Sunday, October 26, 2008

Election Woes

I know it's a clique, but a picture is truly worth a thousand words. This presidential election is causing a lot of anxiety in my mind. It would take a lot of words to explain it all.. thankfully there is PhD comics.

These two strips explain my anxiety perfectly:

I am not a US citizen, so I can't vote in this country. However I work in this country legally and I pay taxes here. There are many ways in which the result of this election can affect me and my life directly. More importantly, for however long I stay in this country, I would prefer if the country is led by people who cherish the same ideals as I do. In this election, it means that I am hoping for a Obama victory.

I doubt it will happen. I still feel that a majority of this country will choose McCain and Palin. McCain would have been palatable but Palin is simply a disgrace. I used to like McCain before he made a U-turn on almost everything he claimed to believe in. Some of the U-turns too would have been OK with me. I come from a country full of flip-flopping politicians. However the most egregious one by McCain was the flip-flop on his views about the right wing God-nutters - the very people whom he called agents of intolerance a few years ago. To top it all, he went ahead and chose a God-nutter to be his running mate. And not just any odd God-nutter, a God-nutter who subscribes to one of the most extreme brands of Christianity that are out there. Her brand of Christianity believes in speaking in tongues, believes in witch-craft, believes in magic healing, does not believe in evolution by natural selection (although that's kind of par for the course for God-nutters), believes that rapture is imminent and will happen in her lifetime.

I don't believe that experience is the most important quality needed to be the President. No single person can have all the experience that will prepare him or her for the job of leading the USA. What is more important I believe is intellectual curiosity, the ability to seek and weigh different opinions on issues, the ability to make decisions by analyzing the implications of the various options. When I see Sarah Palin in the two interviews she gave, I see a lack of these very qualities. To me, it means that she will make judgments based on her ideology - which in her case happens to be extreme right wing religious ideology. It's not just her ignorance of issues, it's her pride in her ignorance of issues. It's not just her lack of intellect, it's her contempt for intellectuals. Elect McCain and Palin now and four years down the line, you will find Palin running for President.

The election still seems pretty close when you see the picture in the battle ground states. So the anxiety will continue for 8 more days. After that, I will either be glad that the country chose a reasonably intelligent guy over a pair of 'maverick' God-nutters or I will take solace in the fact that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher will have no lack of material for the next four years.

There are many who have said the things I have tried to say here with much more clarity and force. So I point you now to some of of my heroes:

Sam Harris: When Atheists Attack

Christopher Hitchens: Vote for Obama - McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president. And Palin is simply a disgrace.

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