Archive for October, 2012


Debates Take 2

Last night I watched about 15 minutes of the Presidential debates before I wisely walked away before I could start hating both candidates to the point of total voter apathy. In those 15 minutes (somewhere in the middle when they were talking about immigration) I observed a few things.
* Obama literally got 2x as long to answer the same question without being interrupted. (I’m told Romney was allowed to go over earlier but I didn’t see it) What is the point of a moderator if they aren’t going to moderate?

*Both candidates making stupid smug faces while the other is talking and attempting to interrupt the other.

*Both candidates and the moderator all talking at once, over each other, all seeming like spoiled children screaming for attention.

*Both candidates pointing out technicalities rather than facing the actual questions or issues.

 

From the very little I saw, I got a better impression of Romney, but that is probably because Obama blatantly disregarding the time limit went against all things that speech forensics in high school taught me. To me both of them seemed to be acting rather childish and the moderator seemed to have lost ALL control of the situation. This is pretty much exactly why I refuse to actually sit and watch these debates in full. I would rather actually figure out the grand picture of what a candidate wants to do rather than the “safe” talking points and petty accusations that seem to be the only purpose of these debates anymore.

 

 

In closing I will leave you with a Facebook post that a friend posted about the current state of the debates. I couldn’t agree with his idea more:

I would like to propose a new style of presidential debate- one where the candidates describe their policy positions in-depth, contrast them with their opponent’s policies, and avoid ad-hominem attacks and pandering to the base. We will call it The Smart People’s Debate and it can be broadcast via NPR so the idiots can’t find it. When obfuscation and avoidance become the political norm we must ask ourselves: who do our politicians really work for? Who are they hiding their opinions and ideas from and why?

 

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Thoughts on Facebook

Over the past few days Facebook has caused a lot of problems in my life. As a prior reader may recall I started this blog to be able to openly discuss my political opinions and opinions on current events out of the spotlight and constant bickering between friends of opposite political and social beliefs. Thus as a rule I tend to shy away from political comment there, and on rare occasion point people here if they want to know my opinion on something. This week however I was taught the hard way that the all powerful social beast that is Facebook can still bite you in the ass even when you aren’t tempting fate if it were.

While the specific details aren’t particularly important the situation spiraled out of control when a random comment was taken to be a political endorsement against gay rights. When a different friend pointed out that my post had not been about the political aspect that was assumed by the first commenter, they were accused of being a “bigot”.  Within a few minutes an innocent comment had turned into an all out attack. I clarified the original intent of both myself and the accused bigot, and asserted that calling someone a bigot is not called for in that situation. (I even pointed them back to my previous post about the “hate chicken” issue a few weeks back)

What frustrated and flabbergasted me most was that despite everyone else who commented on the status making it clear the original intent,  the original commenter remained steadfast that everyone involved was being hateful because of the perceived correlation between the comment and support of an organization that discriminates against gays.  In the end I lost a friend of 18 years over a status about popcorn and I find that simply astonishing.

That same day a friend of mine posted this to his status and I found it oddly appropriate:

“I love that I have so many friends who are politically engaged and aware. However, when it comes to Facebook, I appreciate much more hearing about their personal lives rather than their political beliefs… I feel that in-person people are much more inclined to be rational, civil and reasonable. There is something about this internet that prompts us to be more divisive … I do wish there was a political filter I could turn on.”

In person I know that the conversation that happened on Facebook would not have ended in the way it did because people ARE more rational in person. I have to believe that it would be harder to forget the times that both I and the accused bigot had stood by this particular friend, supported his life choices and loved him for who he was if he had to look us in the eyes. However that is not the nature of Facebook or other social media. All of the hate and prejudice that does get spewed across the internet all blends together and combined with the somewhat ironic faceless-ness of Facebook allows all of us at times to forget that real people sit behind those keyboards and smart phones.

Next time you see someone post something on Facebook that rubs you the wrong way I suggest you take a step back and evaluate the situation. At times we all need to remember that we don’t need to take our own personal axes to grind, or our own soap box pulpits into other people’s lives unless they are actively wanting and seeking that from us. People will have different thoughts and opinions and even if they choose to inappropriately share them (a personal pet peeve of mine) the world would probably be a lot more peaceful place if we just filtered the comment out and moved on with our lives.

So despite the fact that I competed in speech and debate all through school and that I have a degree in Political Science  I can not stand the presidential debates. I’ve never been able to watch them without getting frustrated at both candidates. The posturing, refusal to ACTUALLY answer questions or debate real points, and general mockery of an actual debate setting is usually too much for me to handle. Therefore I spent last night playing video games with my boyfriend.

This morning when I woke up I was extremely shocked to see that the same media that had been saying a “victory” for Romney would be just holding his own, were actually now saying that he had won handily. The cynical part of me wonders if Obama was throwing the debate, since everyone says he was far from the charismatic likeable candidate he generally portrays himself as,  so he can play the comeback kid. That same cynical nature also wonders if the media needs this race to be closer so they can increase readership/viewership. Still in any case it seems like this race got a lot more interesting after last night, it’s almost enough to make me want to watch the recording. Almost, but not quite; instead I’ll settle for my twitter feed from my newly minted twitter account, and share the ones that made me giggle this morning.

HuffPost Hill@HuffPostHill

Don’t worry, Jim Lehrer, it gets better. #stopbullying

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz Jim Lehrer’s pre-existing condition is death. We are watching the ghost of Jim Lehrer moderate this debate. He just floated through a wall.

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz It would be awesome if Obama’s face morphed into Honey Boo Boo’s face right now, wouldn’t it??

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz

Guaranteed paid for phony fest begins now!!! Phony 1 wears a blue tie, Phony 2 wears red. Predictable answers, rebuttals, no Rachel Maddow.

jimmy fallon@jimmyfallon

Obama: Blue Tie, Romney: Red Tie = Brian Williams: Purple Tie. #primarycolors

Bill Maher@billmaher

Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney

Wil Wheaton@wilw

So, in retrospect, I think the real loser of tonight’s debate was anyone expecting some of those promised zingers.

Wil Wheaton@wilw

Network note for Obama: We know you’re the leader of the free world and this other guy is a clown, but you’ve got to dial back the disgust.

Wil Wheaton@wilw

Okay, so I think this show needs a whacky neighbor to really spice things up. Maybe a talking baby, or a dog. OMG MAKE THIS FAMILY GUY!

Wil Wheaton’s Cat@WilWheatons_Cat

So I’m not political because I’m a cat…but in my opinion, the dude in the blue tie is taller.

TheBloggess@TheBloggess

Back the fuck up. If Mittens is elected he’s going to cancel Downton Abbey? I think I just got involved in politics.

Big Bird@BlGBlRD

Yo Mitt Romney, Sesame Street is brought to you today by the letters F & U! #debates #SupportBigBird

Will McAvoy@WillMcAvoyACN

If you had “not answering the fucking question” in the debate drinking game, please get yourself to a hospital.

Conan O’Brien@ConanOBrien

Just noticed that Jim Lehrer has no whites in his eyes. #Discuss

Who Should Get to Vote?

Lately there has been a lot of hoopla surrounding a few states that have started to enact voter ID laws. To me the issue boils down to a very simple question; ‘Who should get to vote?’ We have several supreme court cases that fairly definitively answer that any US citizen who has not lost their voting rights due to criminal activity should be allowed to vote. Thus we have to determine if voter ID laws really prevent citizens from voting?

Personally I can only think of 2 reasons that requiring a photo ID to vote might actually be preventative for citizens. 1) it generally costs a fee to receive a photo ID, and 2) some people can not have a photo ID due to religious reasons. I don’t think that you should have to violate your religion to vote, but I think that if you were to bring the same documents that it would take to get an ID (proof of citizenship and residency) you should be allowed to vote. Also if a state is going to require an ID for voting, they need to provide some sort of ID for free to citizens for the purpose of voting.

 

Beyond the previously mentioned issues, I see no problem with requiring someone to show reasonable proof that they are a citizen to be able to vote. Requiring someone to show that they are eligible for a right is much different in my eyes from preventing them for exercising that right.