A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I was a conservative. Yes, I bow my head in shame on that now but eh, when your young and exploring life in university for the first time you’re open and vulnerable. In fact, they were the first to treat me as a person rather than a “fat chick”. It was a nice feeling. And granted, there were some things that I had believed in at that point: the reality that the present system just cannot support all the baby boomers about to retire, the independence of the individual and the avoidance of government forcing it’s will on others, the reality that all pay taxes (especially to support the previously mentioned baby boomers) and a few other things. I look back at it now and some things I didn’t have a clear view on. I did figure that being with the party in control would open the door into a life of diplomacy, something I believed in and still believe in. I also believed in Canada’s Peacekeeper role, where troops were often sent in-between two warring states to act as mediator (without guns sometimes) and help the locals with basic necessities.
Then life showed me how naive I really was and how a political life isn’t about making a difference. It’s about image, lies and personal gain, particularly for the status quo (to this day, this remains white males — an ironic fact that isn’t lost on me right now).
As a Canadian living in the US for the first time it’s been interesting watching the political process. I have to say that picking now to move to the US (well, actually last December but close enough) has opened my eyes some what. I’m still trying to understand it all but here’s what I get: each party elects a “leader” who will represent that party as a “presidential candidate”. That person selects their 2nd in command aka the “Veep”. This process takes almost 2 years and costs millions upon millions of dollars. It’s mind-boggling, actually. I rarely see ads here and yet, I remember seeing lots of US political ads when I was home (go figure). So, I get asked what I think about the process.
The one thing that I find fascinating is the lack of info that the average person gets. I mean, unless you actively dig at a politican’s website you won’t find out what they stand for outside of the news bites you get from CNN, Fox, et al. And let’s be real. That isn’t news. It’s just a form of advertising. There is no non-biased news that actually educates us on what the issues are, presenting both sides truly in a balanced method. That hasn’t existed EVER.
But what I found most interesting was the introduction of Sarah Palin as “Veep” for the Republicans and the “swarming” of former Democrat Clinton supports to her side.
Because she’s a woman.
Uh.. say what?! Hey, I don’t deny my past but I got a reality check that caused a major shift in the way I look at things. This isn’t the case. These women are voting for Palin (well, not really. They would be voting for McCain and he’s just bringing Palin along for the ride) because she’s a woman. That’s no better than voting for McCain because he’s a man.
Uh… this is the most important position, apparently, in this country. Shouldn’t you vote for someone who is going to do what they say and because they represent what you believe in??? I suppose it just highlights the white privilege in this nation and the desire to keep the status quo. Looking at the McCain website (or do what I did and visit here to see an abbreviated view of her views) and you can see she is a republican through-and-through: no to abortion (regardless of the reason for the pregnancy); belief in tying of religion and government (so much for separation of state, eh?); believes in Creationism and it should be taught in schools (kids go to school for an education, not religion — that should be a family thing at home); believes that global warming isn’t man-made (uh.. WHAT?! Must be them mooing cows from my last post); thinks polar bears aren’t endangered (right — we’re seeing less because they are on vacation in the Bahamas); supports NRA (just in case those endangered bears threaten, eh?); believes that health care should be market driven (compared to us “commies” up north where we get, at the least, basic health care that can be preventative); and.. well. I think you get the picture.
Add to this that you never really vote for the Veep. Now that is the thing that really gets me. Yes, McCain is old and could kick the bucket soon but I find that those that are cranky tend to have the longest lives because they have the most to bitch about (should mean I have a long life yet ahead of me). So many of Clinton’s supporters who are now switching their votes are doing so because they want to vote for Palin. But, uh, unless I’ve misunderstood something, you don’t really vote for the Veep. You vote for the Prez and they bring their running mate along.
I have no doubts that electing McCain (and thus, by proxy, Palin) would mean that I would be booted out fast (I’d imagine a few citizens would want to join me up in the land of the Snow, Hosers and Beer, eh?) since immigration and tightening of immigration seems on the plate, regardless of what one brings into the nation “founded” on immigation (let’s be real that it was founded on slavery, torture, genocide and other things but that is another blog entry for another day). And, given her views on same-sex partnerships, I have no doubts that my trans status would put me on a list of some sort to be rejected for a visa, although my being white may buy me some “grace period” or “favouritism”. I know that I wouldn’t go over as part of God’s plan (I’ve always wanted to ask someone how they know that this isn’t God’s plan but never got the opportunity).
So at this point, my view is that American politics are weird. You don’t really vote for your president and sure as hell don’t vote for your “Veep”. And it takes about 2+ years to get to here. Compare this to the 30-60 days it takes in Canada (and there you vote for your Member of Parliament, whose party may or may not be the overall winner). It’s a little more direct, IMO, compared to what’s here. At least in Canada, people vote a little more for reasons other than someone’s gender.
It’s definitely interesting to say the least from the view point of this armchair political analyst.