Personal Stuff First
This is gonna be a political post, methinks, but I have a few things to proclaim before I get to the good stuff…
1. My beloved wife has officially lost SIXTY POUNDS! I’m so proud of her I could burst!
2. Four hundred dollars a month is a LOT. Ask me about it sometime.
3. I wish I had more time to take photos. And I wish I knew how to run my camera better.
4. You just gotta try New Belgium Brewery’s “1554” Brussels Style Black Ale. I tell ya, a glass of 1554 (or it’s little brother, Abbey) is a grand thing indeed! Hints of chocolate and coffee, without being sweet… But you have to drink it out of a glass, a real glass glass, not out of the bottle. You can’t sit and guzzle 1554 or Abbey — it’s for savoring, like a fine wine. Best served with rockabilly for some reason — it doesn’t react well to metal or rap. Blues is okay, too… (Be sure to go to New Belgium’s web site; they’re really cool people! If you work there for a while they give you a bicycle. VERY environmentally friendly! I wish I could work there.)
5. Why does beer taste better in the morning? Because it’s so rare to sip on a nice ale before lunch? Forbidden fruit? (Don’t worry, I don’t drink beer in the mornings. Often.)
6. Do I look fat in these genes?
8. For some reason Blogger isn’t showing comments to my last post any more. I’ve had two or three people leave comments that haven’t shown up for some reason. I don’t know why that’s happening, but please rest assured that I’m not deleting the comments or anything — I’m baffled as to what’s happening. (I’m thinking of moving this blog off the server it shares with the rest of my family web site sometime this fall and having Blogger host the blog on Google’s servers. That would give me more control over the appearance of my blog and improved stability, but it will also mean people will have to re-link to the new URL. Anyone have any experience with this? Is it gonna hurt?)
7. I lost my copy of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” and that makes me sad. Libertarians unite! (Not that Heinlein was necessarily a Libertarian himself, but the book seems to lean that way.)
8. I started this post days ago. I was going to write a lot more on politics (see below), but I keep falling asleep. I just don’t feel quite right…
On to the Politics:
I was home sick the other day (see my last post for all the icky details), and was somewhat embarrassed when, wearing scrungy jammie-pants and a T-shirt of dubious taste, I opened the door to let the cat out only to find a lady in an Obama T-shirt standing there, finger poised to push the doorbell. “Oh! Hello,” I said.
“Hello,” she said. “Are you” (she glanced at her clipboard, then continued) “Mr. Radloff?” I nodded, agreeing that yes, my name is indeed Mr. Radloff. “I’m with the Obama campaign, and if you have a few minutes, I’d like to answer any questions you may have about the Senator…”
Seeing as this is the very first person to ring my doorbell and want to talk politics with me, I agreed. I’ve never had a politician, staffer, enthusiastic supporter, or even unenthusiastic supporter come to my door wanting to talk about a candidate before… First time for everything! I mean, I’ve only lived here for seven-plus years… (The two nice Jehovah’s Witness men quit coming to my door after they saw exactly what a slightly hung-over hippie bass player looks like the morning after a hard gig.) I stepped outside and gestured to the stoop. “Have a seat.” The lady sat.
“What can I tell you about Senator Obama?” she asked.
I keep up on the candidates. Or at least I try to, anyway. But when put on the spot, it took me a few moments to collect my thoughts… My brain ran down the list. “Edwards, he’s the poverty guy,” my brain told me. “Richardson’s the guy with all the foreign policy experience and the good sense of humor. Hillary just plain scares me. Kucinich is the leprechaun who smiles a lot an agrees with everyone about everything. Dodd dated Princess Leia and hangs out with Paul Simon… Obama — he’s the composed guy who seems to know what’s going on but never really says anything.” Ah, yes. Obama. One of the “Big Three” in my book (along with Richardson and Edwards).
I tried to think of an intelligent question about Mr. Obama to ask the young lady, but I really couldn’t think of anything specific. “Well,” I said, “the things that are most important to me right now are poverty, Iraq, the environment and how we treat veterans, and I know Edwards pretty much has the poverty thing figured out. What does Obama have to offer?”
I forget what the nice lady said, exactly, but it was something predictable, like “The Senator is against poverty.” (Name me someone other than the current administration that’s FOR poverty.) But she continued to tell me how Obama had worked in the bad part of Chicago helping people in dire circumstances. Cool. Okay.
She went on to explain, in fair detail, what Mr. Obama’s positions were on the things important to me. We talked for a considerable time, actually, and by the time she left I was fairly impressed with the lady. She knew a lot about Obama, but wasn’t afraid to say, “I’m not sure about that issue, to be honest. I’m going to have to go ask some questions,” and she wasn’t afraid to give the other candidates kudos where they were deserved. She never bashed a rival candidate, and conducted herself very professionally. I learned a lot about Mr. Obama, though I already knew pretty much what his stance on the issues were…
But by the end of the conversation I’d managed to get something else straight in my mind that had been buzzing around for a while…
Many of the candidates have nearly identical platforms. What I really want to know is: How are you going to see your changes made on a local level? How are you going to get your programs and ideas past the bureaucracy and governmental inertia to a point where it benefits me? There are at least four candidates that I could vote for with a good conscience. But who is going to make a difference? Which one can cut through the clutter to actually make changes?
This question is relevant no matter what party or candidate you’re backing. We need to ask this question. It’s not good enough for a candidate to say, “I back alternative energy, and I think we need to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.” Everyone says that. How are you going to DO that? And I don’t mean the specifics of your plan (“I think we need to look at hydrogen,” or whatever), I mean how are you going to get your plan instigated in my neighborhood? Are you going to take control over certain aspects of local government? Or the reverse — are you going to cut red tape and get the federal government out of the way of the local governments? Are you going to use incentives?
In short, how are you going to get city hall to listen to you?