One Youtube Portal Later I’ve Met the Candidates

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Political and Social Issues
Tags: , , ,

I spent the better part of my day today in a very familiar activity: zoning out to an endless succession of youtube videos. I often get caught up in these video chains, each one linking to three or four more which interest me in hydra-esque fashion until I have a couple browser windows crammed full of tiny, illegible tabs, and the sun has gone down without my noticing. I’m waiting for the day when I am sucked into such an internet vortex, (wikipedia has a way of ensnaring me in like fashion), never to return.

It all started this afternoon with a video of Bill Hicks berating his audience. I quickly lost interest in his rants but it was too late. There before me was a link to Dave Chapelle doing anything and from there the situation quickly spun out of control. Before I knew it, and don’t ask me how I got there, I was watching the New Hampshire GOP presidential debate. I’ve known of Ron Paul and followed him since his 2008 presidential run, but this was my first chance to get a look at some of the other candidates. Overall: not interested. Michelle Bachman kinda freaks me out with the whole homophobia/religious right thing, and Newt Gingrich introduced himself by referring to the current financial crisis as the ‘Obama depression’, which just blows my mind. Cain seemed to have a solid idea of how to go about trying to stimulate the private sector, but was unwilling to address the fundamental issues of our failed economic policy. Also, he totally dodged that ‘do you distrust muslims?’ question, and after some squirming, too. The rest of the candidates were just uninspiring, and mostly came off as running on a ‘not Obama’ platform. None of them were  willing to tell it like Dr Paul. None of them were willing to address our failed economic policy, the issue of a runaway federal reserve, our overextended and devastatingly expensive military, or our oppressive and counterproductive foreign policy in general. Ah well, it’s nice to see that the debates are as silly an affair as ever they have been. Mostly vapid soundbites, lots of talking with nothing being said. I’d like to take a tally and figure out what percentage of the questions are actually answered… And Paul doesn’t get to speak until 14 minutes in when he’s asked whether or not he supports any of a democratic administration’s economic decisions? Still no content, still no real debate, still no love for the good doctor.

This debate gave me some hope, though. In 2008 I could hardly discern between the republican and democratic candidates. I ended up voting for Obama because he ran a refreshingly clean campaign and I figured any democratic administration was likely to provide a better atmosphere for progressive social movements such as the LGBT rights movement. Now, in 2012, it seems that while Dr Paul himself is still largely ignored or marginalized by the mainstream media, his ideas at least are gaining ground and attracting attention. Perhaps in response to the tea party movement, it has become fashionable in this cycle for republican candidates to espouse republican values. As I mentioned before, none of the candidates were willing to touch the  fundamental ‘500lb gorilla’ issues which are so central to Dr Paul’s platform, yet they allude to him in many of their responses and their stated policies are drifting in his direction. I honestly have no idea whether or not Dr Paul can win the Republican nomination, but no matter what happens he’s making himself heard like never before. No matter what happens, the ideas that he promotes and the example he sets will be increasingly difficult for the establishment to ignore. No matter what happens, a growing population of the US is waking up to the fact that we need real, fundamental change in foreign and fiscal policy, and we need this change not to avert a crisis, but to minimize the crisis which is already upon us.

Also, now I’m crazy pumped to hit the straw poll in Ames!! I’ve got some questions for some of the candidates that weren’t touched on during the debate. I still don’t know where most of them stand on the Federal Reserve or the War on Drugs, for instance. Plus, there’s free food. Flippin’ funnel cake, dude.

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