The November general election is fast approaching here in the US. Two candidates have come out on top, one for each party, as you are all aware. The Republican Nominee is John McCain, war hero and conservative. The Democrat Nominee is Barack Obama, herald of change and liberal. The voting public is divided nearly evenly between these two candidates. The latest Gallup Poll, dated July 20, 2008, has Obama with only a three point lead over McCain. Obama has 45% of the vote, while McCain has 42% of the vote. Those figures only total up to 87% of the vote. What about the other 13%? That remainder is made up of an acceptable margin of error +- 2%, Undecided voters, 5%, and Others 6%.
With McCain constantly illustrating his inability to relate to the modern American (incidents such as his admittance to not being able to use a computer, his apparent desregard (bordering on hatred) for women, not limited to comments towards his wife, but also in the jokes he likes to tell. I should probably also mention his apparent inability to be a leader of any sort, due to his military history. I'll be the last to say that a decorated war hero is unfit to be the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, but when said war hero has spent years in enemy detainment camps, and has obviously never fully recovered (see the terms: shellshock, battle fatigue, operational exhaustion, post traumatic stress disorder... all the same condition, just different names), is he really a viable candidate for the "most powerful position in the free world"? During McCain's life, he's suffered from all of these. They are all the same medical condition: an essentially permanent mental disorder, caused by extreme mental and emotional trauma and stress (very common among military veterans). This same disorder is also common in rape and abuse victims, which McCain likes to joke about. Just watch any recent interview or speech by McCain, and you can see the obvious effects of PTSD on the man. Moreover, he has, when he's bothered to actually vote in Congress, sided with George W. Bush on more than 90% of his votes. His presidency would simply be another four years of the exact same thing. We'd lose more of our rights, the women's lib movement would be set back, quite literally, forty years, and race relations would also suffer. I won't even start to go into the negative impact that four more years of the same would have on our economy, world relations, and the number of casualties suffered by our children in uniform overseas (This year, Iraq, next year... where? Iran? Syria? Korea?). I do use the term "children" in this statement, because while there are many people over the age of 21 in the armed forces, along with many in their 30s and 40s, most of our recruits, and the lion's share of low-ranking ground forces (the ones at highest risk) are under the age of 21. They're not even allowed to drink yet, but they are the fastest growing portion of our armed services (not to mention the fastest dying portion).
As for Obama, he has long been seen as an agent of change for the country. He has always scored very highly among the youth and minority demographics (except for Hispanic, but even they are starting to come around). My biggest question for Obama, is what, exactly, is the change your promising? He's run a campaign based on change, but never really stated what that change would be. In all practicality, that change could be to complete fascism. That change could be to complete peace and a restoration of Democracy. That change could be starting WWIII, and destroying 90% of the world's population. Those would all be changes. I'm not sure I like all of the possibilities. Barack Obama is still leading in the presidential race. Younger voters identify with him because he came from a broken home, much like a majority of voters under the age of 30. They also identify with him because, as a man of mixed race, he has likely experienced racism from all sides, and would have a unique view of how to try and quell it. Additionally, even though he is not, and never has been, a Muslim, he's been exposed to the Muslim faith, which may help him in being sympathetic to the issues the Muslim world is facing, particularly in the Middle East. Minority voters, predominately black voters, identify with him through race. He has easily been the most charismatic politician the US has seen since JFK (which is saying a lot, with as charismatic as both Regan and Clinton were). Honestly, up until a few weeks ago, I was even considering voting for him myself. Then the FISA vote happened. Obama had been quoted several times as opposing the FISA Reform Bill, stating that he greatly opposed any sort of legal spying by the government on its own citizens, and he also opposed telecom immunity for past spying. He publicly stated that he'd vote down any FISA reform bill that allowed these illegal and unconstitutional practices to continue. Then, on July 9, 2008 (just five days after our celebration of independence and freedom from tyranny), Barack Obama voted in favor of the FISA reform bill, effectively destroying our 4th Amendment right to privacy. I will not, and cannot (as an American who loves my country and holds the Constitution above all else) vote for someone so willing to help dismantle the Constitution. Obama, in my eyes, revealed his true nature in that vote. He does not care about the people. He only cares about the continued power (to an unconstitutional level) of the Federal Government.
Now, what can we learn from history about all of this?
Well, the history that affects McCain as a candidate is still far fresher in the minds of Americans, as everyone of legal voting age has lived through the history that teaches us the most about McCain - the George Bush presidency. GWB's two terms in office have been fraught with lies, misconceptions, illegal acts, violations of nearly every US and UN treaty and resolution, along with a systematic dismantling of the Constitution. McCain has actually promoted his position in line with GWB's terms in office in order to gain the Neo-conservative votes. All that one needs to do is take a look at McCain's congressional voting record.
The history that affects the potential of Obama's possible presidency is a little more distant to the average voter, really relying on the pre-baby-boomers to have experienced it firsthand.
I'm thinking of a small country in central Europe. The time is 1932. This country was suffering from a horrible recession. Its people were struggling like they never had before. The entire country wanted change - a big change. They also wanted answers - answers to why they had gotten into the mess they were in. There was an election coming up, to place a new leader in January of 1933.
Along comes an unknown candidate; a man with extravagant ideas, and a promise of change. He promised financial wealth. He promised the strength of the nation. He promised answers. His passion and charisma was unmatched in recent years in that country. He easily won the election, and took the seat of Chancellor in January of 1933.
Is this sounding at all familiar to anyone?
As you may have guessed, the unknown politician that took the seat of Chancellor in Germany was Adolf Hitler. We all know what happened after that. (Source for pre-WWII Germany information: The History Place - WWII Timeline.)
The political climate in our country right now is ripe for a modern day Hitler to take power. Countless times have political bloggers labeled George W. Bush as the modern Hitler, but they apparently haven't understood the facts. George W. Bush is more the equivalent of Paul von Hindenburg, Germany's president before Adolph Hitler was named Chancellor, who carried the nation to its worst financial depression ever, and oversaw the creation of a political climate that allowed Hitler into power.
Now, I'm not trying to sound alarmist here, and it's possible that Barack Obama really does have the best interests of the United States at heart. Much of this observation comes from two terms of George W Bush and his apparent need (far exceeding desire) to break down this country and remove our civil liberties, to the point of creating an almost revolutionary level dissent among the average citizens. I first made the above correlation about six months ago, and I tried to dismiss it as paranoia. After Obama's vote on the FISA bill, however, I'm not so sure that it was just paranoia.
Either way, take the above information as you will. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if my speculation ultimately ends up in conservative chain emails as fact.
The fact of the matter is this: Since the start of the campaigning for the 2008 Presidential Election, I've only wanted one thing from a candidate: a promise to disband the unconstitutional and wasteful Department of Homeland Security, and to repeal the equally as unconstitutional and wasteful Patriot Act.
Only one candidate stepped up and promised that publicly: Ron Paul (and he was subsequently all but buried in the mainstream media, and labeled as a fringe lunatic). Every other candidate ignored the issue.
So, after all of this, if you can't vote for McCain, and you can't vote for Obama, who can you vote for?
Well, one of the wonderful things about America (something we haven't lost yet) is the ability to have third party and independent candidates.
Right now, the biggest third party candidate is the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. He is just as viable as any other.
Additionally, here's a listing of about 30 or so other third party candidates.
The other major third party is the Green Party (though they haven't grown nearly as much as the Libertarian party), and their nominee is a bold ticket, with a black female candidate both for president and vice president: Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.
It should also be noted that in the past, the Libertarian and Green parties, both knowing the difficulty of nominating a viable candidate for President, have often bonded together to try and support a single candidate from either party.
Both the Libertarian and Green parties are Constitutionalist parties, and as such are quite compatible in their politics, particularly in this political climate.
Finally, all I ask of any voter, whoever your final vote may be for, is that you research the choices, disregard media hype, and learn the truth for yourself, through facts. An informed voter is truly the only type of voter that has the right to complain.