancer survivor. I don’t mean to be crass, but…I think she and Larry King were the ones who originally made the call to end the Mayan calender. Liberal Justice Breyer and swing-vote Justice Kennedy? Also super old. If Romney wins, the consequences will include not just a likely unpaid for war with Iran, but an ultra-conservative Supreme Court that will last generations. Roe v Wade will be vulnerable for the first time in decades. DOMA and Prop 8? Please, no question they’ll be upheld. Not only will Corporations be affirmed as people, but they will probably also be able to get married (to opposite sex Corporations) before I will.
This this is the most dangerous thing of all. We cannot let this happen to the courts. We cannot let Romney win.
So, now what? Am I holding my nose and voting for the classic “lesser of two evils”? No, I don’t believe Obama’s evil. I haven’t really talked about what he’s done that’s good, and it’s a lot. While Romney was writing “Why Detroit Should Go Bankrupt”, Obama was saving the auto industry. He got DADT repealed, doing a year long study to give enough Republicans cover to vote their conscience. He was the first President to support marriage equality. This is huge. This prompted a huge uptick in support from the black community, as well as set the standard for all Democratic nominees in the future. (Republicans will support marriage equality in about 40 years, and in about 80, they’ll claim they supported it all along). He passed Obamacare, providing for the first real health care reform in decades. It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn site better than Romney’s socialistic “ambulance ride to emergency room” plan. He passed the stimulus, which many economists say prevented a Depression. The economy is recovering. The bottom collapsed just before Bush left out the door, and the recovery has taken a while. Longer than any of us wanted it to. But it is finally here. Let’s not mess that up. Oh yeah, and he fucking killed bin Laden! That was pretty cool, too.
I will probably never again in my lifetime have real hope and think that real change is coming. I simply know now that such things in this imperfect world aren’t really possible. The best we can do is just hold on, put our heads down, and don’t openly support fucking assholes. Four years ago, I thought Obama was a 10. Turns out he’s a 7, maybe a 7.5 when I’m feeling generous. But he’s still my guy.
Ryan Roach lives in Studio City and suffers through traffic indignities on a daily basis. He also has a cool movie blog: http://rtrmovietime.com/