One of my sisters posted on our private family blog last week sharing some of her thoughts on the three presidential candidates still in the running and soliciting opinions from the rest of us. While busy working on other things over the past week, I've been thinking of what I'd say. I've mentioned here that I support Barack Obama, but haven't really gotten into why (beyond all the love he's getting from the hip-hop community), so I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone and reply to my sister's request here where the whole world can see and mock my reasoning. This is quickly becoming a monster of a post in my head, though, so I'm going to split it into a few posts on the issues that matter most to me.
Among these is the war in Iraq. Remember the one George W. Bush triumphantly declared was over like five years ago? Yeah, that one. It boggles my mind that the only thing that so many Christians--and Mormons particularly--remember about Bill Clinton is that he had sex with Monica Lewinsky, and they accuse that one act of rending asunder the moral fabric of our nation, and yet they continue to stand behind Bush. Don't get me wrong--I believe that adultery is a pretty horrible thing, especially when it involves the abuse of power like that of the president of the United States, but I'm pretty sure most people agree that murder is worse than adultery. According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, nearly 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq since March of 2003. That's nothing compared to the more than 40,000 Iraqi soldiers and citizens who have been killed just since January of 2005. And yet George W. Bush, the man responsible for these deaths, is somehow a stalwart of moral integrity because he likes to mention God in his speeches?
What does George W. Bush have to do with the current election? Well, the only reason Bush was able to muster up the support to invade Iraq is by capitalizing on the tremendous tragedy of 9/11 to convince Americans that they should be shaking in fear of those evil terrorists in the Middle East with their weapons of mass destruction--the weapons he never found in Iraq, by the way, and the terrorists who had nothing to do with Iraq until George came in and screwed the country over.
Now, I really don't hate John McCain. He seems like a genuinely good person and I like a lot of his policies. What terrifies me about him, though, is that he seems to have every intention of continuing George W. Bush's "War on Terror" and is already using the very same scare tactics that Bush has been using for the past seven years. He reminds voters frequently of the constant threat of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the need to "secure the American homeland." Something cartoonist Aaron McGruder pointed out in an interview a few years ago (sorry, no link) is that, just like a "War on Drugs," we can never win a "War on Terror" because there will always be terrorists and the second we say we've won the war and then terrorists blow up another building, we look like idiots. And when people like Bush and McCain are using this so-called "War on Terror" to "temporarily" take away Americans' rights, that means our loss of those rights isn't so temporary after all.
Along with John McCain, Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq invasion in 2003. I would be willing to forgive her for that, as she now claims to see the error of that decision, except that now she's indulging in "War on Terror"-like scare tactics in order to convince voters that she will do a better job than Barack Obama of protecting our innocent sleeping children from those evil terrorists who go bump in the night.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has been opposed to the war from the beginning and he recognizes scare tactics when he sees them. He did not vote for or against the invasion because he wasn't a U.S. senator at the time, but he did speak at anti-war rallies, making his position clear. Whereas McCain seems to think that sending more American troops will somehow fix Bush's little snafu, Obama recognizes that enough people have died already and sending more troops to kill and be killed won't solve anything. Certainly the U.S. owes it to Iraq to not leave them high and dry, but there are better ways to support them than bombing them.