I can't take it anymore. This is way too long between primaries. The days drag on and on, the accusations go back and forth, and still the Pennsylvania primaries haven't happened yet.
I also find that my vow to keep out of the Democratic fray and just post about John McCain is weakening. I find I just can't muster the hatred for John McCain that I can for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, so I don't have the urge to post about him. Yes, I know he was involved in the Keating Five, I know he called his wife an unmentionable word and is prone to erratic rages, I've learned his positions are not what we might have thought and are as right-wing as any other neocon, at least during this campaign (who knows what he'll do when elected). But I'm just not getting that same strong urge to post about these things that I always felt about Bush.
What I am feeling is an urge to post about the Democrats. And I think I'll have to go back to doing so. Things keep happening that I want to comment about here!
First of all, I was over at Sue J's place, Nailing Jello to the Wall, and her recent post about Obama caught my eye. Apparently he has been using the civil rights struggle as part of his own personal story, and playing fast and loose with the timing -- much as Hillary has been accused of exaggerating her experience landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, or the story of a health care nightmare that turned out to be more complicated than she made it out to be.
As I said over at Sue's place, Obama likes to speak in metaphor and symbolism, and if something doesn't fit, to him it doesn't matter because it should fit - it makes a much better story. And in all fairness to Hillary, it's the same thing as her story about the sniper fire.
Let's face it: Politicians stretch the truth; they have stump speeches with specific examples of situations that may or may not be 100% true because they are metaphorical and symbolic. They say things because people will respond to them. I'm not saying it's good or bad, it just is. And both candidates are doing it. And so is John McCain, if anyone were paying more attention to what he's saying.
What is concerning is that since Obama is the Candidate of Change, I would feel better if he were not fudging the truth this way. We expect it of Hillary, but those of us who support Obama were hoping he wouldn't be doing it.
But I guess when it comes down to it, all politicians are still...politicians.
The other recent event that has annoyed me is McCain and Clinton are jumping all over Obama for having said working-class people are "bitter," saying it was derogatory and elitist. According to the NY Times, this is how it went down:
"At the fund-raiser in San Francisco last Sunday, Mr. Obama outlined challenges facing his presidential candidacy in the coming primaries in Pennsylvania and Indiana, particularly persuading white working-class voters who, he said, fell through the cracks during the Bush and Clinton administrations.
'So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,' Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript on the Huffington Post Web site, which on Friday published the comments.
The remarks touched off a torrent of criticism from Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain and Republican activists and party officials, all accusing Mr. Obama of elitism and belittling the working class. Mr. Obama forcefully rejected those charges when he arrived at a rally here on Friday evening, drawing a standing ovation in a crowded gymnasium when he painted both of his rivals as entrenched Washington insiders.
'No, I’m in touch,' Mr. Obama said. 'I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, I know what’s going on in Indiana, I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed up, they’re angry, they’re frustrated, they’re bitter and they want to see a change in Washington. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States of America.'"
It seems to me that this election season has dragged on far too long, when a remark such as this, made at a campaign fundraiser, is immediately pounced upon by pundits and politicians alike and blown all out of proportion.
Hillary too has suffered from this problem -- every little thing either of them say is recorded, posted on YouTube, publicized across all the news channels that have to fill their many hours with as many tidbits as possible.
It just results in more tit for tat, more back and forth, more sniping, more divisiveness.
I'm not happy. I wish the campaign had ended months ago. This system is broken; the primary season started in 2006 and has been going on forever. The U.S. needs to have a new system, one more like Canada or the UK: Have a vote of no-confidence in the current government and then declare it time for an election, give people about 6 weeks to campaign and then - boom - have an election.
We'd have had a Democratic administration for the past two years if we had their system, instead of suffering through the endless distraction of these campaigns while other issues get pushed aside.
By the time anyone is elected they'll be so exhausted that whoever is elected won't be able to govern. Especially if it's McCain, who's already old!
On the bright side, at least it's finally spring here in the New Jersey suburbs. We finally got a few warm spring days and suddenly the magnolias are blooming, the cherry blossoms sprouting and the leaves are budding. There are crocuses and daffodils, and bright yellow forsythia.
But throughout it all is the endless drumbeat of politics and I'm getting cynical about the whole thing...I hope we progressives will be able to keep up our enthusiasm and be able to get the votes out in November, if we can ever get there.
I'll end by posting a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of my favorite poets. Although known for her love poems and sonnets, she also had a number of political poems. This one may or may not be one of them, but I find it strangely appropriate, especially the part about the maggots...
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay