Sunday, November 02, 2008

2 days until the election

[WARNING: This post got much longer then I anticipated. It might piss you off. Sorry about that, but then again, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. Cry if I want to. Cr...never mind. One last post. Father Of Five - I'm posting my pictures of my crib tomorrow night...don't let me forget. Kat has asked me to guest post! November 21st is my day...oh crap! I left the oven on...enjoy!]

When I was in college, the first time, and even in high school I was seriously the biggest geek weirdo on the planet liked to study things like logic and rhetoric. Even for a while in college, I was completely fascinated by anthropology. What in the name of Sam Hill was a late teen/early twentysomething doing studying this stuff?

I don't understand people. Never have. I don't get how people think but I figured if I studied this stuff, I might someday understand where other people are coming from.

What I do understand is logic, reasoning and that absolutely nothing is unrelated. In my universe, there is nothing but shades of grey...oh yeah! Shades of grey.

This political season has brought something together in my head that I had never really seemed to fully grasp before. People will congregate around other people that they perceive as being similar to themselves.

My two undecided posts came with some really great comments. People really tried to explain their reasons in a positive light. Some even gave me sites to visit. Being the follow through blogger guy that I am, I actually followed the links (thank you for not sending me porn / spam / phishing / nefarious links. (a little porn would be fine)

The links sent were to sites that shared the views or ideas of the people that sent them. This has often made me wonder if people seek out these links to validate their ideas or do they go to them and get persuaded. It's probably a little of both.

I spend much of my time researching issues by first finding out what the relative terms mean and the doing searches based on those terms looking for research and findings on those terms and then cross checking them with various sites to see what all the sides are saying. I like to pay particular attention to the rhetoric used. Good lord. Can you find a bigger geek?

Wikipedia (I'm seeing a trend here) defines rhetoric as:
Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art (Latin) or technique (Greek) of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language. A rhetorical question is a question which is asked to have a persuasive effect, rather than to elicit an answer.
If you pay particular attention to the terms and general tone of a particular presentation of information, you can begin to understand what the presenter is trying to help you believe.

For the last 8 years, the Republicans have been using fear to persuade the people. Reminding us that there hasn't been another terrorist attack since Bush got things under control. Never mind that several (think most) previous presidents could easily make the same claim. (Also note that 9-11 came on his watch...just sayin)

The Democrats came out of the blocks this year and rode the fatigue that this method has left us in and promised "change". That can be quite convincing. People are really tired of being afraid. They want hope.

I will never be a card carrying liberal Democrat. I love life without taxes. I believe people need to work and work hard. I strongly believe that the government can not and will not ever be able to solve our problems. Buuutttt.....I do believe that government should stay out of our lives and let us make our own decisions about who we live with and who we love.

I will never be a card carrying conservative Republican. I love life without morals being shoved down my throat. I'm not now and never will be an evangelical who believes the world was created on November 12, 1800 b.c. (no, it's true. I don't think it's wrong to teach evolution...shhhh...don't tell the PTA). Buuutttt...I do believe in a world of smaller government. Lower taxes. Far fewer social programs and a free market system where hard work is rewarded and sloth is punished.

So our two party system has left me screwed. I know, I know, we have more then two parties, but lets understand something. Most of the lemming that live in our country don't hear the other parties. I enjoyed our brief brush with Governor Ventura. Maybe someday we can have a 3rd party candidate with enough legs to make a run. This year...not so much.

On one of the links given to me, it was pointed out that the party of hope and nice messages was the Democrats. UppercaseWoman (you can call her Tori) shares some writing of another blog she reads that she thinks sums up her view perfectly. She summarizes:
Sarah L. just reminded me of this great blog written by two best friends of 60 years and I think their most recent entry sums it up brilliantly:

Which party has been screaming terrorist, socialist, Marxist, murder him and kill him… and which party has been talking about hope and unity.

Which party has been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at you everyday for the past two weeks hoping to scare you into thinking that there is an Un-American part of the country… and which party has been saying that there is no red America and no blue America but only the United States of America.

Which party thinks war is the answer to everything… and which party has suggested that maybe we need to sit down and talk this out to see if peace is possible.
I fully understand this sentiment. I'm not buying this whole scary rhetoric that we've been spoon fed these last few years. Creating ghosts in our closet and showing undue linking of events to perpetuate of myth is a Fallacy of necessity.

But, studying the ads from the Democrats shows that even they aren't free of this. In our local elections here, many of the Democratic ads attempt to scare you into believing that all the bads of the world will continue if you don't vote for their guy. Huh? I could have sworn that Bush's term ends in January of 2009. Have the Democrats had the power of Congress for the last 2 years? You mean to tell me that they couldn't do anything? Pffttt....

In the race for our open U.S. Senate seat. We see Norm Coleman (R-MN) as the incumbent vs. Al Franken (D-CA). You know, the actor/writer/talk show host. Ya...that Al Franken. His ads against Coleman have been all about fear and the corruption of Norm Coleman. Ya, I know he paid the back taxes in the states, that is true, but it is also true that his books weren't exactly clean either. He paid back taxes on taxes he didn't realize he needed to pay. It's weird how you can always spin issues...ain't it.

Anywho, why I mention this is last week I actually got a call from the Democrats hoping to persuade my vote. I'm always polite when I answer the phone, unless of course you violate my "No calls unless you are in the emergency room or with a coroner after 9pm" rule. Then I'm rude. Since both parties are so far doing everything possible to piss me off, this exchange did not really endear me to the party of the donkey.
Caller: Have you decided who are voting for this election?
OhCaptain: Well, I'm still undecided for president, but I'm pretty sure I'll be voting for Coleman in the Senate.
Caller: Why aren't you voting for Franken?
OhCaptain: I gotta be honest. I didn't really care for his views on his radio show and I figure he's nothing more then a celebrity candidate that has no idea about Minnesota. His campaign reminds me a lot of Hilary running in New York.
Caller: You know Coleman is not from MN.
OhCaptain: (thinking "nice change of direction...but that's not we ain't talking about Coleman...are we) how long has it been since Franken really lived in MN? Sure he grew up here, but the was 30 years ago. Seems to me it's possible things have changed since then. Besides, did you ever listen to his radio show?
Caller: You know he's the candidate for change.
OhCaptain: (for the love of all things reasonable...can YOU answer the dang question?) I've heard that. What does he plan to do to help us find a solution to our railroad problem here in Rochester?
Caller: So, why aren't you voting for Obama?
OhCaptain: I didn't say I wasn't voting for Obama. I said I was undecided on the presidential race but knew for sure I wouldn't vote for Franken. Is it OK if I don't necessarily vote a straight ticket? (I seriously doubt this person even knew it was possible to not vote a straight you know what a straight ticket is?)
Caller: Well, we'd like your support next Tuesday. Thank you for your time. [click]

Well, that couldn't have gone much worse. Now, not only am I undecided, but I'm more pissed off then I was before. I was really starting to think their might be some hope. It struck me that this lady could not comprehend the idea that it was possible for someone to not be a party person. I don't find any of the major or minor parties match up with my beliefs. Each and every year, I struggle to find the candidate that pisses me off the least. Each party has a plank on their platform that I feel very strongly about and each party has a plank on their platform that I find patently offensive.

Someday. I hope we elect a candidate that understands the concept of pragmatism. That does what is best for our nation as a whole. A candidate that can set aside his own beliefs to do the right thing. I yearn for the day when the politician can tell his party that they are wrong. Logic and reason are good things.

And I just blew any chance of this blog being labeled "humorous". Crap. Did you read this far? I suppose the title of this blog does say "The life and thoughts of a Midwest geek." These are my thoughts....:-P Now, in comments, I leave it up to you. The reader. The person that's wondering if they can get the last 5 minutes back. The answer is no. But thanks for playing. Complain in the comments. Gush in the comments. Don't hesitate to look at pictures of my kids and say things like "they are so cute/adorable/up to something evil".


Kat said...

Go with your gut in the booth.

Heather said...

I have seen so many people this year volunteer to help with one party or the other's campaign. Most of these people aren't qualified to convince voters of anything - they just feel strongly about their candidate. When making your decision, focus on the candidate and not some terrible conversation you had on the phone with a volunteer that has nothing to do with anything after the election ends.

Mike said...

Damn, your right, that was a long post. You and I are very similar and confused (or angry) at the same time. I think you have to vote for the individual and not necessarily the party. Moderate views will always need to do that. And I have said in a previous post I wrote a little while ago, you will tend to vote for "The lesser of two evils."

Anonymous said...

You know I 'read' that post in all of 3 seconds!

"frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" BUT I did comment and add another number to your visits!

and you word verification is..
'alstoche' - exactly!

Rian said...

In the Coleman-Franken mess, Dean Barkley is now doing well and could pull off a "ventura"

If you don't want to be one of the lemmings, vote for principles and don't be afraid to vote third party

Cute kids, did they have fun trick or treating?

Astin said...

And all this time I thought he was good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people liked him.

Just vote for the people who must gel with your beliefs. A few years back, I walked into the booth for our municipal election and checked off only one candidate for one position (counsellor), I left the mayor blank, and whatever the other position was blank as well. NONE of the options were worth my vote, but this 26 year-old nobody candidate for counsellor was full of new and GOOD ideas. Sadly, he got creamed, but I hope he runs again.

Nellie said...

Ya know... I have to admit I sorta agree with you on alot there.

Uppercase woman's name is Cecily. Her 2 year old daughters name is Tori :)