Everyone should be able to have their own opinions. If I didn't believe in that basic right, I wouldn't be on here every couple days bitching about how much I hate various cross-sections of humanity. However, I also believe that your opinions need to be grounded in some sort of common sense, which unfortunately negates lots of people's opinions on lots of things. I mean, the Holocaust, the Apartheid and Hot Pockets were all, in someone's opinion, good things, but that certainly did not make them in any way right. The problem is when the people holding these sorts of horribly skewed and undereducated opinions are the people who are the most vocal and visible about them, using that face-time to try to sell their opinions to the vastly impressionable general public. Naturally, I'm talking about Republicans.
Not all Republicans, of course. Ron Paul is technically a Republican and he remains one of the only people I feel is deserving of presidential appointment (also, someone who I totally could dig as my grandpa). And the party itself isn't all bad all the time either. In theory, they're all about reducing the size of our federal government and giving more legislative power to individual states--a stance I can certainly get behind. In fact, at the heart of it, I'm sure there are some pretty decent people in the GOP that are honestly trying to make changes for the better. None of them get voted into any positions beyond Assistant Lieutenant Secretary Of Trash Removal and Piano Tuning, but it's the thought that counts. And really, as much as I like to rag on people like Sarah Palin or John McCain, they both seem to be very intelligent and capable (or at least incomprehensibly shrewd) people. Perhaps not the kind of people that I'd like to run this country, but people that could probably do it if it came to that. Which, looking at the polls, I'm not particularly worried about, or else this little ditty would be a lot more fiery.
The people I am worried about with their loud, right-wing agendas are not the politicians, but the people who support them. The kinds of people who think our country is "a white, Christian nation" that needs "a white, Christrian president." Or the kinds of people who cheer when someone shouts a death threat at a rally. It's bad enough to see these "Joe Sixpacks" get picked up by the news media in passing, their idiotic comments being trumpeted for all to hear. But they can at least plead ignorance. Or at least we can for them. Far more frightening to me are the people who make publicized stands on these kinds of statements. Like Hank Williams Jr. at a recent McCain/Palin rally, when he got on stage to brutally rape and murder his 1979 hit single "Family Tradition" with re-tooled words celebrating the duo's bid for the White House.
People like Hank Williams Jr. shouldn't even be allowed to have opinions about politics. Here is a man who has spent the majority of his career so blasted on painkillers and booze that he hardly has a grip on his own reality, let alone the reality of the 300,000,000 other people that live in this country. Somehow, Bocephus just doesn't seem to me like the kind of guy who is checking out SmartVoter.org to keep himself abreast of his upcoming election decisions (something that you absolutely should be doing--as soon as you're finished reading this, of course). Entertainers across the board should remain exactly that: entertainers. Actors in particular are guilty of nosing their way into the political spectrum, trying to solve the world's problems with a movie that gets reviews that include phrases like "brutal reality" and "social commentary" and "Oscar nod." It's all about "Awareness" after all. If we know that there are starving children in Uganda, maybe we'll help them. No we won't. We'll just change the channel and hope that movie where you play the retarded guy with the shark-toothed little daughter is on HBO. You're damn right we're paying for premium cable. Why do you think we don't have any spare dimes for the little boy with the flies crawling on his eyeballs?
Of course, politically active entertainers are an exception. Actually, they don't even have to be active, they can just know what the fuck they're talking about. Ian Mackaye can have an opinion, as can Jello Biafra and Neil Young. But Hank? I'm sorry buddy, but I don't think I can let you pass on this one. Maybe if you had hit that intonation a little sharper. And don't think I'm just railing on him because he is stumping for the GOP. I think it's ridiculous when bands come out and have their "serious statements" about how right for this country Obama is too. Of course, I agree with them, so it's a lot easier for me to forgive, but do I actually put faith into a bunch of guys with so much moolah from record sales and concert tickets that they wouldn't even notice a shift to their tax bracket? Sorry, Pearl Jam. I love you guys, and I think you did right by Ticketmaster, but I'd be more willing to take political advice from that guy in downtown Pittsburgh who is always screaming about people following him. At least he understands my problems.
But there is hope. I couldn't leave you on such a down note. As I said before, I would be a lot more intense about this whole thing if I weren't so sure that Barack Obama was going to take this election in something close to a landslide, and today I something that tied a cute little bow around that wonderful package:
Did Colin Powell, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, just publically endorse the Democratic ticket in this year's election? You're damn right he did. And here's a guy whose political opinion actually holds some weight. Sure, Fox News is spinning it that it's just a couple o' blackies stickin' together, tryin' ta take ovah our good clean white countray once an' fer all--but in a single statement, General Powell just negated the work of a thousand broadcasts of loud-mouthed, down-home, small-town plumbers with white hoods stashed in the backs of their closets.
Congrats to you, Colin Powell, for stepping outside your party bounds and making one of those "bipartisan efforts" that I keep hearing McCain talk about. I guess he never figured on the "effort" being to boot his ass back to Arizona. The amount of guts it took for someone in your position to get on Meet the Press and make a statement like that is astonishing. Voting for the candidate who would be best for the job, not just for your party's agenda? Now that's an interesting new take on this politics thing. I can only hope it will inspire others to do the same.