My father is not well. He readily admits his time is short, and the encroaching spectre of The End has made him a more reflective man than I have ever known him to be. Over the past few weeks, he’s spent a lot of time talking about what he will take away from this life when he leaves it. Difficult stuff, to be sure, but hours I will cherish.

To my surprise, Dad has not moved toward religion in his last days. Instead, he’s found his spirituality in family and friends. According to him, the people he loves are the ones who have filled his life with light, not the promises made in his Bible. Last week he said Christianity always gave him the same comfort he remembers from childhood–the feeling of cuddling up by a warm fire with a good story and a parent to reassure him that in the end, everything would be okay. But it’s the end. And everything is not okay.

Dad is a self-made man who came up from nothing. To him, personal responsibility is the foundation of our society. He didn’t believe that men, black or white, should rely on anyone, especially not the government. But as he watched his life savings drain away with his health, and the dreams of his children fade as we struggled to pay the bills to keep him alive, that ideology began to feel disconnected from reality. The Conservatism he taught me encouraged unrepentant faith in the Free Market–if you believe, you will prosper. But we believed. And we are not prospering. We are withering away.

Dad has long since abandoned the Conservative cause–not just because he felt betrayed by George W. Bush, but because his perspective on life changed the longer he lived it. As many of you have pointed out, I’ve begun to question my own devotion to the party as a result. In recent weeks, the debacle of McCain/Palin has accelerated my move away from Conservatism so rapidly, I can’t even see my old mindset on the horizon anymore. And in the wake of my retreat, a new question has emerged: why did I hold these beliefs so close for so long? Maybe I, like my father, needed that comfort of a parent reading a storybook, assuring me that I would be safe and secure if I would just close my eyes and go to sleep.

I feel like a stranger to my all-too-recent self. There was an obstinance to my thinking, a stubborn determination to stick to the “values” of Republicanism, even when the moral failure of that ideology was staring me in the face. It is remarkable that in spite of the disaster of the past 8 years, so many of us continue to believe in that story, to stay Republican on faith alone. We have been told from a young age that belief is the greatest virtue, that faith makes a man. But it doesn’t. In this case, faith just makes a good consumer.

We are the wealthiest country in the world, and yet we are the only industrialized nation where a health problem can bankrupt an otherwise secure financial existence. We tell our citizens that cutting taxes for the wealthiest will somehow “trickle down” to them, but it simply doesn’t. The idea that every man must live and work for himself has not served us well. If we are to survive, we must embrace a shared purpose.

So I will vote for Barack Obama on November 4th.

I will vote for him because I want to learn from our past and evolve to a better future. I will vote for him for my children, in hopes that their American story will not mirror mine. But most of all, I will vote Obama because my father would have done it, as a final dissertation on his experience in this life. He may not have the opportunity to put his change of heart into action. But by changing me, he already has.



Filed under October 2008

The Ignorant Are Lit!

Once again, my heartfelt thanks to those who have sent their condolences over the past few weeks. And to all who have written, wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth, rest assured that I have not. This isn’t a personal blog, so I won’t go into every reason for my absence. But if I veer towards the confessional, forgive me–these have not been easy times.

So what did I see on the hospital TV this past week? I watched crowds of aggressively stupid white people call Barack Obama a terrorist. I watched an old lady tell John McCain (the poor bastard) that Barack Obama was an Arab, in a quiet whisper like she knew it was bullshit. Then I watched the Real Americans around her wince and laugh: “Cripes, lady, we can spread that lie in secret but don’t actually say it on TV like you think it’s true…”

I know a lot of conservatives who are deeply embarrassed by the bottom-feeders who came out of the woodwork with renewed confidence after Palin lit the fires. To me, last week recalled Tolkien: “And the summons-by-fire spreads across the kingdom, from mountaintop to mountaintop and the sentinels shout the triumphant news – “The ignorant are lit!”

Then, of course, there was the Black Man for McCain in that audience. You can find him about halfway through the clip below. No, it wasn’t me. If it had been, not only would he have been better-looking, but he wouldn’t have suggested that Obama’s “soft spot” was Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. I might have said something about the need for McCain to use his foreign policy expertise, so ably demonstrated in both debates, to make a specific argument about the future of both wars–how we will win in Afghanistan and draw down in Iraq while leaving behind a stable democracy. Or I would have asked him to play up his (very) good idea to allow retirees to hold their 401K’s beyond the required cashout date so their stock portfolios can bounce back. Or at least focus on a clear message instead of grasping at straws.

But this cat figures the way to take down the first black president is to make sure everybody knows he had an angry black pastor and sat on a board with a 60’s radical. In a time of economic collapse in all corners of the economy, two wars, terrorism, health-care related bankruptcies, mass forclosures, skyrocketing unemployment, a massive transfer of wealth overseas and a paralyzing fear of tomorrow’s bad news, my man thinks the road to victory runs through…where? Way to think it through, brother.

My father and I have spent countless hours in this room together over the past few weeks, and in that time we’ve discovered a great many things. One, we need to put some serious American ingenuity into improving our hospital food. Two, doctors and nurses do not support John McCain’s health care policy. At all. And three, the conservative ideology has managed to attract a lot of vindictive, uneducated, confidently ignorant motherfuckers. (Sorry, friends, I’m gonna swear pretty regularly from here on out. Love me or leave me.)

As I’ve said before, it’s a strange time to be a Conservative. We’re down the rabbit hole here, people. And, sadly, Republicans are only making it worse.


Filed under October 2008

Palin Repairs 18 Million Cracks in Glass Ceiling

Ladies, throw your hats in the air. She’s done it. After only two interviews with actual reporters (Hannity doesn’t count) Sarah Palin managed to fill in every single one of those cracks and reinforce them with steel. Ain’t nobody getting through that ceiling now.

In just twenty minutes of screen time, this woman managed to convince the majority of thinking people, Republicans included, that she should be sent packing immediately. It’s farce. It’s comedy. Her incoherent babbling has made it crystal clear why McCain tried to postpone the debates. The woman is a disaster of epic proportions.

Apologies to all those who count on this blog for hard proof that at least one Republican out there doesn’t have his head completely up his ass. I’ve had to cut down on my posts due to work and a personal financial crisis that could use a government bailout right about now. Beyond that, this shit has just gotten to ridiculous and sad to comment on. I am at a loss for words. I am no longer embarrassed to be a Republican, I am actually ashamed.

In the past week, a chorus of anti-regulation free marketeers have gone silent, and for good reason. When this bailout passes, our “conservative” leaders will have succeeded at swinging the pendulum all the way back to Socialism. That, combined with this embarrassing spectacle, are reason to think long and hard about what we’re trying to accomplish.

Fellow Republicans, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves the tough questions. Is a McCain/Palin White House good for our country? Is it patriotic? Is it even Christian? Anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty knows these are fair questions.

My friends, it may be time to repent.


Filed under September 2008

The Day Conservatism Died

It’s over. To argue otherwise would not just be a failure of observation, but a crass exercise in intellectual dishonesty. Why do I say this? Come on, you know. You watch the news. You read. For those who still cling to the “conservative values” drilled into us by our parents, it is time to wake up. It was all a lie, designed to trick poor (white) folks into voting against their interests. The market is not a panacea–it’s a warm, wet host for the virus of greed. America’s financial system is in shambles, and Republicans are directly, unequivocally responsible. Conservatism is dead.

Unfortunately, this economic meltdown is only one part of a perfect storm. If we were to look down on it from space, we’d see this disaster swirling alongside the transformation of John McCain from honest maverick to lying, cynical panderer…mixing with the choice of Sarah Palin, an assault on thinking people everywhere…only to finally collide with the historic failure of the Bush Presidency. Add it all up, my friends, and you have the end of an ideology.

If I sound angry and perhaps a bit irrational, it is for good reason. In the interest of full disclosure, my father is very sick. The costs inflicted upon him and his new wife over the past few months have destroyed his hope for a comfortable retirement. His debt is mounting and I am unable to help, because I am mired in my own financial crisis. It would be unfair to suggest that this situation has not affected my subscription to the conservative worldview. It has. But to hear John McCain say yesterday that the “fundamentals of the economy are sound” nearly made my head explode. What the hell is this guy talking about? My house is worth less than my mortgage, my father is sinking into debt on his death bed, and you expect me to believe that the economy is sound? F**k you, old man.

The ideology I clung to like a soft blanket for decades has crumbled before my eyes. What was once an alliance of citizens yearning for fiscal restraint has become a coalition of the most ignorant, the least educated, and the most morally bankrupt of Americans.

My party hasn’t left me, it has left the planet.


Filed under September 2008

Lipstick on a Lie

The McCain campaign is quickly becoming an embarrassment to honest Republicans and thinking people everywhere. Instead of elevating the discourse and talking about why Conservatism is America’s best hope for the future, which it is, they have chosen to prey on the most ignorant of our citizens.

Yesterday I saw a commercial in which Obama’s support for preventative education to protect kindergartners from child molesters and pedophiles was distorted into “sex ed for kids”. An outright lie directed at the most intellectually vulnerable of Americans. Meanwhile, a You Tube clip was edited to conveniently make it look like Obama accidentally “slipped up and revealed his Muslim faith”…when he was actually defending John McCain against the accusation that the man claimed he was a Muslim. Then this morning, another ad in which Obama used a widely-known colloquialism (lipstick on a pig) to describe McCain’s attempt to prettify the Bush years…and these sleazebags had the sack to suggest he was calling Sarah Palin a pig.

I want to win, but I DO NOT WANT TO WIN LIKE THIS.

I can’t imagine that John McCain truly approves of these messages. This kind of blatant dishonesty is not just Un-American, it is Un-Christian. Sarah Palin, if Jesus Christ is truly your Savior and you wish to live your life by his Word, make them stop. The Americans being targeted by these ads are defenseless–they’re simply not intellectually equipped to think critically and see how dishonestly their vote is being earned.

I have never in my life been so embarrassed to be a Republican. Conservatives and Christians alike, I beg of you, take a stand. We are better than this. Only months ago, we had agreed to campaign on the issues. What happened? I’m starting to think it would be worth paying higher taxes just to avoid rewarding this kind of disgusting campaign with the Presidency of the United States.

If the douchebuckets behind these ads really think they’re going to fare well when they come before the Almighty, I’d hedge your bets and pack sunscreen. May I suggest SPF 10,000?


Filed under September 2008

Why I’m Still Voting For McCain

I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately if I still plan to vote for McCain in November. It is a fair question. In the past few weeks, I’ve lobbed more than a few spitballs at Sarah Palin, and even a few at the Man himself. So in response to the accusations that I’ve lost my conservative bona fides, let me tell you what keeps me in the camp despite this recent spate of disappointments.

My devotion to McCain has always been based on his record as a maverick. I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but it actually means something to me. It means that a man who belonged to a fiercely partisan generation of Republicans (or at least served during one) had the sack to cry bullshit on his own guys. When George W. Bush chose to give enormous tax cuts to a lot of very wealthy people during a war for “freedom”, John McCain stood up and said it was a very bad idea. When the rest of the GOP had their heads stuck in the sand on the reality of global warming, John McCain stood up and said that it should not be ignored. When the Right To Life movement threatened to repeal Roe v. Wade, John McCain dissented because “it would force women in America to undergo illegal and dangerous operations” to terminate unwanted pregnancies. When legions of Christians were following the morally diseased leadership of hatemongers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, McCain called those charlatans out for what they were. Ergo, maverick.

I think liberals have a hard time understanding why this is significant because there is dissent in their ranks all the time. They are disorganized and sloppy, their message is often a mess, and the crutch of moral relativism guarantees disagreement on every issue. Being a modern day Republican, on the other hand, is easy. Just repeat after me: Taxes bad, Flag good, Abortion bad, Guns good, Gays bad, Jesus good. There, you’re a Republican. It’s not rocket science. But John McCain, in a show of moral clarity that I find inspiring, went against the party line and said things like “yes, taxes are usually bad, but there’s a war on, you dumb assholes–sacrifice something.” He looked at issues on their merits and offered common sense solutions. This is what people meant when they praised his “straight talk”.

So fast forward to 2008, and John McCain realizes that now he has to lead the party he’s been trying to keep in check for all these years. He knows, based on the cold hard realities of Gallup, that the positions he’s taken over the past decade simply will not fly with the base. But he loves his country profoundly, and he wants to lead it to a better place. So what does he do? He tells them everything they want to hear. He says, in no uncertain terms, “Taxes bad, Flag good, Abortion bad, Guns good, Gays bad, Jesus good.” And to seal the deal, he finds a running mate who’s literally the woman Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would have created if they had access to that computer in Weird Science.

At first glance, it would appear the old man had lost his aforementioned sack, but John McCain never changed his mind on any of these issues. By bending over for the Right, the man is simply taking another in a long series of bullets for his country. He sees that Washington is broken and he wants to fix it, but he knows that the only way he can win is by pandering to the same Philistines who voted for George W. Bush in 2004. So he’s doing just that. Then, once President, he will govern like the maverick he is. He will find common ground and run a pragmatic and sensible White House. And the base won’t even notice. (They didn’t realize that Bush failed to deliver on his promises, why start now?)

Ironically, McCain is pulling the same stunt that Bush pulled in 2000, but in reverse. Instead of running as a Compassionate Conservative and then taking a hard right, McCain is running as freedom-addicted religious fundamentalist supply-sider, with every intention to find a comfortable place in the middle once he’s passed the smell test of our country’s vast panoply of moron deciders.

That is why I support John McCain, because he’s taking one for the greater good. And like those five years in a Vietnamese prison camp, the man will not break. Fellow Americans, that is the true definition of Country First.

And that is why John McCain will get my vote in November.


Filed under September 2008

A Healthy Dose of Good Christian Racism

When Sarah Palin first appeared on TV, my goldfish Eddie started swimming upside down. That was my first clue. Eddie has a way of predicting disasters. When the disturbing accounts of her governing style and decision-making process started to trickle in, he started doing inverted circles. When she gave her speech last week, he disappeared into his plastic underwater castle. I didn’t know how to read that. But Eddie and I are instinct-driven animals, and it appears both of us spent the past week trying to articulate something we already knew.

When I first laid eyes on Sarah, I felt like I recognized her. I couldn’t place it at first, but then I read her comment on Obama and it all came together. It was like that Bruce Willis movie where you find out he was a ghost the whole time. Suddenly it was obvious. I knew why I recognized Sarah Palin. She’s a racist.

Don’t get all up in arms, fellow GOP brothers and sisters. You know it to be true. You’ve seen this woman before. You’ve heard those “humorous” asides that reveal her true nature. This is the kind of racist who doesn’t even consider herself a racist because the gap between black and white is so obvious to her, the bell curve so steep, she’s just “telling it like it is”.

I’ve met white people like this. Not at my church, but at my friend Randall’s. “HooRandy” lives in California, somewhere near Disneyland. On a business trip to San Diego last spring, I drove up to HooRand’s on a Saturday night and we had dinner at some Brazilian joint that pretty much rapes you with food and drink. The next morning, hangover notwithstanding, HooRand took me to a church that was all glass and crystal and the size of a football stadium. The pastor wore a Hawaiian shirt and had a backup band. It was a good enough sermon, maybe a bit too focused on Jesus’ power to bring “riches and prosperity” to his followers. Afterwards we had refreshments. People were talking life, family and politics. I watched and listened. And I knew at that moment, back at my apartment halfway across the country, Eddie was swimming upside down. These people were mind-numbingly racist. Not angry racists, mind you. But happy, laughing racists. Proud, jolly racists. I heard one guy make a crack that Barack Obama would be “shining shoes in the White House” if he won the presidency. Then I watched about 8 people around him laugh (without caring that HooRand and I were standing five feet away). It was nothing short of shocking.

But then, the folks there seemed to love HooRand, his wife and his kids. It was not the kind of cartoonish hatred that you see in racists on TV. It was a very natural, relaxed racism. It was the Casual Friday of racism. Good Christian people just hanging out, loving Jesus and making fun of the uppity blacks.

On the drive home, HooRand made no excuses. He was fully aware of the blinding ignorance and sweltering racism that went down in his glass church every Sunday. But he felt a responsibility to show these people how a black family can love Jesus every bit as much as they do. I found his resignation both honorable and sad. But that’s HooRand for you.

When I read this week that Sarah Palin often calls the native peoples of her state “Alaskan Arabs” and that she referred to Barack Obama as “Sambo”, I was not shocked. I know where she’d go to church if she lived in Southern California. She reminded me of those jolly racists. Pretty, witty and poised, with a sharpness to her smile while spewing the most backwards redneck bile you can imagine, coated with spun sugar.

So where does that leave me? I feel the same way about my party as HooRand felt about his glass church. I’m here because I want my fellow Republicans to see that it’s possible for a black man to love America every bit as much as they do. And maybe if they see that, they’ll realize that their jolly racism doesn’t even represent the way they actually feel about black people. It’s a residue, leftover from their parents, and it can be cleansed if conservative leaders appeal to the better side of their nature instead of encouraging the worst.

I have made no secret of my gut feeling that Sarah Palin is not the best choice for the party. Good Christian Racism should not be mass-marketed, and she’s the best example we’ve seen in the public square for some time. But Sarah Palin’s racism makes her a prime candidate to change the way her fellow Republicans think. As her world experience grows, her views will naturally evolve. And she can inspire millions to leave that old country club nastiness-with-a-smile where it belongs: in the past.

So Sarah, take this opportunity to delete the word “Sambo” from your vocabulary and lead this party to a better place. That’s what leaders do.


Filed under September 2008