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Time For Some Campaignin’

This JibJab video about the 2008 campaign for the U.S. president just about sums up my feelings. Call me cynical.

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Barack on the Secular State

For those who get tripped up on the idea of a secular state, Barack Obama gives a good definition. A secular state isn’t anti-religious. It is religiously neutral, allowing everyone to believe whatever their conscience dictates. It involves coming together on common ground to work together.

It’s good to hear a presidential candidate making this much sense.

(via Mind on Fire)

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The Power of Nightmares

Since discussion veered to neoconservatism and religion, has anyone else seen the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares? It’s a thought provoking, eye opening look at religion, politics, and the entanglement of neoconservatism and islamism.

Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today’Â’s nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

Perhaps a bit partisan (anything interesting is), but it connected a lot of dots for me.

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Short Man Out

I must regretfully announce that I will not be running for President. I know this will disappoint my ardent supporters, but you should know that I’m the kind of guy to face facts. My political consultants tell me that I could never be elected President. There are many reasons why, but I want to focus on just one. I’m 5’6″ (1.68m).

The average male height in the U.S. is slightly over 5’9″ (1.75m). Only 11 out of 43 presidents have been under 5’9″. None of those short Presidents were elected after 1900. The taller candidate has won two-thirds of the elections since 1900. Only three presidents have been as short or shorter than I am. Based on my height alone, I will never be elected President of the United States, especially in the age of televised debates. I might as well be Dukakis.

To add insult to injury, I probably make less money and have fewer interested potential mates (if I were on the market) all because I’m short. But I guess I’m getting off topic.

Before anyone accuses me of harboring a Napoleon complex (actually, he might not have been that short), I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to elect me President, date me, or give me a raise because I’m short. I’m not bitter. (What’s a short guy got to do to get respect? Conquer Europe?)

You, my fellow Americans, can’t help it. You’re not thinking rationally. It’s biological. While you believe yourself to be making rational decisions about the candidates to support, you are subconsciously influenced to choose the one who feels more like a strong troop leader. We’re not as far as we imagine from our prehistoric existence as apes in Africa.

So rather than waste our time and energy, let’s all go vote for our favorite tall man with good hair.

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Why Should I Vote?

I’ll admit it. I was this close to drinking the Kool Aid. I was starting to believe that Obama as President would make a difference. Then I found out that Obama is opposed to impeaching Bush or Dick.

“There’s a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out,” [Obama] said, without naming Bush or Cheney. “That’s how our system is designed.”

Bzzzt. Wrong answer. Our system is also designed with a system of checks and balances between the branches of government. Congress is shirking its duty to check the power of the presidency. Simply letting Bush and Dick leave office as their term expires doesn’t send the right message to future presidents. We need to kick them out and let the world know we won’t accept criminals in our White House.

The Democrats were voted into office because the people wanted the troops to come home and the President to have a real opposition party. Since taking power, the Democrats have managed to rubber stamp Bush’s warrantless domestic spying and escalate the war (and they have the worst confidence rating since Gallup began keeping record—14%). But they still don’t get it.

Obama is more of the same ol’ same ol’. His PR has painted him as the charming new face of political change, yet he refuses to admit that our soldiers are dying in vain the war on an abstract noun.

I’m feeling broken-spirited and powerless to protect myself from the slow attrition of my liberties. I’m beginning to see that my vote doesn’t matter. Whether Republicrats or Demicans are in office seems to make no difference. There will be more of the same. Those in power trot out some new faces every couple of years to reassure us, the voting masses, that we have the power to affect change. Too little do we suspect that it’s all a sham.

Both parties largely represent the same goals and agenda. Abortion, war, civil liberties, education are nothing more to the politicians than flags to wave to distract us from their real concern: power and the status quo. The better to serve their corporate masters.

I could vote for someone in another party who I believe would make real changes, but they don’t have a real chance of winning (yet?). To my recollection, no candidate that I have voted for has ever won a national election. Not a single one. Does that mean all my votes have been wasted? Have I been tricked into believing that my vote matters?

So tell me again: why should I vote?

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