Friday, October 31, 2008

Us vs. Them

I've mused frequently on a topic which again came to mind this morning, so I thought I'd ask you all, dear readers, what your thoughts on the topic might be.  This is the topic about the styles of communication of representatives of the two major political parties in the United States.  The differences are stark, in my opinion, but at the same time somewhat subtle; the messages are certainly used to generate support in their respective "bases", but the fact is that those messages are in fact quite different.

Media attention has been put on the fact that John McCain, currently running for president, is "on the offensive."  He is striking out at his opponent, Barack Obama, and looking for negative things to say about Mr. Obama, his beliefs, and his alleged policies were he to be elected President.  McCain points out that Obama intends to raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans, with the underlying implication that if one day any of the rest of us become wealthy, we wouldn't want those taxes.  Sarah Palin, McCain's vice-presidential running mate, has explicitly distinguished "Real Americans" from whoever those rest of us are.

Meanwhile, Obama, running on a platform of "change," is doing all that he can to bring the people together.  One could say that it's because he's in the lead; he doesn't need to sling mud at McCain and Palin because he has nothing to fear, but if we look back at previous Presidential campaigns we find this pattern repeated.  Indeed, it occurs outside of Presidential elections too: George W. Bush is famous for saying to the American public, "if you're not with us, you're against us" after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

So, is it just a matter of fact that the Republicans divine their power from dividing the population and the Democrats work to unify, or is this just a lame matter of perception because of the media I choose to consume?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

California Proposition 8 equals hate

I've been working on some posters to campaign against California's Proposition 8 which will put into the California constitution a line along the lines of, "Marriage is only recognized as being between a man and a woman."  While I am not a big fan of the institution myself, I don't believe that it's up to the state to encode the fundamentalist Christian thoughts on this issue into the constitution which at present is silent on the topic of marriage.

Religion aside, should there be a mechanism in our society for people to share assets and achieve survivorship when one partner dies?  Yes, there should be.  I feel it is unfortunate that such a mechanism comes with the religious underpinnings of "marriage," but that is the vehicle by which civil unions are made and exceptions for lifestyles and life choices that some individuals find disagreeable does nothing but fiscally punish those who are homosexual and who want to be able to make decisions for their partners when those partners are incapacitated.  How much does it cost to get married at the County Clerk's office, versus how much it costs to get the lawyers to draft powers of attorney and the other requisite documentation that is wholly unnecessary when the county recognizes two people as married?

Anyway, I've made a bunch of posters that are intended to be printed at Kinko's.  There's not a lot of time left, so chop chop!  The previews are at my facebook page and the PDFs and source material are in this ZIP file.