Warning, brah: This post has nothing to do with climbing.
I don’t know why I care sometimes. It’s such bullshit. Except it’s important bullshit – we’re talking about who runs the country. Actually, corporate money rules the country, so I guess I’m off track already. At least it’s almost over. For now. The endless campaigning – which starts about two years before the election, thus half a president’s first term is spent campaigning for his second term, and if he gets a second term then, finally, maybe he can actually muster up the balls to do something – isn’t merely annoying, but it costs such unfathomable amounts – the latest I heard, this morning, was a record $6 billion spent on congressional and presidential races in the 2012 elections cycle – naturally makes me wonder, what incredible good could be done with that money?
Anyway, some election thoughts:
• It’s all such tasty-talking bullshit, both the things we vote on and expect of one man (I hope it will soon be a woman, as she might be more reasonable), as well as the campaigns themselves. And I despise that voice – you know, the campaign speech voice they all do. Obama, whom I fully support, adopts that twangy tone when trying to sound folksy. Romney does the classic-standard-stupid firm pronunciation game, that sound when you know applause is coming and you deepen you voice to a tone where your words are meant to sound like they’re etched into concreted blocks. “I AM KELLY CORDES AND I WILL GET THIS COUNTRY BACK-ON-TRACK!” (Raaaaaah, raaaaah, whooooo, raaaaah, raaaaaaah!)
That last part was crowd noise, if you didn’t know.
• Which reminds me: I hope caps lock will disappear now that the election is nearly over. Note to those using it to make their points on their Facebook rants: It’s obnoxious. It doesn’t make you look smart. Rather, it makes you look like a raving zealot. While that may appeal to fellow raving zealots, all of whom already agree with you, it turns away the reasonable person.
• Actually, here’s something that relates to climbing: Businessmen Romney and Ryan want to sell-off our public lands to the highest bidder. Imagine condos and country clubs and strip malls in your favorite climbing areas (almost all of the areas we climb are public lands). Gross. Business has a place, so does government and collective enjoyment of our shared resources.
• Here’s a head-scratcher: Veterans who were fans of Bush – I mention it here because Romney and Republicans clearly seem more prone to war-mongering. By the way, the U.S. already spends more than the next 10 countries in the world combined on military spending – where are all the “small government, reduce spending” Republicans on this one? And on a philosophical note, has anyone else ever wondered why a country might need such an enormous military? (And no, you moron, it is not because the rest of the world hates us for our freedom.) One might logically think that the truest way to support our troops would be to avoid putting them in harm’s way unless absolutely necessary. Yet is there anything more sinister than sending our people off to die and to be maimed in war over lies, as Bush did? Pure, unabashed evil is what that is. Someone please explain how that constitutes support. Seems not only repulsive but even treasonous to me. Let’s support our military: don’t send them to war unless absolutely necessary. It’s important to have a level-headed, non-evil president. Author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith put it best: “War remains the decisive human failure.”
• While I’m at it, how can so many religious conservatives be Republican? Take the last Republican president – tell me, please, what is Christ-like about preemptively bombing people to smithereens? Murder is a sin, I do believe. And what of the poor? The Republican party seems to have outright disdain for the poor, as if being poor is a character flaw or a moral failing. The Bible makes over 700 references to helping the poor.
• It’s essentially a popularity contest, but, I’d argue in my support of Obama, one in which the person’s ideals and values matter. Everyone makes promises they can’t deliver. It’s a terrible part of the game, one that’s all about telling voters what they want to hear (no matter how non-sensical and unrealistic), and telling it with aplomb. If anybody spoke in facts, they’d never get elected. So, we’re all a part of it. Good podcast on the topic here, from the Freakonomics guys. But Romney, holy shit, his constant “I have a plan for…” talk, and his incredibly vague, incessantly repeated “five-point plan” takes it to new levels. So he’ll magically create 12 million jobs and jump start the economy overnight, cut the deficit, improve education, maintain the services we all rely upon, and do it all while slashing taxes (especially for the rich, of course – a strategy that has never worked for the economy, by the way, despite the “trickle-down” theory). He really should just add a sixth point: And everybody gets a pony. To be sure, being president isn’t easy. It’s not all puppy dogs and tickle fights. But Romney must be smoking crack. I’m reminded of what Mike Tyson used to say about his opponents’ talk of how they had a plan to beat him: “Everybody has a plan – until they get hit.”
• To those voting on such simplistic things like 7.9% (or, fuck, 6%) vs 8.1%, or on who they’d like to have a beer with, or the notion that a good businessman would equate to a good president, I’m reminded of a quip I heard once. Something like: “The problem with democracy is that everyone’s vote counts the same.”
• As an aside, and while I truly feel badly for anybody who’s out of work and hurting, it’s odd to me that 8% unemployment is suuuuuch a horrible thing, yet if it were 6% it wouldn’t even be much of an issue. Lemme get this straight. Right now, in the U.S., 92 out of 100 people have jobs. Horrid, unfathomable, this president must go! (As if it’s all his fault, and not to mention that our unemployment rate isn’t bad on the worldwide scale.) Ahhh, but if 94 of 100 have jobs, then he’s a superstar?
• The world is complex and ever-changing. Now that the economy isn’t in a bubble anymore – by the way, does anybody ever consider that the very fact that it was a bubble means, well, umm, of course it won’t last – some people say they want Romney because they want a “businessman” to run the country. Morons! Being president, it turns out, is a lot more complex than being a businessman. So different that the two have little to do with one another. Being president requires vision far beyond the destructive drain of being beholden to quarterly shareholder profit statements. But if we want to get into the simplistic notion of businessman-as-president, let’s look at some examples. Past presidents with vast business experience include some of our worst, like George W. Bush, Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover. Examples of some past presidents with little or no business experience: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Harry S. Truman (well, he was a failed businessman). In other words, some of our best. And, of course, the best U.S. economy in modern times came under Bill Clinton, whose only skill in business came in the business of womanizing, and who raised “job-killing” taxes on the rich. Turns out that being a “businessman” has little to do with being a good president. In fact, if we want to look at correlations, it’s better to not have a corporate-businessman-guy like Romney as president.
• I have zero problem with making the most well-off pay proportionately more in taxes. Then again, I’ve never thought greed a trait worthy of aspiration. This current state of the wealthy paying less than they have in decades upon decades (thanks to the Bush-era tax cuts for his rich buddies) is bullshit, and most independent economists place huge blame on those cuts as major contributing factors for our budget problems. Turns out that, if you don’t make the million- and billion-aires pay more than the poor, well, surprise, surprise, revenue tanks huge. Part of living in a civilized, balanced, and fair culture means that the rich pay way more than the poor. And, ya know what? Paying 38% of your income when you’re a multi-millionaire still leaves you a millionaire. Don’t be a greedy and ungrateful bastard. Look to third-world countries with complete slums and armed-guard gated homes (I’ve been there, I’ve seen them) to see what happens to a society’s balance when the rich are allowed limitless greed, and everyone else is left to battle for scraps.
• Isn’t it illegal to flat-out lie in ads and stuff? It should be. Maybe it’s just not enforced, or maybe the ability to lie is simply requisite to being a politician. Or maybe making such a law would be decried as “big gubberment” by Republicans.
• Anybody else notice the irony of people shouting ‘Merica! (typically accompanied by a blindness to the historically-shown plague of nationalism, as if the country you’re born in somehow ensures greatness regardless of your ignorance) and complaining about rising unemployment – especially compared to our glory years of innovation, education and economic expansion, back when we were fueled by the sharpest minds and policies ensuring more fairness and equality than our current shift toward a nation of haves and have-nots – while supporting Republican candidates who don’t support education? Cut spending on education, and bitch about our losing ground? Hmmm. Irony, anyone?
Reminds me of that classic Onion front page after Bush got re-elected. It had a picture of him waving to the crowd, and the headline read: “Bush thanks nation’s poor for again voting against their own self-interest.”
• I know that most of you won’t have made it this far. You come here to hear me babble about climbing, not politics. I understand, and politics make me grumpy, so I must say: too bad. It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want. You don’t have to read. ‘Merica!
• OK, OK, enough. To me, Obama is the logical choice. The New Yorker’s endorsement says it better than I ever could. Vote. Actually, one last thing comes to mind – the similarity between elections and alpine climbing: I’ll be happy when it’s over.