Inhuman Swill : Politics : Page 5

The choice

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If you're an American voter and you're still undecided today, please read this New Yorker editorial and think hard about it before you go to the polls:

The Choice

And to those of you for whom opposing abortion is the most important issue in this campaign, please ask yourselves honestly why protecting a horde of merely potential human beings who are more likely than ever to be born into crushing poverty is more important to you than ensuring that there is a clean, prosperous, and stable world for them to live on.

If you don't like abortion, don't have one, but please, for the sake of us all, don't let that get in the way of dealing with the real problems we face here in the real world. Real, feeling people are suffering in real, horrendous ways now. You are part of the world economy, and you are without doubt feeling the pain yourself.

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Ghost of Bradley present

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If you're looking for some alternative political listening for this long, long Election Day, check out this segment from the October 24 episode of WNYC's "On the Media," which handily debunks the myth of the Bradley effect:

Ghost of Bradley Present

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An atheist's communion

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I just got home from early voting and dropping Laura off at her el station. We had touchscreen voting machines with paper ballot receipts that scrolled under glass. I have to say, it was a pretty slick and reassuring way to vote, though it lacked the visceral satisfaction of those New York machines where you set all the small levers and then ram one giant lever home to lock in your votes.

Still, the experience was not without its reward. I'm a sentimentalist, I know, but I felt a frisson of pride—dare I say rightness chills?—as I touched my stylus to the OBAMA/BIDEN box and took part in what I hope will be history. I told Laura this in the car afterward. "Interesting, I didn't feel anything," she said.

As with spiritual matters, we all have our own responses to the experience of participating in the civic dialogue of voting. But it's not the response or even the motive that matters, just the vote. Some might say our two votes don't mean anything because Illinois is all locked up for Obama anyway, but every brick has its place in holding the house together. Your vote is important, for whatever candidates, whether in Massachusetts, Utah, Indiana, or any other state. It's your affirmation that you're engaged with the future of the country, whatever you envision it to be.

I really only intended to say here that I had voted, and suddenly I feel like I'm giving a talk in church. I guess voting is one of the ways this atheist feels like part of something larger than himself.

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If you don't vote, you're a moron

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A long but worthwhile exhortation from Craig Ferguson to study the issues and listen to yourself when you vote. Long but very worthwhile.

(Via [info]parttimedriver.)

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The three wives of John McCain

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Here are a set of three very different articles, different in every way, one for each of the three beauty queens in John McCain's life:

The Daily Mail on Carol McCain:
"The Wife U.S. Republican John McCain Callously Left Behind" by Sharon Churcher

The New Yorker on Cindy McCain:
"The Lonesome Trail" by Ariel Levy

The Nation on Sarah Palin:
"Beauty and the Beast" by Joann Wypijewski

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What is "preemptive war," Alex?

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Sarah Palin doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is, and her embarrassing attempts to weasel a clue out of Charles Gibson are not even worthy of a high-school forensics student:

Yes, Mrs. Palin, obviously you're ready to be President. I will sleep without nightmares knowing you will answer that three a.m. phone call with that blank deer-in-headlights stare. You make me pine for Dan Quayle.

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Voting with the gut

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NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered have begun a fascinating joint series that convenes a panel of voters from York, Pennsylvania, for a roundtable discussion of race and how it affects the 2008 election. (Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.)

Sadly, some of the conclusions drawn seem to bear out what I was saying yesterday about voting with the gut. One white woman, after swearing that she was raised in a home utterly without prejudice, proceeded to accuse Obama of lying about not being a Muslim:

Leah Moreland, the woman who said she grew up sheltered from prejudice, plans to vote for McCain. Party loyalty is also part of her decision. But her cultural compass also comes into play. She says her gut tells her not to trust Obama.

"I look at Obama, and I have a question in my mind," she says. "Years ago, was he taken into the Muslim faith? And my concern is the only way you are no longer a Muslim is if you are dead, killed. So in my mind, he's still alive."

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The Rorschach test

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Seven years on, what does September 11th mean? Nothing.

Perhaps it would be less confrontational to say it means everything, or anything.

I had a terrible argument with a relative of mine during those bleak last months of 2001. I said something to the effect that a person's experience of September 11th was more valid if he or she was there, or at least that's how, in my clumsy way of speaking, my words came across. My relative took great offense at the idea that he wasn't as affected in Utah as I was in New York City. "You're telling me," he said, "that you wouldn't feel bad if someone blew up the Church Office Building in Salt Lake?"

"Of course I'd feel bad," I said. "But I wouldn't feel the same way as a person in Salt Lake. It would be more abstract for me."

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Is McCain out of his mind?

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I like the part in this Paul Begala editorial at where he calls Lieberman McCain's "fellow Iraq Kool-Aid drinker."

Now I'm logging off. Really.

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In July Sarah Palin asked, facetiously, what it is the vice-president really does:

Granted, she seemed to be using levity to deflect the question of whether or not she would be a McCain VP pick, but she sounds pretty silly in the process. Maybe she should have read last year's Washington Post series on Dick Cheney's role in the Bush White House.

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William Shunn