Monday, November 5, 2012

You Must Not Vote For Mitt Romney If....


If this is not the first time you are reading something political issued from my keyboard, then you probably know I will be approaching this piece from a position left of centre. I believe in full disclosure in these matters so let's be perfectly clear: I am not a Conservative. But then neither is Mitt Romney. The rise of the Tea Party in the States has led to a far-right Neo-Conservative movement which has so dangerously unbalanced the political arena—and not just in that country—that old-school Conservatives are virtual Centrists in the new ideology. If you live in the States and you vote Republican because all of your ancestors voted Republican back to the very top of your line, you really need to understand that the "Republican" representative on tomorrow's ballot bears almost no resemblance to those that your forebears supported. Therefore, "my family has always voted Republican" is no longer a valid defense for putting an "X" next to the name of a man who I feel may, if elected, be the worst President in the 236-year history of the United States. Bearing this in mind, today I am going to advocate something which ordinarily would go against all of my best instincts: if you absolutely cannot see your way clear to voting for Obama—and your ballot does not offer you a third-party choice—then I urge you to stay at home and not vote or, if you prefer, spoil your ballot. I have subscribed in the past to the "Anyone But X" theory of voting (which did not work particularly well in the last Federal Election up here in Canada) but this time I truly feel that an "Anyone But Obama" position could be potentially ruinous to the USA. I am not a particular fan of the incumbent, either, but he is at least an intelligent, sentient human being who is capable of making well-reasoned decisions. And Romney? Well, as I posted on Facebook over this past weekend, Romney has (or should have) alienated so many different factions of Americans that he should be running at under 10% in the polls right now. I just cannot understand how the math is working out the way it is: no woman, impoverished person or youth, to name but a few "groups", should ever vote for this man and that doesn't even begin to take into consideration non-Caucasians. Well, it begins to take them into consideration, I suppose.

But enough of the preamble. You know where I stand politically; this piece is about far more than that, though. It is about the absolute and utter inability Mitt Romney would have to run a country, completely aside from his political stance. He is one of the most profoundly unenlightened men I have ever seen reach his level of power in the States. Not all that long ago, he would have been running for a fringe party. Now he is neck-and-neck for the position of "Leader of the Free World". This cannot be allowed to happen. So I present to you:


"You Must Not Vote For Romney If......"


"....you own and love a pet."


I'll start with an easy one. In 1983, the Romneys drove from Boston to a cottage in Ontario, Canada, with their dog Seamus tied to the roof of their car (in a kennel, they say) for the entire twelve-hour trip. Now, I am not proud of the fact that they were allowed into Canada with a dog tied to the roof of their car but I don't want to deflect the attention from the real point of this narrative. And that is: the Romneys drove for twelve hours at highway speeds with a dog tied to the roof of their car. Ann Romney has defended this by saying they thought it was kinder than leaving him in a kennel for two weeks. While that`s debatable, it completely misses the point. Which is that the Romneys drove for twelve hours....well, you probably get where this is going. "A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate." - Paul Eldridge. Bear this quote in mind as you proceed through the rest of this post, for while I have used it here to apply to Romney's treatment of a supposedly beloved family pet, it's most certainly a recurring theme.


"....you believe in truth or evidence-based arguments."


"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." - Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, August 28, 2012.

I live in a city (and country) where we have elected our top officials based, seemingly, on their own adherence to this credo. Let me tell you, folks, it ain't working out all that great. Toronto's buffoon of a mayor has spent much of his time in office saying things that have absolutely no basis in reality. He and his idiot brother pull numbers out of thin air and don't even feel the need to defend their ridiculous statements. Hell, the mayor himself was on trial recently for a Conflict of Interest charge (verdict still forthcoming), where he was asked by the prosecuting attorney if he understood the words he was saying as he spoke them (when he was shown on video to be recusing himself from an earlier potential COI situation) and he responded, "No." Our Prime Minister is not as stupid as Mayor Ford (or Governor Romney, for that matter), but has still spent much of his political life having his party quote "facts" or "statistics" that are not just stretching the truth but fabrications that J.R.R. Tolkein would have been proud of. The Harper Government is now in the process of crippling, muzzling or completely shutting down virtually every scientific office which might possibly bring their absurd, quasi- (if not outright) Fascist policies into question, destroying years of important and hard-earned knowledge in the process. We are rapidly approaching a time in Canada where the words "facts" and "truth" will be classified as obscenities in the new lexicon; do you really want to follow us down that particular rabbit hole? If you think I'm overstating it, take a look at Romney's stance on Climate Change—but be sure you go back to before Hurricane Sandy, because he has done quite a few flip-flops in recent days on a great many issues. And let's not forget the many classic spelling mistakes that Romney's campaign workers made on his website and press releases in the early days. If you had the temerity to comment on these repeated errors, you were immediately denigrated as being an "elitist" because you actually cared about "spelling" and "proofreading". How quaint it seemed to be back then.


"....you have ever accepted so much as one cent in support from the American Government, or think you might in the future."


Just on the off chance that you haven't heard of this declaration by Mitt Romney:


This is particularly ironic when you consider that there is a very real possibility that Mitt Romney himself does not pay any income tax. But the underlying, chilling message is that Romney believes that, should he become President, it is not part of his mandate to "worry about" the people who cannot afford to clothe, house or feed themselves. This is a dangerously slippery slope to start down.


"....you are a young person possibly voting for the first time and wish to form your own opinion."


There is an organization in the USA called the "Presidential Youth Debates". On their website (and their archives back this up), they state that they are a "nonpartisan youth civic-engagement program that’s featured the participation of every President and major presidential candidate since 1996". This seems like a fantastic and fairly noble cause, because the youth of both the USA and Canada are feeling increasingly disenfranchised and disillusioned with every passing election (and I have experienced this first-hand with my own children and their friends; they are well-informed but very pessimistic and it's incredibly difficult to get them out to vote). So why do I bring them up here? Because this year their streak has come to an end as Mitt Romney has become, in their own words, "the first and only candidate in our 16-year history to decide not to answer the questions young Americans chose as most important through the Presidential Youth Debate." And why should he, given his demonstrated disdain for actually having to work to change people's minds? These kids with their enlightened views and inquisitive minds, if they're too disrespectful to just vote as their parents instruct them to then why should Romney pay them any mind? They should all just get jobs and shut up. Especially if they're women with forward-thinking minds. But I don't want to get ahead of myself. All in good time.


"....you enjoy air travel and don't wish to be sucked out of a jet airliner by someone in need of fresh air en route to a faraway destination."


At a fundraising event in Beverly Hills this past September, Romney took to the stage still a little shaken (apparently) by an incident with his wife, Ann's, plane the night before: it had been forced to make an emergency landing due to an electrical malfunction. Now, all of us could be forgiven for being upset by such an occurrence; most of us, however, would speak to how fortunate we felt that our loved one was out of harm's way and not use the opportunity to lambaste the airplane engineers of history for not designing a jet with roll-down windows. Or something. It's not always easy to understand what this man is trying to say:
"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous."
So let's review. Mitt Romney doesn't understand why the windows in a highly-pressurized airplane capable of nearly super-sonic speeds at extremely high altitudes are unable to be opened by just anybody who happens to purchase a ticket. Not only that, but he doesn't understand why it's never a good thing to add oxygen to a fire, especially one that has not yet begun to burn out of control. Where to start with this one....well, how about Air Canada flight 797 where 23 people died in a flashover fire? Or perhaps British Airways flight 5390, where a window blew out and the captain was sucked most of the way out through the resulting hole? (Unbelievably, he survived the landing.) But Romney's numbing stupidity aside, the most shocking aspect of the whole event is contained in the headline in the LA Times: "Mitt Romney pulls in $6 million at Beverly Hills fundraiser". Yes, even after revealing that he is dumber than a bag of hammers, Romney somehow still managed to keep the $6 million in his coffers. I cannot find a single account of even one person getting up disgustedly and asking for his or her money back. The mere fact that an audience of wealthy people are either 1) too stupid to notice the idiocy on display; or 2) too disinterested in the message to make an informed opinion about whom to vote for is the most chilling and revealing fact about the times in which we now live.


"....you believe in basic human rights for all people, not just heterosexuals."


In May of this year, Barack Obama declared for the record that he now "fully supports same-sex marriages". He was accused at the time, and ever since, of "pandering" to drive up his popularity in the LGBT community; however, as I wrote in a blog piece the next day, I believe this change in position is an example of an intelligent, contemplative human being evolving in his views but not his core values. This is something I understand very well; my own beliefs continue to evolve every year and I, too, did not care for same-sex marriages (not "civil unions", but "marriages") for a long time even as I supported Gay Rights until I found my own position to be indefensible. This is a president who has also repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the military; his record on Gay Rights continues to impress. On the other hand, Mitt Romney's great grandfather had five wives; his idea of "evolving" appears to be choosing to have only one. However, as on most other issues, he flip-flops so frequently that it is impossible to tell with 100% accuracy precisely where he stands on LGBT rights at any given moment. Suffice it to say that his voting track record is not good in this regard.


But the single most important reason you must not vote for a Romney/Ryan ticket:

"....you or anyone you love or are related to in any way possess(es) a vagina or a uterus."


From Paul Ryan's comment that rape is "another method of conception" to Richard Mourdock's claim that "rape is something God intended" to the positively surreal belief of Todd Akin that "if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," the Republican Party is, at the moment, waging a war on women that threatens to drag society back to the 1950s, if not much, much earlier. Look, I don't care where you stand on abortion (well, actually, I do but I'm not going to debate it here and now), but no matter whether you are Pro-Choice or Anti-Abortion (I refuse to call it "Pro-Life") you must understand that rape is a very, very bad thing. That would seem to me to be an absolute bare minimum level of comprehension to even be allowed to participate in a debate over "women's issues" (or, as I like to call them, "issues"). And yet here we have statement after idiotic statement by rich, entitled white males downplaying the severity and horror of rape simply because it results in a pregnancy. Imagine a candidate for a major political office saying that "armed robbery is just another method of earning money"; or that, if Sandy had been a "legitimate hurricane", then everyone in New York City would have died. Try to imagine Richard Mourdock, so cavalier about rape, being asked whether homosexual love is "something God intended". How do you suppose that would turn out? Women need to be more angry about this; it absolutely flummoxes me that any women would vote for Romney (a Mormon, allowed to have multiple wives) or Ryan (remove one letter from "Mormon"), let alone that enough will vote for them to make this a close race. I cannot even imagine the level of self-loathing present that will allow that to happen—and, believe me, I understand self-loathing.


I will never begrudge people the opportunity to vote the way they want to, provided they have formed their opinions through research and understanding. I have a great many friends who have voted for Conservative governments in Canada in the past. In fact, there have been Conservative leaders (David Crombie in Toronto, Joe Clark at the federal level) who have been very good at their jobs and surpassingly decent people and I have respected them tremendously. But what has been happening recently is that the right-wing parties have moved so far to the right that they have run away and hidden in some dark corner, leaving absolutely no room for compromise, debate or even mild disagreement. There have always been polarizing issues in politics but I cannot recall a time in my life where absolutely everything is being seen as absolutes of black and white in the political arenas of our two countries. As the gap between the "Haves" and the "Have Nots" widens, so too does the enormous gulf between "right" and "left" ideologies, for not only is the Middle Class disappearing but also the Middle Ground. Being a "lefty" myself, I am of course going to see things a bit differently from friends on the right; however, I used to be a centrist and only years of constant bullying by the extremists on the right have caused me to move to the left even as far as I have. For me, "left is the new middle" because the more the neo-Cons are given, the more they demand. It cannot always be "all or nothing". It just can't. And that, more than anything, is why I maintain that Mitt Romney—and anyone like him—must never inhabit the White House. There is no grey area with these people: if you don't believe in everything they stand for then they will crush you or, worse, ignore you completely. Obama is one of the most "conservative" Democrats we've ever seen; if he can't run on just his policies alone and earn the support of moderates and fence-sitters then the States are in very, very serious trouble indeed.

Please do the right thing tomorrow, America. A lot is riding on it.  Thanks for listening to this "interloper".

And bear in mind: I have only begun to scratch the surface here. There are myriad other reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney. Feel free to go "off the board" and choose your own.

4 comments:

  1. Let's hope that Americans vote with level heads tomorrow! (fingers crossed...)

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    Replies
    1. Let's hope there is enough intelligence left that voting with your "head" is good enough to keep Romney at bay...for now.

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  2. I have a bad feeling about this election. The republicans have been engaging in so many dirty tricks, it might just result in a win for Romney.

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    1. Today they have already been caught with a rigged machine in Pennsylvania and the Ohio court has allowed their "software patch" to be implemented on voting machines there. It's entirely possible that by the end of tonight we will long for the heady days of 2000 when really it was only Florida that was at the forefront of widespread cheating. I think that whatever vote total Obama ends up with you could safely inflate it by at least 5% to get an accurate reading of actual support, owing to the voter suppression et al.

      My friend on Facebook said they are about to get the world's biggest Banana Republic. I hope he's wrong.

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I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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