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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Campaign Parable

There comes a time in every young semi-political blogger's life where he has to stand up and speak his mind.

Here we stand, four days away from the second election of the second millennium, the first one of my voting life and perhaps the most important and potentially historic ever. For more than a year now, every single voice in the media has debated and analyzed and obsessed and just flat out beat to death every single aspect of each candidate. Money has been raised, endorsements have been made and many ballots have already been cast. The election is all but over. There is probably not a thing either candidate can do now to swing the electorate one way or another. 

But still, I am hesitant to reveal my vote. I understand that many newspaper and other media outlets have already endorsed a particular candidate for their readers and viewers. Yet, when I try to use that as a justification for revealing my vote to the world via a mass media tool, I hesitate. The media has long been a paradox. It is an industry and machine filled with passionate, subjective human beings expected to behave and act like emotion-less, completely objective robots. And for the most part they do...except when it comes time to endorse a political candidate or ballot issue. Then it becomes okay to editorialize. Then it becomes okay to persuade instead of enlighten.

 The public does not seem to mind either. In a world where newscasters are branded as biased if they say a word like "liberal" with a different inflection of their voice, people are shockingly indifferent when a newspaper outright declares its support for a candidate. I suppose tradition is just tradition and people just accept it as "the .

I, however, don't have the confidence that multi-billion dollar newspaper chains have and for right now, I will not reveal my vote. Instead, what I would like to do instead is to tell you a story, dear reader. The vast majority of you will probably be heading out to your local ballot on Tuesday to cast your vote. And when you do, I would simply like you to remember this story:

Once upon a time there lived a respectable man named John McCain. He grew up in the classic All-American childhood and got good grades in school. Then he went off to fight for his country in Vietnam. He fought more than admirably; he became a prisoner to the enemy and was tortured by them, yet never gave up his brothers-in-arms nor betray his country in any way. After five years of this torment, the young man returned home as a hero. And a hero he remained for the rest of his life, the rarest commodity in an ever-changing America. 

In his middle age, he began to run into some relationship problems. He divorced his first wife and began to see a woman named Cindy. They soon got married and started a family together. In their generosity, they extended their familial bonds to include a Bangledeshi orphan named Bridget. It was also around this time that McCain began a career in politics.

Elected as Senator of Arizona in 1986, McCain soon came to be regarded as high a politician as he was a soldier. He earned the reputation as an independent or "maverick" based on his tendency to stray away from the party lines regarding certain issues. His Senate career culminated in a bid for the Republican nomination for President in 2000. He put up a good fight but ultimately lost out to eventual 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

And then came 2008.

John McCain decided to seek the office of the President again, despite his uncomfortable brush with national politics in his first bid and his rather old age. He quickly sealed up the party's nomination, beating out men such as Mitt Romney, Rudy Guliani and Mike Huckabee. Then the time came to wait for a Democratic opponent emerge, whom eventually did in the form of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Being a respectable man of strong character, McCain promised to run a clean and respectful campaign against his young opponent. But then things started going down hill.

The poll numbers began to favor the charismatic Midwestern Senator Obama and so McCain elected to name a relative unknown as his running mate: Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin seemed to be a gift from the demographic gods: an attractive, charismatic woman with funny glasses, a Midwestern accent and no Senatorial voting record to critique. McCain formerly introduced her to the world during the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota. It was also during this time that McCain's peers began speaking out against Barack Obama's record as a "community organizer".

McCain's promise to run a clean campaign seemed to be in trouble as his Republican contemporaries began touring the country, appealing the the angry, dark side of human nature and their fear of the unknown. "Barack Obama has terrorist ties!" "Barack Obama is a secret Muslims!" When Obama confronted McCain on this fact during their final debate, McCain could not refute, only weakly claim that his campaign had suffered attacks too. 

McCain rallys became a sad scene of anger and hate spilling out of the mouths of the old America. And McCain, could only look on in horror at the monster his campaign had created as if he were The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He attempted to defuse the fire but the inferno of hate and fear had already spread too far. 

The political machine had beaten him. He could not stop the paranoia, he could not stop the hatred and he could not stop the lowest denominator of America define his campaign and his legacy. The Party had won out. It had run the election IT had wanted to run and not the campaign that John McCain promised he would. It had tamed the maverick.

Politics is a dirty game, friends, and not everyone can make it through the Crucible alive.

And that is all I have to say on the subject.

Now go vote.

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