Friday, October 26, 2012


It's not hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that there are people running for public office with whom I have greatly differing ideologies. Not only have we not yet fully recovered from a devastating recession, but having had a black man in the White House these past four years has rallied momentum in the extreme far-right edges of the Republican party, and has been the catalyst for some of the most offensive and divisive language in US political History. Leading up to a general election, heated discourse, impassioned rhetoric and loudly differing opinions have generally been how the two party system has worked in this country. No surprise. The information rolling in that shows half of the country supporting a candidate whose social policies would have seemed extreme to Herbert Hoover, however, is baffling to me. I'm not even touching on his glaring lack of foreign policy experience, his Cayman Island bank accounts, various foreign tax shelters, lack of tax returns, leaked videos, or his history of being on every conceivable side of any given issue.

While Willard 'Mitt' Romney has been spectacularly successful as a cutthroat titan of industry, a paragon of capitalist greed, dismantling businesses for profit and outsourcing jobs to other nations to the tune of billions, he's also been a failure as Governor of Massachusetts (look at his polling numbers in that state). He's a ruthless, ambitious, egomaniacal sociopath whose tenacity knows no bounds. Even so, we've somehow gotten used to seeing these kinds of men competing for positions of power. His arrogance is not anything new. His inability to hide it, however, is notable.

Romney is unlikable. His palpable smug Mormon superiority exudes in every interview, every television appearance, and every news photo. His demeanor shouts "I am chosen, you are not. I am above you, I rightly deserve to serve as your leader. And, I always get what I want." His entitled condescension to everybody, and his disrespect and insolence, even to (perhaps especially to) the President confirm this.

His wife Ann's media appearances, intended to soften his message and to appeal to women voters, have only seemed to backfire by reaffirming the Romney brand of supremacy and entitlement. Most notably when asked about the family's conspicuously absent tax returns by ABC's Robin Roberts, Ann responded, "We've given you people all you need to know about our finances." and again on ABC's "The View," when she likened Mormon missionary work to military service. Of course, there was also Mrs. Romney's convention speech when she nostalgically reminisced about how, as young marrieds, she and Mitt were so poor they were forced to eat tuna and spaghetti - never mind the fact that there are countless Americans living in poverty who dream of being able to eat tuna and spaghetti, but I'm sure that the Romney response would be their laziness and lack of personal responsibility are what prevents them that luxury.

Don't think the arrogance stops with Ma and Pa Romney. The night of the second debate, the town hall-styled shindig moderated by Candy Crowley where the President clearly whupped some ass, Tagg, one of the Romney boys, told members of the press that he felt like taking a swing at the President. Nice. Respectful.

Yes, the Romneys are unlikable; entitled, out-of-touch, arrogant, pompous, and all-around odious. Yet half the country plans on voting for this portentous prig anyway. I am confounded and infuriated.

"But I support his economic policies."

Bullshit. The only economic policy Willard is proposing is to continue Bush's pandering to corporate interests, further disassembling social safety nets, and mollycoddling the wealthy, namely his own personal investors. Additionally, Willard, ambitious blowhard that he is, has sworn that on day one of his Presidency he'll end funding to Planned Parenthood, initiate the end of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), approve the Keystone Pipeline, cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund, reverse every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life, begin turning the economy around with a plan for the middle class (though he hasn't said what that plan is), and stand up to China. (Sounds like a busy day.) He's also said he's going to create twelve million jobs, cut funding to PBS, and promises to sign a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

And while my civil rights get ripped away, while people go broke and lose their healthcare benefits and hospital visitation rights, while seniors struggle to eat and pay for their housing and medication, while public education continues to rank among the lowest of the world's developed nations, while young girls are forced to carry their rapists' babies to term or die from botched illegal abortions, while corrections facilities fill to capacity with poor, young men of color like the bellies of so many slave ships, half of the country believes these things are of little or no consequence because Romney has sound business credentials. Well guess what?


Today, I'm embarrassed for my country. I'm embarrassed by half of its population who will selfishly vote with their pocketbooks. I'm embarrassed by the slew of racially coded overtones that get repeated daily in the media. The President is a constitutional law scholar and was the president of the Harvard Law Review, yet somehow it's okay to insinuate that he's Muslim or socialist. Somehow it's okay to call into question his heritage and his patriotism. Somehow it's okay for Romney to joke: "No one's ever asked to see MY birth certificate." Somehow it's okay for a party platform to claim "he's not one of us," or for him to be called the "food stamp President," or for Republicans to want to "take our country back."

That President Obama is a moderate makes things even more confusing. Alas, Obama's brand of bipartisanship was never going to work in a congress whose sole motivation was to make him a one term President.

Please believe me when I say that I am not blindly following the great Obama into the sunset. He is not my personal hero. I disagree with any number of the things he's done, or hasn't done, since he's taken office (i.e., drone strikes, Guantanamo, etc.). He continues to be a key player in the overarching hegemonic machine that systematically keeps things the way that they are. But, he is better than most. He's certainly better than the immediate alternative. I'd like to take a moment to remember that on his first day in office, Obama signed the Lilly Leadbetter Fairpay act for women. He's also done more for LGBT civil rights legislation than any other president, possibly any other elected official, ever. 

So if you feel your taxes are more important than civil rights, I'd like to leave you with just a few words: rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape... fuck you, Republican party.

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