Early in the Morning

Let's all breath a sigh of relief. Election Day is almost upon us. Yes, this is an historic election, and yes, whatever happens will have major consequences, good or bad, for our country. But what this obscenely long election has done, more than anything else, is drag American down a dark rabbit hole that in a matter of days we will have to crawl out of. The childish quarrelling has pushed the limits of ridiculous behavior, and it doesn't loom well for America.

Let's get one thing straight from the get-go. This is not politics. This is petty tabloid fodder dressed up as news. Barack Obama is a terrorist? Sarah Palin as vice president? John McCain is a maverick? When will someone just name Bat Boy as their advisor so this thing can come full circle? Circulating doctored photos of Sarah Palin in a bikini is, I will admit, amusing. But what does it have to do with the presidency? It doesn't mean anything in the big picture, and does nothing in the way of the issues. This election season has been nothing but a constant haze of rumors, lies, and blatent avoidance.

Maybe what we have all forgotten is that, while our leaders bicquer, the world is still burning around us. Things don't stop because we are picking a new president. Children are still dying, governments are changing, wars are being waged. And where are we? Glued to CNN like kids watching a fight on the playground at recess. Nothing is being solved. No progress is being made by watching John McCain crack jokes every five seconds with that, let's face it, creepy laugh of his. Take, for example, Joe the effing Plumber. That man is completely insignifcant compared to the thousands of Iraqis who have been killed or displaced, and yet somehow he ends up with more airtime than they ever will. Please, share with me how that works exactly?

Sometimes I get worried that America has forgotten what our leaders are really for. We have come to accept that all politicians are greedy, untrustworthy opportunists serving their own agenda. Vote for the lesser of two evils, right? Rule of thumb. But it doesn't have to be that way. We have fallen into a cycle where those with the most money, not the most capacity to lead, are elected. But it doesn't have to be like that. It is okay to demand more from politicians. It would take looking at more than just, oh, I don't know, 30 second TV spots between re-runs of Friends, but it can be done. The sad fact is that more Americans are too disillusioned with the current situation to even pay enough attention to the current candidates, let alone actually pay attention to what those out of the spotlight are saying.

I'm not saying vote third party. I am so vehemently against that, I can't even put it into words. Voting third party is just self indulgent, because like it or not, we are a two party system. The only way to clean up politics is for a change in the way we think. We need to value more than just whoever is the flashiest option, or the one who looks most like us. Listening to the issues is what we have to do. Look at the situation for real, not just, "Oh, well, I'm a conservative, so I'd best vote for a Republican." That is what is keeping party politics in play. This is why few people hold all the cards in the system, and why we as a country can't move forward. When are we going to grow tired of pandering politicians willing to tell us what we want to hear? And when will politicians respect us enough to tell us the truth?


The World's Greatest

In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about America falling from it's current place of ultimate power in the world. The current financial crisis coupled with America's ever-decreasing prestige worldwide has led many to believe the end of the American Era is upon us, and I can't disagree. The rising power of developing nations around the world cannot be ignored, and neither can our own relative stagnation. We, as a nation, have to face the future without our current "USA #1" attitude. We have to begin cooperating, not just coercing.

We are an isolated nation. We don't have the constant influx of ideas and people from bordering nations the way the European Union does. It's easy to forget the world is small when you are oceans away from the rest of it. But technology has broken down the remaining barriers between countries, and turned boundaries into just meaningless lines on paper. This doesn't just open the tourism market to a million more camera-toting-fannypack-wearing families, but also has opened us to an unprecedented opportunity for cooperation. The only way we can more forward is by cooperation, even with our enemies. In this new, small world where communication takes place instantly and ideas are coming from every corner of the globe, there is no room for nationalism.

And so we must establish a new patriotism. Not dedication to one's country, but to people in general. A dedication to making life better for everyone, because now more than ever, our similarities shine through. Despite the many differences in the world, we are after the same things fundamentally. As JFK said, "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal."

Helping people can and should be the basis of policy. But before it can manifest in government, mankind has to accept the fact that working together for the common good isn't just a crackpot idea founded in Marxism. It's, really, all that matters. Yeah, we have ourselves all worked up about car insurance and cellphones and all those other society imposed matters of importance, but when everything is said and done, they don't matter. Centuries from now, no one is going to care if you had comprehensive auto insurance. Putting an end of suffering will matter. Who won Dancing with the Stars won't matter. Saving children from starvation will matter. And the only way this can be accomplished is by working with the world, not swooping in like Superman to right the wrongs of society singlehandedly.

Americans need to realize not everything is a competition. Pitting ourselves against the world by using the "us-against-them" rhetoric of the War on Terror is counterproductive, and only further isolates us in our selfish nationalism. It's okay to reach out to those who don't share our ideology, or our way of life, or our values. It's okay to say, "You have something we don't." If our politicians are celebrated for reaching "across the aisle" and working together, why can't that be applied on a global level? Until we do so, we'll continue losing important ground.
My Zimbio
Top Stories