The return of … music?

So, the election is over.

Baseball season is over.

And suddenly, Erik is feeling music again.

What happened? Well, I think that should be pretty obvious. A lot of tension was lifted from my mind after Barack Obama won the presidency (can you dig it?!) I’ll have more to say about this, but right now I’m a little too busy trying to get ready for a weekend field trip and an interview, so instead I’ll post my first iPod top 10 in months. Enjoy!

  1. “Like This” by Girl Talk
  2. “The Menace” by Mongrel
  3. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
  4. “Shame on a Nigga” by Wu Tang Clan
  5. “Blind” by Hercules & Love Affair
  6. “Freiwild” by K.I.Z.
  7. “Flux” by Bloc Party
  8. “Dance Wiv Me” by Dizzee Rascal with Calvin Harris
  9. “Mumtaz Khan” by Ratatat
  10. “I Lost You” by the Walkmen

California, vote NO on 8.

So, today, driving back from work, I was accosted by “Yes on 8” (get rid of gay marriage in California forever) at an intersection in my town. When I made clear my distaste for “Yes” – by a thumbs down – I thought the children they had employed to wave signs were going to come after me with rocks.

And it is not like this made me decide that “No” is the way to go. Prop. 8 takes away people’s rights, so if you think you are protecting “values”, what you’re actually doing is the same thing as banning interracial marriage. You take away people’s right to express their love and commitment, and more importantly, you legislate people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, if you truly believe that all men are created equal, then the choice is obvious: NO on PROPOSITION 8.

My final electoral thoughts

The 2008 Presidential Election is tomorrow and I think we’re going to be in for a doozy. Now, whether that doozy is an extra-inning nailbiter or a blow-out, I can’t convince myself either way, but it will be quite the experience for all of us. 

So, here I am. You all already know that I have endorsed Barack Obama for president, so what else can I say.

A lot.

This election might be the most important in the U.S. since 1980, or, at the very least, since 1992. The U.S. is at crossroads where it, as a whole, must decide whether it wants to continue to follow the path that the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and Karl Rove) have set us, or whether we want to choose a different path. If you agree with the agenda outlined by Bush, you might not want to read on. You’ve probably made up your mind about the election of 2008, so I’m not going to change your mind. If you are against it, then you’ve also made up your mind. If you’re unsure, well, maybe you need to read on.

In my opinion, the eight years of the Bush administration has left the U.S.:

  • in an economically disastrous position – the free-for-all for corporations and Wall Street led by greed has left the country without any safety net.
  • lacking the international standing that it once had. The “go it ourselves” attitude has not only strained the country’s relationships with allies, but also inflamed our enemies further.
  • with little faith in the government – the secrecy and doubletalk of the Bush administration has left the government in a more precarious position than the Watergate.
  • divided. They (Bush/Rove/Cheney) have pitted the citizens against themselves thanks to the Rovian ideology of 50+1% to win an election – Abraham Lincoln was right when he said “a house divided against itself cannot stand”, and we’re left with a nation that could be on the cusp of a cultural civil war.
  • in a quagmire of a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, hemorrhaging billions of dollars a month in wars that may not leave the U.S. any safer than when they began – we lost our path when we stopped trying to find Bin Laden and rout Al-Qaeda.
  • a country that no longer values education and scientific advancement.

Now, this indictment of the Bush administration is at least how I think history will remember the Bush administration: an extreme administration that divided the nation against itself and led the U.S. out of its hegemonic stance in the world. Whether the U.S. was already on the way out like the British Empire in the early 20th century or whether Bush sped the process up is purely conjecture, but he will be remembered as the president who was in office when the U.S. lost its place as the international leader in economics, ethics and scientific advancement.

This really has little to do with the 2008 election because, of course, Bush cannot run for office again. However, his policies can, and that is what we get with John McCain. The former maverick might have tried to pull the wool over the nation’s eyes by nominated the Bush II of Sarah Palin – an empty suit of conservative ideas – as VP for the Republicans – but McCain has become the party flag-bearer, even before he won the nomination. McCain fell into line with Bush long before the 2008 election, voting with Bush’s policies a vast majority of the time, and his presidency would just continue the Bush policies we’ve lived with for the past 8 years.

Luckily, the nation has a choice other than John McCain. And even more, we have a choice that isn’t just “not Bush”, but a candidate that can inspire the nation. Barack Obama is that candidate. He has been criticized as “not experienced enough” to be President, but really, this nation doesn’t need “experience” in the form of McCain right now. Whether you agree with Obama or not, you can agree with the idea that this nation needs to feel good about itself again. Obama can bring us out of the economic and international quagmire that we are in, or at least provide us with an option that doesn’t extend the neocon ideology. I, for one, agree with Obama’s ideas of making the distribution of wealth in this country more equitable because it is obviously distorted beyond belief by the Bush administration’s policies of “trickle-down” economics”. I agree with the idea that affordable healthcare should be provided for all – and private companies are not going to do it on their own, it is not in their interest as “for profit” institutes. I agree with the ideas of repairing our international relationships by not avowing to a “go it alone” path. I agree that this country needs to start thinking of itself as a beacon to the world, rather than one who allows for torture, corruption and lies to the world.

Barack Obama will, undoubtedly, not be able to live up to the promises he’s made, the dreams that he has offered this country, and the repair that this country needs from the Bush administration, but he does offer hope and inspiration. It is a symbol, an abstract idea, but maybe that is what we want, we need. McCain might be a pragmatic choice, but Barack Obama is the idealistic choice that the country needs to revive itself. I believe that Barack Obama is the right person to be the next President of the United States.