Is it November yet?

27 07 2012

It’s a good news/bad news time of life.

The good news is that I have a job, after my position was eliminated (read: sent overseas) in January, after 18 years with the same company.  I now have a contract position as a project manager, which is very new for me, and gives me the chance to develop some new and marketable skills.  And more good news:  my son is working too!  Also in a contract position, but with a really good company and fabulous coworkers.  He’s happier than I’ve seen him in a couple of years.

Bad news: we’re still in the middle of election season.  Which I find more awful every single time.  As you can probably gather, my views are somewhere on the leftish side of the spectrum – so leftish, actually, that Obama has irritated me for not being the progressive he said he’d be during the last election.  I get the idea of conservatism, in the vein of my father being a conservative – he was a Goldwater Republican, the kind that believed in fiscal restraint and a whole bunch of things not being the government’s business.  It would be nice if that’s what conservative still meant, instead of representing a group of politicians who very sincerely want to climb up into my reproductive system and boss me around.

But I digress.

So it’s pretty much a given that the Republicans will be offering us Mitt Romney as their candidate.   I’ve never understood how anyone could support Romney… and this trip to London?  Has just highlighted the reasons why.  As much as I thought that George Bush Jr. was a verbal klutz, he was nothing, NOTHING compared to the jackassery of Mitt Romney.  I mean, seriously: the British overall are so welcoming to USians, and he still managed to screw it up.  And then letting slip that he had met with MI6?  I have to believe that everyone in the diplomatic corps is praying for an Obama victory this fall, because with Romney they’ll only have time to put out whatever fires he has managed to inadvertently set.

I don’t know when I have ever seen anyone more blissfully unaware of his privilege.  And it absolutely floors me that anyone can support someone who is so completely focused on himself and on business life.  Anyone who made it his business to tear companies apart for the sake of money should not be our president.  Anyone who sent that many jobs overseas should not be our president.  And anyone who thinks that running a country is like running a business should not be our president.

I was raised to believe in capitalism and the free market.  I believed that they made this country great, made us better.  I didn’t like Reagan, but I bought in at least a little to the imagery of the shining city on a hill.  I believed that we were the good guys, that we sometimes messed up but our intentions were good, and when we knew we messed up, we apologized and stopped doing it.  But over the last couple of decades I have seen such abuses of the system, of people without morals or ethics who have been able to finesse their way out of regulations by invoking the precious free market, and in the process somehow starting to convince people that if it’s making money, it must be a good thing.  And suddenly money becomes the measure of business morality, rather than looking at the people that are affected by what businesses are doing.

Business leaders at that level aren’t stupid.  They continue to hold out the promise of the American Dream, that you can have all the things they have if you’ll just work hard enough.  And even as they say it, they know it’s a lie.  Not everyone can be that fantastically rich.  You can’t have all the things they do, because those are THEIR things, and do you think they really want to share?  Do you see any of them working to help others achieve what they have?  Sacrificing any of their own wealth so that other people have a better chance?  No, it’s all bootstraps all the time, and never mind that the vast, vast majority of the very wealthy did not get there under their own power.

I don’t understand how conservative voters in this country can so consistently vote against their own interests.  I know that the right wing continually throws up a smokescreen of family values, and it’s turned out to be the most fabulously effective distraction that big business could ever have hoped for.  Conservative voters can’t see past it to ask – what will your policies do for jobs in my area?  How are you planning on supporting economic growth?  What about the infrastructure in my town, my county, my state?  The crumbling water mains, the collapsing bridges?  Nope, you’re against gay marriage and that’s good enough for me.

I think for most conservative voters, the most attractive thing about Romney is that he’s not Obama.  And that he’s the whitest white man that ever whited.  Let’s call this what it is.  I’ve heard all the denials from the right wing, right alongside the cries of “Socialist!” and “Show us your birth certificate!”  If Obama were white, the birth certificate issue would hever have happened.  Obama’s color makes him, in the minds of the right wing, a suspect American, a not-quite American.

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