I don’t have anything against real hope. I’m like everyone else: I can’t live without it. But hopiness is toxic. It’s important not to swallow it.
Before I get rolling, I’ll say right away: No, McCain doesn’t scare me as much as Obama does. I know McCain lies, but Obama is a lie. That’s worse. I know McCain called his wife a cunt. Obama told her to get over it. That’s worse. So don’t say I have to vote for Obama because ZOMG! McCain!. That doesn’t mean a thing to me. There’s also no point calling me racist if I don’t think Obama is perfect. The “Why do you hate America?” shtick didn’t work on me when the neocons tried it. The latest method of shutting people up is equally pathetic.
The stupidest thing is that we’ve been through this movie before. Pre-9/11, George Bush’s approval rating was in the cellar. Three weeks later — after he’d spent the day in question flying around to bunkers and after his advice in subsequent weeks was to go out and shop — three weeks later his approval rating was around 80%. In time of trouble, people were desperate for a leader, and he was in that slot. So they hoped he was the leader they needed, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. That has not worked out well for us.
After the country finally started waking up to the pig’s breakfast Republicans had made of everything, we were desperate for change. Enter Barack preaching change, telling us to hope. People grabbed on to him, without asking what it was that he actually hoped for. Why does anyone think evidence-free faith will work any better this time?
Obama has presided over a campaign steeped in vitriol against women. He has condoned that behavior. He has never objected to it in any way. On the contrary, his response to the obvious anger was, as I already said, that people should get over it. So one thing he hopes is that women will put up and shut up. That’s not the kind of change I want.
He has used extraordinarily dubious tactics to win elections. The country has suffered an increasing string of dishonest elections since 2000. Obama’s actions indicate he’s in favor of more of the same. That’s not the kind of change I want.
He voted for the FISA bill to grant telcos immunity for spying on US citizens. His trolls swarm real- and cyberspace, shutting off free speech, without a word of protest from him. He’s said that impeachment should be reserved for serious crimes, which is fine, except he was talking about the Bush Administration. If they haven’t committed impeachable crimes, then anything goes. So he hopes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights become dead letters. That’s not the kind of change I want.
After basing his entire campaign on his paper-thin antiwar credentials, he’s now going all nuanced on us and thinks “some” troops should stay in Iraq. (Nothing wrong with nuance. There’s just something wrong with clubbing your rivals for it and then cloaking yourself in it when that’s expedient.) He also now feels that more war is good so long as it’s in Afghanistan. He hopes that nobody will notice his reversal or care. That’s not the kind of change I want.
He has used accusations of racism to stifle dissent, and he’s been happy to have his supporters run with the tactic. He’s made it clear that he thinks women belong under the bus. He’s been more than willing to throw gays under it. But that he should make a mockery of suffering he has to have felt himself, just to score cheap political points, is somehow even more appalling. So, he seems to hope bigotry can be applied at will for any purpose. That’s not the kind of change I want.
None of these issues are secret. Everyone knows them. Not enough people care. It used to be conservatives who would support their own no matter what ghastly positions they took. But progressives are proving they can catch up. They are becoming people who can believe anything, forget all their principles, and condone anything in the hope of getting power. That, most of all, is not the kind of change I want.