Up for Debate

If ever there was a time when we needed a debate, it’s now. The very idea that McCain would use the financial crisis as an excuse is just ludicrous. Whatever’s going to happen with that is going to happen. He’s not going to sway things one way or the other. I’m starting to think there’s something seriously wrong with the way this man thinks. He’s equating the failure of some investment banks with the falling of the twin towers which killed a couple of thousand people. I’m thinking that he’s more worried about his rich friends than the American people.

Seriously, when I was out canvassing, a few people told me specifically they weren’t making up their minds until they see the debates. I think there are people clamoring for information and who want to really measure these guys up. Let’s bring it on.

I feel clueless

Not since my days as an almost economics major have I read so much about money and markets. And I still don’t really have a clue what’s going on. It’s not that I’m dumb, but I think there’s some smoke and mirrors going on. One lawmaker yesterday said that there should be provisions for limiting what the CEO’s get out of this deal. Paulson’s response was that the companies might not take it in that case. And then I and some others are like, are you kidding? Sounds like they don’t really need it. Do broke relatives who come begging for money get to put conditions on the handout? I don’t think so. We have conditions on welfare for crying out loud. And isn’t this basically corporate welfare?

I sort of understand that basically there’s no money to be had and that the $700 billion bailout is a way of getting money out there for banks to lend to each other and in theory, to us and to buy shares in things, etc. But no one’s sure if that will work and we’re not getting anything out of the deal. We will not share ownership in the companies and the assets we hold may be worth less than Monopoly money. No one’s really talking about what scenarios we might be facing with or without the bailout. No one’s saying exactly what will happen except that it will be dire. Well, how dire? Tell us.

The whole thing makes me mad. As I have personally tried to decrease my debt, the country has gone the other way and has encouraged others to go along. “Go shopping,” Bush said after 9/11 and we did. And I was really pissed watching Andrew Sullivan on Real Time blame the people who took out the bad loans for putting us into this mess. Has he been to a mortgage broker or a car dealer lately? They’re selling these things to people–hard. NPR did a story about this not long ago where brokers forced people to lie on applications so the loan would go through. You can’t both say people are dumb and then blame them for being swindled into a loan they can’t afford. Bush’s mantra has been work hard and you’ll get ahead. Well, that’s just patently not true. The real truth is, have friends in high places and you’ll get ahead. And if the current situation doesn’t prove that, I don’t know what does.

Off to canvass

I’m headed out in about an hour to canvass our town on behalf of Obama. I don’t know all the talking points, but what I do know is that our country can’t take any more of an administration that puts its rich friends ahead of the average citizen, that thinks nothing of sending our young people to a war we never should have fought, that only values the power of women when it comes in the right package, that won’t support our children’s education or health. I feel we’re coming close to a death spiral if we don’t change something. Obama by himself may not be able to fix everything, but he can start us on a road to fixing ourselves.

Republicans vs. Democrats, take 2

There are a few comments coming in on an older post of mine. I don’t know if I’d say the comments are interesting since the last few have been full of talking points from various parties. I have to say that I hate it when people use the “this isn’t what the founding fathers meant” argument. The whole point of our government isn’t to figure out what they meant, but to interpret the Constitution for ourselves based on our own facts on the ground. Of course, Thomas Jefferson might not approve gay marriage, but he would have fit in with mainstream thinking at the time. 1776 was 232 years ago. A freaking lot has changed! If we went with what the founding fathers might have thought, we’d still have slaves, women couldn’t vote or own property and talk about having a class system! Don’t use the Constitution when it’s convenient and throw it out when it’s not.

Getting Involved

So I jumped in and volunteered to make phone calls for the Obama Campaign. For three hours last night, I called people in order to get volunteers. I didn’t do too badly. I put my former telemarketing skills to work and signed up 8 volunteers. Considering I only actually talked to 22 people, that’s not too bad. I’m also doing some voter registration drives this weekend and at a big town event in a few weeks. I’ll probably make more phone calls next week.

What’s funny is that the key to doing this kind of stuff is to not take it too personally. I had a couple of people hang up on me and quite a few more pretend to be someone else and tell me they weren’t home. To those who are mean to volunteers when they call, they don’t care. You’re only making your own blood pressure rise. Even when my income depended on connecting with people and making the sale (I did business to business sales), I didn’t really care too much if someone gave me an earful and hung up. It just meant I could move on to the next possibility that much faster.

I’ve done some canvassing for our local Congressman when he was running in 2006, but this is my first real involvement in a political campaign. The other volunteers have been with Obama since the beginning. I’m a latecomer, having supported Edwards and then Clinton. But since last night’s calls were to Obama supporters, I easily got more fired up. I had a hilarious conversation with one woman about how awful Sarah Palin is. And she wanted me to make sure Obama put Hilary on the cabinet, preferably as Secretary of State. She said she could never volunteer making phone calls because she’d just get mad at McCain supporters and take em down a notch. I may be at that point when we start calling the undecideds. I did get one of those last night and she was actually quite nice about it, asked for more information, and said she really wanted to take the time to look over everything and think about it. I believed her.

I’m glad I didn’t talk myself out of doing this and yes, it’s exhausting and yes, it takes time out of an already busy life, but I think it really does take more people getting involved to make change happen. I just couldn’t stand on the sidelines doing commentary anymore.

On not watching McCain

I had every intention of watching McCain’s speech. I watched all the lead-up speeches, beginning around 8:30. Geeky Boy was watching with me. His first comment was, “Oh I see what this is all about: 9/11.” And that was when that Senator from Oklahoma was talking about the OK City bombing–something done to us by religious fanatics in our own country. After her and Tom Ridge and Cindy McCain, I just couldn’t take it any more.

I will say that the mood of the convention seemed very negative and not all that excited–a little like a DNC convention 4 years ago. Compared to the general party atmosphere that seemed to permeate the DNC last week, the RNC just didn’t seem to have the energy to do much. Maybe it was past their bedtime.

It’s been interesting to watch the “woman” issue circulate during these conventions. The Democrats had the first viable woman candidate for president, a woman who, no matter what else we may think of her, is smart and capable. Now, the Republicans, who have selected a woman of questionable qualifications as a VP candidate, are claiming all the credit for having broken the glass ceiling. On the one hand, I’ve been disgusted by hearing conservatives claim that the liberals’ statements about Palin’s inability to lead are sexist. On the other, hearing them finally say that having a woman on the ticket is necessary makes me think that we may have a chance to really break the political glass ceiling. I don’t trust any of these people, but maybe some of it is sinking in to the heartland of America.

I’ll have to catch up on McCain’s speech sometime today, but from what I’ve seen of blogger comments, it looks like it was stiff and more of the same.

You had me at Enough

I decided I could not miss a historic moment like watching the first African-American presidential nominee give an acceptance speech. He said everything I’ve wanted Democrats to say for years. He hit some key issues head on that previous candidates have pussyfooted around–oil, abortion, gay marriage. He pointed out that Republicans have basically been trying versions of the same policies over and over again and they’re not working. I thought his line about “policies of past vs. policies of the future” was really more “okay, old white dudes, you’ve had your turn; now get out of the way.” I think I’m ready to put my bumper sticker on the car and start handing out some literature. If we don’t win this thing, I’m moving to France.

Apparently there’s an election coming up

I have been mostly lost in my own little world the last few months. Last election, I watched the Sunday shows, read blogs, read the paper, kept up with every little thing. I really, really wanted to get Bush out of office. But then I got burned. Like I got burned the time before. I do think Obama has a really good chance of winning. I don’t have that anxiety like I had with Kerry (especially with Kerry, but Gore too) that he’s doing it all wrong and he’s going to screw it all up for the rest of us.

But I can’t get my heart broken again. I’m having a hard time even paying attention much less getting more involved. I thought briefly on the way home one day this week that I should volunteer or something and then I felt immediately tired and thought how much sadder I’ll be if I put even more energy into the election and Obama loses.

Maybe the conventions will bring me out of the slump. But then again school starts this week, for both me and the kids. Soccer begins. All kinds of stuff has. to. get. done. How can I pay attention when there’s so much else going on? I suspect I’m not the only one with this problem and at least I know who the candidates are and mostly where they stand on the issues. I think this is the first election where I’m not saying, “How can those people *not* know what’s going on?” I know. I feel their pain.