Shatner/Nimoy ’08

September 7, 2008

So I've been arguing with some of my friends from grad school over my decision not to vote for Barack Obama in this election.  I'll say now that I have yet to finalize my decision not to do so… but as of this moment, my vote isn't going to Obama, and it certainly isn't going to McCain.

My vote is going to Bill "Billiam" Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.  And yes, I know that he's Canadian.

Now.  Why?  Well, I'll tell you.

Obama hasn't done anything.  He's been groomed for this position since his DNC speech back in '04 – when he was even less qualified than he is right now.  In the time between then and now, he hasn't done much.  I have no real way to gauge what his presidency will actually look like beyond what he says, but we all know that what politicians say on the campaign trail means jack shit – so I can't base my decision on policy.  What does that leave me with?

Two things: his eloquent rhetoric, and his promise of change.  That's really all the guy's got to go on.

I'll start with his rhetoric: 

While there is a strong part of me that loves him for this – especially considering how wanting our public discourse has been of some genuine smarts thanks to eight years of George W. Bush – it simply isn't enough to go on.  I realize that this is a somewhat dubious comparison, but Hitler was eloquent, too.  Eloquence says nothing about what or how a leader will do.  Hell, if the Bush Admin. has taught us anything, it's that rhetoric can completely remake the fabric of society.  Now I, like everyone else in this country who has a fully-functional neocortex, never fell for Bush's simplistic and banal, flagwaving, freedom-humping nonsense… but a lot of Americans did.  Too many did.  Way too many.  The past eight years have retaught me a lesson I had shamefully forgotten – that language is astonishingly powerful… that it can drive men to horrible actions and pull down the fucking sky if it's used improperly.  I respect language – and so I fear it.  Being a powerful speaker doesn't automatically qualify you to be President… in fact, it should demand that the American people look even more closely at your behavior.  Because language is too often a horribly capable mask.

This brings me to Change: 

I never really bought this.  I never bought it because I didn't know what it meant.  Until his acceptance speech at the DNC, Obama has never really been forthright about what change actually means.  It became another nothing catch-phrase… like "evildoer" or "patriotism."  Change is not always a good thing… and we need to fucking remember that.

But still, as a citizen incredibly disenfranchised by the state of my government, I found myself tapping my feet to Obama's music.  "Yeah," I said.  "Change… that's what we need.  We need to really shake things up here.  I'm sick to death of politics as usual… I've been looking for a real leader for my whole life… so sure, change.  I'm down."

I waited for months to hear what change really meant.  I kept with the beat – I kept dancing… because I knew that eventually I'd get to find out who I was dancing with.  Well I've found out now.  And that's why I'm leaving the party.  The metaphorical party, of course, not the Democratic party.  I've never, nor shall I ever be a Democrat.  If I had a party… I'd be a green-libertarian.  But I'm not really too big on capitalism… so I can't be a libertarian at all, really.  So basically I'm just a green whiner who's reluctantly okay with abortion, anti-gun, furiously pro-gay and totally unwilling to let religion and politics mix.  You can go ahead and come up with a name for that… I'm too busy.

What I've discovered over the past few weeks is that Obama is not for change.  If he were for change, he wouldn't have backed down on lifting the offshore drilling ban.  He wouldn't have bent over on the telcom bill.  To me… if you're going to talk like he's talked for so goddamn long, you're either a radical, or you're a whore.  And Obama is a whore.

Why do I say this?  Well… I'll explain.

(So many of you asked for a long blog… well now you're getting one)

I believe that these issues represent the two biggest, most important issues facing our country to date… but not necessarily in the way you might think.  I see each as a symbolic representation of a certain idea – and while I recognize that there is a great deal of important and practical minutiae that I'm leaving out by abstracting them… it works for me, so you'll have to just deal with it.   The Telcom bill would have held telcom companies responsible for, essentially, working with our corrupt and criminal government in illegally invading our privacy.  To me, by holding those companies accountable for their crimes – yes, I said crimes – we as a people (and our elected leaders, more specifically) would have made a grand attempt to retake power from the Executive Branch and dilute it amongst the three branches of American government as specified by the goddamn constitution.  For eight years – eight years too fucking long – we've been all too comfortable to shed our civil liberties, and our constitutional rights in order to mollify our fears over the shapeless and opaque "threat" of terrorism.  Are terrorists a threat?  Absolutely.  Do we protect ourselves by giving all the power to the Executive and its incorporated goons?  Absolutely not.  Obama was against this bill, as were a great many Democrats.  But, true to form, they caved… because Democrats haven't a spine among them.  Obama made a sacrifice of, what I consider to be, CORE ideals necessary to lead – and he did it to be popular. 

A tactical sacrifice?  Sure it is.  But it isn't change.  It's pandering.

You know who continued to fight Telcom amnesty?  Chris Dodd.  You know who I really liked in the primaries?  Yep.  Chris Dodd.

This brings me to what I consider to be the gravest misstep Obama has made so far – the lift on the offshore drilling ban.  First, the practical end.  Obama was against it.  Decidedly against it.  He enumerated the many ways in which lifting the ban WOULDN'T translate into any significant gasoline production for YEARS… and instead suggested that we curb oil speculation as a method to lower the price.  I don't know enough about economics to know if this is correct or not… and to be honest, I don't really care.  Because, again, the particulars aren't nearly as important to me as the abstract.

If Obama was an agent of change… if he was a leader… he'd tell the American people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.  "My fellow Americans… shut the fuck up."  That's right.  Shut.  The.  Fuck.  Up.  Because $5 a gallon is cheap when you consider what it's cost Europeans over the last decade.  $5 a gallon might convince us to actually drive less, walk more, purchase (or maybe even really demand) cars with significantly better mileage standards.  In order to TRULY solve our energy crisis… we need to – each goddamn one of us – make sacrifices.  We need to change the way in which we consume energy.  Everything has to change – lightbulbs, cars, driving habits, public transportation, how we design our houses, towns and cities… we have to reuse what we can, and demand companies to seriously reduce their carbon footprints.  Stop using paper napkins and paper towels (which I did a year ago, and st
ill brag about it, because I'm a hideous little ham).  Dry our clothes on clotheslines.  EVERYTHING has to change – big to small.

Lifting the ban might lower the price – it might not.  I'm not an economist, so I don't know.  I don't care.  What I know is that Americans need to learn how to take it on the chin so as not to take it in the ass.  Some day soon, we're going to have to roll the hard six on this issue – we're going to have to make sacrifices… whether that's monetarily, behaviorally or politically I don't know.  But we cannot continue to perpetuate this absurd checker game of momentary satisfaction at the cost of long-term change.

But Obama didn't do any of that.  He crumbled.  He crumbled because the American mob brayed and whinnied over their "staycations."  He went back on what was a clear and cogent argument against lifting the drilling ban.  That's not change.  If anything… a Democrat deferring to misguided public opinion on a matter of serious national and fucking global security… that's the status quo.

So without his rhetoric and without his change… Obama's just some guy.  A black guy… and sadly, his blackness is one of the few things I actually like about him.  I consider it racist of me – but I want a black President.  Isn't that hideous?  And I lash out at women for supporting Palin just because of her chromosomes.  "Damn feminists… can't you see the forest for the trees?"  But here I am… a melaninist.  I'm a fool.

My delightful friend Seth gave me a ration of shit for supporting the Shatner/Nimoy ticket.  To paraphrase: "Yeah, I know it sucks… but this is the system we're living in.  You've got to choose the lesser of two evils here… to vote for Shatner is to throw your vote away!"

Damn right.

Because if these are the kinds of leaders I'm able to spend my vote on… then it wasn't really worth anything in the first place.  This is what I get to choose from?  Lumpy Septuagenarian/Jesus-addled Administrative Assistant '08 or Mouth sans Voice/Huckster '08?  Screw that.  I'm opting out.  I'm giving my vote to two people who've never let me, or the galaxy down.  They balance each other splendidly – Shatner, the good-looking, brash lothario, ready to fight for what he believes in… coupled with the cool, brilliant rationalist, always peering over his shoulder, ready to advise.

Unless Obama starts to practice what he preaches, I'm going to throw my vote away.  Proudly.  Because I would rather be true to my conscience than capitulate and throw my name in with the lot. 

Will my inaction change anything?  Nope.  But neither will anyone else's action.

Nothing is going to change.

And neither am I. 

God Bless the United Federation of Planets.


2 Responses to “Shatner/Nimoy ’08”

  1. Morgan Pashley Says:

    We need to have a serious fight. Lets make a date.

  2. dora Says:

    it’s about time!
    you should, like grow wings or something. that way you won’t have to waste gas to come see me. (when the fuck are you going to come see me, you assface?).

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