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Friday, November 19, 2010

Diversity or Perversity?: the 2008 election

(originally published January, 2007 in The Burro magazine)

America is in for a very interesting couple of years. The national pursuit of nomination for each party’s candidacy for president should bring out every diversity, and possibly, quite a few perversities, which America has to offer.

The Democratic Party should offer the most interesting array of diversity ever beheld on the American political scene. Hillary Clinton is already prominently mentioned as the front-runner in the race. Of course, a woman has never been nominated for a major party’s candidacy for president, let alone won the White House.

But then again, before this year, we have never had a woman as Speaker of the House- and now Nancy Pelosi (Dem., CA) holds that honor for the next session of Congress. Locally, we have just completed a historic election campaign that saw three women Democrats win office in the state congress.

So is it time for a woman to win the White House? Certainly, the idea has never had more support. Many people have commented that with women in power, our country would be far less likely to go to war. And having Margaret Thatcher and Indira Ghandi in power didn’t seem to hurt England or India. In fact, both women leaders were well respected during their time in office, and have fared well with historical evaluation.

But Hillary Clinton is not the only history-making potential candidate for the Democrats. Barak Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, is drawing huge raves with his charismatic speechmaking, and his intelligent, sincere approach to the issues of the day. Could our country be ready to accept an African-American as President of the United States?

From many sections of the country, the answer would be a resounding “no” to that question. But these same factions, still rooted in a prejudice that our country is in denial of, would also reject Clinton for being a woman.

Until the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, the Deep South of America was traditionally solidly Democrat. That alliance switched when democrat Lyndon Johnson pushed significant civil rights bills through Congress, immediately after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

So history would tell us that, if the Democratic Party feels that they are doing the right thing, they would do it in total disregard for isolated factions of public opinion, like racists of the Deep South.

Perhaps the Democrats will decide that the best one-two punch is the most diverse, and to the prejudiced, the most controversial. Perhaps the campaign bumper stickers will read “Clinton-Obama: Because Bigots Cause Drama.”

Other Democratic hopefuls offer a less diverse, more mainstream potential as candidates. One of my personal favorites is General Wesley Clark. I have long held the opinion that wars should be led by people who know what they are doing, and not by people who spent their National Guard duty snorting cocaine and skipping service time (yes, that is a reference to Martha Bush’s baby boy).

John Edwards has also announced his candidacy. He could quite possibly be the best mainstream candidate available for either party. His meteoric rise from trial lawyer to senator to VP nominee in the 2004 election speaks volumes for his potential. His current weakness is fundraising, but with major party backing, that could be resolved quickly.

No other possible candidate stands to make a realistic play, at this time, for the Democratic nomination, at this time.

The same cannot be said for the Republican Party. This is a wide-open field of potentiality, and while there are legitimate candidates available, there are also several possible nightmare possibilities for the future of our country.

The worst possible scenario would be that Vice President Dick Cheney actually runs for president. Never in the history of mass media has there been a man who was so incapable of presenting a pleasing public face. His vicious replies to the press are legendary. And his real life actions are just as bad. From his accidental shooting of a Texas party member while on a beer-guzzling hunting trip, to his cursing outbursts at press conferences and speeches, this man has shown his true color. It is Black, as in Black Mood, Black Cloud over his head, and the Black of the clothing of the mourning families of the over 3000 American service people who are dead in the Iraq war, which has only served to fatten the wallets of Halliburton, Cheney’s former company, and Cheney’s many friends in the oil industry and military industrial complex.

Another nightmare would be the continuance of the Bush Dynasty by running the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Yes, Jeb Bush of the 2000 Florida voting scandal, and of the Teri Schiavo fiasco, which attempted to ingratiate the younger brother to the religious right wing fanatics that form the base of the New Republican party, by highlighting him in a case of “right-to-life” versus legal rights to govern medical care by responsible family members.

While certainly Jeb would make a better president than his brother has (rumor has it he actually has a vocabulary over 100 words, including many words with more than two syllables), he would also be just another puppet to Pappa Bush’s CIA-led war machine advisors.

After being the head of the CIA, then Vice President, and finally a one-term President, Pappa Bush moved his son Dubya into the White House (through some cleverly managed voter fraud in Florida in 2000, and Ohio in 2004), while he took jobs representing the military industrial complex as a liaison to Saudi Arabia. Is it any wonder we are now at war with Saudi Arabia’s biggest competitor for the international oil trade-- Iraq? Don’t forget, 11 of the 14 terrorists responsible for September 11th’s tragic happenings were identified as Saudi Arabian.

One possible candidate for the Republicans who generates a lot of local interest is Arizona Senator John McCain. Recently ranked as the most influential senator in Congress, McCain has shown signs of moving away from the independent views that have made him a top choice for the White House. After publicly criticizing the religious right’s stranglehold on his party, he has appeared to ‘kiss-up’ to leaders such as Jerry Falwell. And even though he is a former Vietnam prisoner of war, he has sided with Bush in war plans, including recent suggestions of raising the number of troops in Iraq.

It may be just my impression, but McCain also seems to have gone through some recent plastic surgery. In November’s election analysis segments on national television, he was a frequent guest, and seemed to have a shine around his face that resembled an exhibit at Madame Toussade’s Wax Museum. Was it Doc Hollywood, to the rescue? Could a new face, and kissing up to the Right Wing, actually help win McCain the White House?

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