Monday, September 01, 2008

Obama and Sarah someone

On Friday, I watched online as Barack Obama laid out his ideals and addressed the issues that he believed were most important to America. I had hoped that the ensuing political discussion would be about the issues and ideals he'd laid out rather than the petty sniping and personality politics that so turns me off the whole political process.

By Saturday, and pretty much every day since then, the talk from political observers, both Republican and Democratic, has been about the personality, gender and life experiences of someone named Sarah Palin. Issues? Ideals? What are they?

I am not a Democrat (well, obviously, since I'm not an American, but even if I was American, I'd still value my political independence). I do not care to support any political party blindly. I'm interested in this US political campaign because I want to see some repairs done to the political system of the world's oldest existing liberal democracy; I think it's fundamentally broken. I want to see America once again have a political system that promotes the ideals that make a liberal democracy work - accountability, involvement by the people in the task of government, ability of multiple different polities to work together, if not always well, then without any actual bloodletting - above phony considerations of a candidate's "character" that is, in reality a media-constructed fantasy about the person, so carefully crafted by their campaigns. I don't care if the effort to restore the overarching importance of core liberal democratic ideals, and end all the bullshit about fictional "character" issues, comes from a Republican, Democrat or other candidate, so long as it comes from somewhere.

I have been deeply impressed by the commitment that the Obama candidacy has had to those liberal democratic principles. I am anxious to see both Republicans and Democrats stop obsessing about the minutiae of Sarah wotsername's life story, and return to working towards promoting those overarching liberal democratic ideals over the phony politics of personality.

You know, some part of me can't help wondering if part of the point to this pick was to get people on both sides focused away from the big issues and back onto the petty, election-winning but ultimately country-destroying, stuff again.

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