Waking Up From A Bad Dream
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           I woke up from a bad dream a few nights ago. Here’s how it went down. I was lying in bed, my computer on the desk next to me. I was flipping through the day’s news clips from the New York Times and the BBC and all those other big names that we figure we can trust to keep us informed, you know.

            I’m reading stories about this and that – Apple’s hosting their annual conference in San Francisco next week, violence is escalating in Yemen, Russia is fighting an e-coli outbreak – all the usual stuff that goes on in our world. Anyway, as I’m sifting through the news, letting videos cycle by, surprising me by random, I hear a phrase that jolts me up.

            “Potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin…”

            There are certain phrases that can grab us and snap our attention back from its aimless wandering. The Twin Towers have just been bombed. Michael Jackson is dead. That kind of thing. While it would be a monumental insult to the prior two to even suggest that the above phrase is comparable, it did catch my attention.

            “Potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin…”

            The reporter didn’t even have to finish that fragment for me to get a foul taste on my tongue. There are so many things wrong with those five words that it’s not even funny. There are so, so many things wrong with those five words.

            I’m a very opinionated person. In today’s world – especially among teenagers and the young people that feel that politics are a waste of time – if you have opinions and strong feelings and enjoy opening people’s eyes by invading the sanctuary of safety they’ve created by building up their ignorant beliefs, you’re generally labeled and cast aside as a b-rhymes-with-witch.

             I don’t really care that I have to live on the same planet as Sarah Palin. And in reality there are many, many people that inhabit our world that are far worse, far more dangerous, and far more powerful (look north of the thirty-eighth parallel) than her. There are leaders that wouldn’t think twice about pulling a trigger and killing millions of people, launching terrorist attacks on freedom, letting their people live in squalid conditions until they finally die of starvation and disease.

But what I do care about is that she is trying to become a figure that potentially has the power to overturn everything in my life from the quality of my education to the taxes I pay to the car I drive to the house I live in, to the rights I have as a citizen. We all know that she probably won’t win and we’ll be safe for another four years, but just the hypothetical thought is tremendously frightening.

            Here are a few thoughts and observations that I have about the system by which we elect our officials and what makes a good one.

            During the 2008 presidential race, the Democratic Party had two token-candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton was the first big female presidential candidate, while Barack Obama was the first big black candidate (and would later become the first black president). Actually, he’s only half black and the proper term is African American.

But none of this should even matter. In my opinion, politics should not be about political posturing. It should not be about who’s black or who’s white, who’s a woman or who’s a man. It should be about the ideas and the concepts the person has. It should be about their values and their priorities. That’s what the democratic system is all about.

I’ve said before that I hate it when people say “gay marriage”. I hate it when they compare it to “straight marriage” or “heterosexual marriage”. Marriage is marriage, whether it’s the union between a man and a woman, man and a man, or a woman and a woman. It shouldn’t be labeled with the sexuality of the two individuals engaging in it happen to be. If we’re going to label it at all, we should be using terms like “healthy” and “lasting” and “happy”.

Similarly it shouldn’t be about a “black” president or a “woman” president. I don’t care if he or she is black or white, gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, or anything like that. If he or she has the ideas and the strength and the power to run our country and can prove to me that he or she will follow through on all that they have promised, then he or she has my vote! It’s as simple as that.

I made a joke before that presidential candidates should do all their advertising on the radio and in text on the internet. I said that there should be no televised debates or filmed interviews or posters or anything visual until the results of the election have been announced. I mean obviously that’s a far cry from realistic but the thought I was trying to get across was that the results would be different if we weren’t able to see the person to determine race or sexuality. Would people vote for a gay president if he appeared on television with his husband or if she appeared in the papers with her wife? I don’t think so. Not at present, anyway.

Fortunately, most people do vote based on the ideas, principals, priorities, and values of the candidates. But even then, there are always the small minority of people that vote based on who’s hot and who’s not, who’s black and who’s white, who’s male and who’s female, that ruin some elections. A lot of times when a race is close, we end up with a candidate because of the votes that were made that were not based on their values, principles, beliefs, etc.

There are quite a few people who still have prejudices and are blinded to anything and everything else once they make that judgment call based on the first sight of the person.

That’s got to change.

            So getting back to my nightmare. You’ve probably figured out by now that I wasn’t dreaming. Sarah Palin is, in fact, a potential presidential candidate. She could potentially take office in early 2013 and could potentially turn this country upside down. She’s not a bad person, she really isn’t. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady. I just don’t think she has what it takes to do the job.

            There are people that say she’s smarter than me, that I lack her many (and I mean many) years of (life) experience. They like to say that I shouldn’t speak badly of her when she is obviously my superior in appearance, wealth, intelligence, and rank. And she might be all those things, but you know what, that’s not really my fault. After all, I don’t have the opportunities that she does. I can’t see another country from my doorstep; therefore I don’t have the vast knowledge on foreign policy that she claims to have. I can’t borrow a hundred thousand dollars to go shopping for a new wardrobe at Nieman Marcus.

            But let me tell you something I can do. It’s very insignificant and I’m sure there are many other people that can do it too, but – I can name a few books and magazines I’ve read.

So I woke up this morning
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