Valley Voices: Time to make a decision |

Valley Voices: Time to make a decision

The idea that there is still an undecided segment of voters in this country is a mystery to me. It’s a mystery to me because given what has happened just this week (much less the last eight years) with Wall Street and the carnival in Washington, I can’t understand what more undecided voters need to see. What more do Republicans need to see in order to get it? If the last 10 days on Wall Street aren’t the coup de grace to mind-boggling ineptitude and corruption in this administration, what would be?

I am stunned at where we are as a country right now. Stunned, angry and discouraged. I wouldn’t be this upset if I didn’t love this country.

If it can be said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, why would anyone vote Republican this time? Chances are about 90 percent (McCain’s voting record with the Bush administration) that a McCain presidency won’t be any different from the last eight years. The rock band The Who said it: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” That is a risk I’m nowhere near willing to take.

Financial markets collapsing, the highest unemployment in seven years, exploding deficits (and this hasty, proposed bail-out will double our deficit), a tanked economy, a weak dollar, a sideways housing market, skyrocketing prices, diminished standing in the world, jobs shipped overseas, Hurricane Katrina and another lame response to “Ike” in Texas, ignoring the real problem in Afghanistan, while fighting a “war” in Iraq launched on completely false pretexts that even solid conservatives (the late Bill Buckley, Pat Buchanan, Charles Krauthammer …) willingly acknowledge, is what this administration has done to our country.

Isn’t this enough?

It’s inconceivable to me how thinking Republicans could even consider voting for McCain. In the past, I voted for Reagan twice and George H.W. Bush once. I voted for Clinton twice and this last election I held my nose as I punched my ballot for Kerry. This election, the choice for me is simple. I’m voting for Obama.

How is it anyone could be comfortable with the idea of McCain winning and possibly running for re-election, when he’ll be 76, 80 at the end of his first term?

That’s right, 80.

Here’s just one example of how out of touch McCain is. The Internet is arguably the most significant invention of our generation (like electricity, aviation, television) and McCain doesn’t engage it ” at all. That’s called cultivated ignorance and that’s unacceptable in a president.

How is it that we’re comfortable with a man who owns 13 cars and doesn’t know how many homes he has, yet claims to understand the problems of those of us who don’t? I have a lot of respect for him but at this point, he’s looking to me like an out-of-touch, Bob Dole-ish nostalgia candidate. Being in a war is not a job requirement for the presidency. There were an awful lot of Vietnam vets who went through hell. His story isn’t as unique as he’d like you to think it is, despite how much his campaign makes out of it.

Not only are the eyes of the world on us right now, but they’re laughing. There is a widely held opinion that our country has become fat, greedy and violent. That’s what we look like to most of the planet now and there’s more than a kernel of truth to it in my opinion. Our economy has capsized, we don’t take care of our own people, we’ve botched a war on two fronts and we’re seriously considering electing a flustered old man who says something different everyday and his running mate, someone utterly and completely unqualified like Sarah Palin, to run the country. She is a joke.

It’s embarrassing. Even with my limited understanding of political science this is painfully clear.

Can’t we do better than this?

As usual, this election is about class as much as anything else. Anymore, the Republican Party, as it is today, is about the very powerful helping out the very rich.

It’s so inescapably obvious that they’re even self-conscious about it. The idea of looking out for each other has been shunted off into “wimpy-dom” and the “every man for himself” ethos has had it’s turn and we have our answers. When the Bush administration entered office, it was handed a whopping budget surplus, low unemployment, low inflation, a comparatively peaceful world who respected us and the largest economic expansion in history by their predecessors. All of that is gone today. Those are facts, not partisanship. The facts tell the story.

The entrenched conservative mindset thinks all government is bad, all taxes are bad, all regulation is bad. Are they sheep? How does anything get paid for without taxes? Like your freeway repaved, plowed and sanded? Taxes pay for it. Like your police and emergency services when you need them? Taxes pay for it. Like your forests and parks managed? Taxes pay for it. Things have to get paid for somehow or else we have bridges in major U.S. cities falling down at rush-hour.

Is there plenty of fat in our tax system, of course and it should be aggressively cut, but what would get done without taxes? This administration has been a vivid example of the limitations of the hallowed free market and how well top-down economics work.

Every Republican I know is appalled and demoralized at what this administration has done to their party’s good name. They are disillusioned that their party has been commandeered by Christian evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention who have turned this Republican administration into our country’s first theocracy. My friends are not that kind of Republican and they nor I want to be beholden to religious extremists in order to govern (Sarah Palin and John Ashcroft can evidently speak to each other in tongues). We have leaders who seriously believe that the planet is only 8,000 years old. I don’t want someone’s religious beliefs driving policy and legislation anymore than I wanted Nancy Reagan asking her astrologer if it was OK for Ronnie to have lunch with someone and if he should sit in the east- or the west-facing chair.

My fear is that racism in this country is alive and well, but we won’t talk about it in polite company much less to a pollster. I’m afraid that people won’t, in the privacy of a voting booth, vote for a black man to be president. People have said so to my face in much more vulgar terms, mistakenly assuming I agree with them because, I guess, I’m another white guy. Which brings up the question of how far Obama would be if he had a pregnant, teenage daughter. But that’s another movie.

My hope is that the deep, personal disgust at this administration trumps that racism. My other hope is that thinking Republicans out there will reject how their party has mutated into what it has become today. The Republicans have lost their way and need to get back to what they once stood for. I know we can be a better country than we’ve been over the last eight years. Please think for yourself and vote for real change.

Tim Moffet is a Vail resident.

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