Thursday, September 04, 2008

I don't get it

I don't talk about politics much here, but anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am a hardcore liberal. Possibly a pinko commie except I like pretty things too much. I am not one of those people who is ever wooed by politicians in national elections, because besides the fact that I live in modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah in the bluest of blue states (and therefore it barely matters how I vote anyway), my vote can pretty much be taken for granted. The Democratic primaries were extra thrilling because for the first time, I was really being wooed--I got emails from Hillary and Barack nearly every day! I saw real campaign commercials! Everyone wanted me!

I consider myself to be pretty respectful of people with beliefs that don't jibe with my own. I may violently disagree with you on an issue, but I will have a courteous conversation with you about it, and I will respect your right to hold your opinion. I will even understand how you can hold that opinion (even if I think there is no way any logical person could arrive at that opinion).

What I am having trouble with right now is the folks who are still undecided in this election--the Independents, the undecideds, the people that both parties will be battling it out for over the next two months. To me, the stakes are so high in this Presidential election, and the contrast between the candidates and their positions on the issues are so stark, that I can't understand how anyone could be genuinely torn between the two. I can understand, say, feeling ambivalent about Obama/Biden personally, but holding your nose and voting Democratic because you want to preserve abortion rights and get out of Iraq. I can understand thinking that McCain just isn't conservative enough for you (before Palin hopped on board, anyway) and deciding to opt out of this election. But to be genuinely torn between these two poles? To be reading the papers or watching TV or standing at the voting booth on election day thinking, "Gosh, I just don't know..."?

I don't get it. If you are one of these people, can you explain it to me?

(This prompted by a--very respectful!--conversation this morning with a co-worker who told me she had been pro-Hillary in the primaries, but she doesn't like Obama or Biden, and she had been thinking about not voting, but after seeing Sarah Palin speak last night she was starting to lean Republican. And then my head exploded.)


When I picked BG up from daycare yesterday, she was having so much fun playing that she didn't want to leave. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.



Blogger JV said...

I will be stalking this post to see if the upcoming comments can shed some light on how it is possible to be undecided, indeed. Because I don't get it at all either. Your co-worker's words will be ringing unpleasantly in my ears...
Glad to hear BG is adjusting!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm with you. I don't get it either. They have such different views on the issues that I would think even if you don't like them as people you would vote for them because of the views they have.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Miss W said...

You know, I can't say that I'm torn between the two in the way you mean -- it's not the "well, I like them both, so do I get the mint chip or cookie dough ice cream" type of indecision. I'm a Hillary woman -- I believe in her and that she truly feels and means what she's saying to me. Every time Obama opens his mouth, it feels like I'm being lied to (in that super slick way that can make people believe even the wildest of lies). I just can't like him -- even when he's saying the right things, it sounds disingenuous. In good conscience, I can't vote FOR him (and I don't buy the argument of doing so as a vote against someone else). I also can't vote FOR McCain. I can't and I won't.

On the other hand, regardless of the fact that it won't have any power, I also have to let my voice be heard. I'm an independent because I can't fully align myself with either party's policies, so the general election is the only time my voice can be heard. I'd thought about not voting, but that personal protest doesn't let anyone know what I really wanted.

This year? I'm looking into the option of writing in the one person that I believe in. That's right. I'm "wasting" my vote by voting for someone who won't be elected. It would be hypocritical for me to pretend that I want anyone else. My ballot will still be cast for Hillary Clinton. I believe in what she stands for and I believe in HER. Despite her speech at the DNC about being in it for her or in it for change -- as an independent, I was in it for her and her specific policies. After all, change just for the sake of change isn't really a good thing -- it has to be the right change. And for me? That is *not* Obama.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Meera said...

I dont get it either. I think that the reason you have the undecided's is cause like it or not - there are people who dont vote on issues - and vote purely based on the issues of like/dislike, who's more personable, who they can identify with, have a beer with etc. I suppose these folks cant identify with obama, couldnt with mccain and will suddenly find themselves liking palin.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

I can't keep up with US politics, even though I have the right to vote using an absentee ballot. It's just too far removed from me (though it probably shouldn't be).

Great that BG is happy. I think it says a lot about how she feels there during the day. Take it as a really good sign!

2:03 PM  
Blogger sara said...

I'm glad BG is doing well at daycare - but I can understand the mixed emotion for sure! You know, you bring up a good point with how crazy some people are to be so "undecided." It is true that this time more so than a lot of other elections that the candidates are very different so it's hard to believe that you wouldn't know which one you sided with. But that's just me (and you) - I guess! Well put :-)

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Meg said...

Most voters in Australia are like this, and we have compulsory voting too, so the matter of government is basically determined by what crap gets on our (vile, right-wing)local news stations. John Howard stayed in for years like this - google the "children overboard" issue and be disgusted.

Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either. In many ways, I respect people who can be staunchy conservative becasue at least they have beliefs and have thought it over. People who vote conservative for no particular reason than they liked the look of the guy or the liberal guy "seemed dodgy" are the ones that REALLY piss me off.

But I don't know .I think some people just don't give a shit about anything outside of their little worlds to be honest.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Caba said...

It's so easy to be undecided. I am a libertarian. On all social issues I'm a democratic (pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc) but on financial issues I am very Republican (don't raise my taxes, no universal healthcare, etc).

So, who do you vote for? It's a toss up of crap for me. Neither one of them are every going to be exactly what I want.

Palin did push me over the edge though. Because I'm also an atheist. So there is so way I can vote for a ticket that includes a woman that thinks Creationism should be taught in public schools.

So, undecided no more. But it doesn't mean I'm happy about voting for Obama.

And then really, why vote? I live in NJ. We always go blue!

8:37 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

I am with you on this one too. These are 2 such different candidates, that it's either you agree or disagree with them. And comments from your co-workers just want me to scream. Hilary and Sarah are as opposite as can be and I just can't beleive that people can even compare the two. I've had lots of conversations about this with S(we are a bipartisan household-go figure) I end up getting very vocal and emotional about it.

Glad to hear BG is enjoying daycare!

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Kath said...

I don't get it either. Truly I don't. I can see not being crazy about either candidate in an election (a young friend of mine once cruelly compared American elections as "choosing between hot and cold sh*t for breakfast", though I'm sure he wouldn't say it this time), but hey, at least one would prefer a general direction, no?????

4:20 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

But Miss W -- Obama's policies are almost identical to Hillary's policies. I think they differed on Iraq timetables and some of the details of their health care plans, not on fundamentals. I can certainly understand feeling that you just don't trust a candidate -- I mean, either you do or you don't -- but if policies matter, then there's a vast difference between the Rs and the Ds, and your vote may make a difference.

I admit, I'm probably the exact same kind of pinko commie liberal (too much love of pretty stuff division) so this isn't something I get, either. But my sister feels exactly like Miss W, except she swears she's voting for McCain.

How she can do that -- how anyone who cares about, say, reproductive freedom or getting some federal judges who care more about people than corporations onto the bench -- completely escapes me.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Say, would you be comfortable with me posting this on my blog? (Giving you all the props, of course!) I think you raise a great point and I'd love to add new voices to the debate. Email me offline: and let me know your comfort level.

Also MEETUP! I have to double check the time. If I can't make it, perhaps we could meetup on our own since we both live in Big City!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

Shoot, can't do the Moxie meetup. Another time?

1:52 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

As for the daycare stuff--my girl doesn't like to leave either. And she reportedly will lie down on a mat at naptime and be quiet, even if she doesn't sleep. HUH.


There are people who can't decide between the two??? REALLY??? Everyone I know is dead set one way or the other.

1:57 PM  

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