Once again my apologies to our friends in other countries. This is a post about American politics, not synchros.
The last presidential debate took place this evening, October 22. Throughout this debate, I sat in our family room with my jaw permanently dropped. Here’s why:
When we lived in Venezuela, we traveled back to the U.S. every summer, usually to Oklahoma, where my mother’s family lived. For my sister and I, these trips were fun – lots of cousins to play with, lots of mischief we could get into while our parents sat around playing bridge and gabbing and catching up.
During one trip, someone punched out a screen in an upstairs window in my aunt’s house. I’m not sure why this was such a big deal, but all the kids were called into the living room and asked if they were responsible for this event. When I told my dad that my sister and I didn’t have anything to do with this, his expression became quite stern. “Please don’t ever lie to me, Trish. If you and Mary were responsible for this, just say so. Nothing is worse than a liar.”
That phrase has stuck with me for all the decades since. Nothing is worse than a liar. And yet, we have a Republican candidate who lies continually. In tonight’s debate, he reversed some of his previously held positions on the Mideast and actually embraced many of Obama’s foreign policies. It’s as if Romney doesn’t have any idea that our technology records everything. Check our website, he said to Obama. The present’s comeback? That he and his administration check Romney’s website frequently and the math for his economical policies still don’t add up.
Romney mentioned the word peace quite frequently this evening – a peaceful world, a peaceful Mideast, a peaceful Afghanistan. Yet, to achieve this elusive peace we must have the strongest military in the world, we must not be afraid to stand up to Iran – which is four years closer to nuclear weapons – or to China, where untold millions of Romney’s wealth is invested – or to these Syrian despots.
In other words, in Romney’s worldview, we must continue to be the world’s cop, we must continue to nation build – which in the past has meant installing dictators whom we control through massive foreign aid. In the past, this has meant war – more war, endless war. If Romney has his way, we would probably nuke Iran, China, Syria, and any other country that didn’t tow the U.S. line. Not too surprising, considering that the majority of his foreign policy advisors are straight out of W’s administration. I mean, really, one of Romney’s heroes is Dick Cheney. W’s Secretary of State, Condoleza Rice, appears at political functions with him.
Don’t take my word for it. Read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read on U.S. foreign policy and what drives it.
I was delighted every time Obama called out Romney on one of his lies – about his proposed budget (where are the details?), on his polices (two months ago, you held the opposite position), on his “business” credentials (let GM go bankrupt). The choice seems utterly clear to me. Romney is an extended version of George W Bush – more tax cuts for the wealthy, more war, more world cop scenarios, more disenfranchisement of the sick, the poor, the elderly (you guys are on your own!) and more attempts to control the health care choices for women. Romney and Obama are the faces of the existing paradigms.
Romney is the old paradigm that has dominated American politics for decades (keep lying, they’ll eventually believe your lies) and Obama is the new paradigm – diplomacy, discussion, sanctions instead of nukes.
Romney’s flip-flops make him a caricature – Daffy Duck on steroids. Republican pundits who defend him talk about the way his policies and views are “expanding, evolving.” That’s a fancy way of saying that he lies to look good. When he talks about peace – he means war. When he talks about choices in anything – Medicare, Social Security, women’s health – he means he and his administration will choose for you, that they will impose their high and mighty morals on you. Never mind that they only give a damn about you until you’re born. After that, you’re on your own.
Never mind that he’ll send your son and daughters off to war, even though he never served a day in any war. Never mind that he talks about the people he has met while campaigning – the unemployed teacher in this state, the dying mother in that state. His policies would dismantle the teachers’ union and overturn Obama Care, (based on the health plan Romney created for Massachusetts when he was governor of that state). His policies would return us to the W years, which ended in the worst financial crisis we’ve experienced since the Great Depression. When he talks about the tax burden on “small businesses,” he includes (but doesn’t mention) corporations like General Electric that paid NO taxes last year.
My dad’s words echo in my head: Nothing is worse than a liar.
One of our friends at the gym said it best today. Bill, a 58-year-old musician, stopped by my treadmill to say hi. “So, you watching the prez debate tonight?” I asked him.
Bill and I became friends during the 2008 presidential election season, when I heard him arguing with a McCain supporter. I piped in with my two cents and we decimated every argument this Repub made. After that, he started going to Rob’s yoga classes and whenever we see each other at the gym, our conversations are usually about politics and the shifting landscapes of American and global life.
“Maybe. O’s got it sewn up, Trish. Don’t believe anything they’re saying about the polls.”
Me, ever hopeful: “Yeah? You’ve got insider info?”
Bill just laughed. Bill and I both agreed that these “undecided voters,” just two weeks out from the election, are basically a myth. At this point in the game, if you’re undecided about who you’re going to vote for, then you are basically clueless about what’s at stake in the 2012 election. It’s about a paradigm shift and the choices have never been clearer.
Are you voting for the past – Romney (W, Reagan, Bush senior) – or for the present and the future – Obama?