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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Recovering Republican vs. Ageism, and Another Case Against Sarah Palin

I was unfortunately embroiled in a discussion involving politics the other day with my manager and the President of the company, and right off the bat I was offended by something he had said. There was no equivocation, no alternate way of interpreting what he said, it was simple in its meaning. After talking for about a minute or so, he asked me, “How old are you?” I told him I was 24, to which he replied, “Ah, you’re not old enough to understand anything about politics. You don’t know how things used to be.” He later assumed that I was an Obama supporter just because I was, “a young guy”.

A young guy who apparently knows nothing about politics, despite studying it for four years at a university, and apparently meeting their standards to graduate with a full four year Bachelor’s Degree. You know, those things you can just print out online apparently that don’t mean a thing. It’s not like my parents and I will be paying a huge mountain of debt for something that mattered…my degree is merely for show. I actually have it framed next to my autographed Britney Spears photo, that’s how much it means to me. (/sarcasm)

Unfortunately, ageism is present in today’s society, and of course ageism is being touted as one of the reasons younger voters don’t like the McCain/Palin ticket, or any sort of Republican politics. To recap once more, here it is for those who don’t know the whole story. I’ve been brought up in a, mostly, politically neutral house. I have a diehard Republican grandfather who politically influenced me up until the point he became a bit of a bigot and raging alcoholic. I actually liked Bill O’Reilly during this phase, even going so far as to read “The No Spin Zone” book. I voted for George W. Bush in the last presidential election, and for a good part of my life I seemed like the second coming of Alex P. Keaton. At least, my mother would say as much. I canvassed and attended a rally for Doug Forrester, a not so lucky Republican political candidate for both Senator and Governor of New Jersey. I’ve even met, shook hands with, sat down with, had lunch with, and continue to revere Former Governor Tom Kean, a man who did so much for Drew University that it was sad to see him leave after 15 years.

Simply put, one of the very subjects that’s coursed through my veins my entire life is politics. So I think it’s total horseshit when someone tells me my opinion doesn’t matter because I’m “too young”. I don’t go around saying my grandfather’s opinion doesn’t matter because he’s a senior citizen Republican…I say it because 8 times out of 10 his opinion is slurred through a case of Dab. Just because I don’t agree with an opinion, doesn’t mean it’s not right; and I do not disagree with John McCain because he’s older. At least, not entirely, but the age argument does hold some water.

Simple math here: the older we get, the older our bodies and all the parts in them get. Older parts don’t work as well as younger parts, and older parts have the tendency to break down when not properly maintenanced. However, the older the parts get, the less reliable they become, even with proper maintenance. Sometimes, you just need new parts. The human brain, the center of all reason, logic, and perversion, is indeed a “part” of that machine that is the human body. It is also a “part” that has a rather nasty way of wearing out. Reason, logic, even simple recognition and speech, all are casualties of the brain breaking down as you get older. Things are harder to remember, interpret, or even comprehend. This isn’t the case with all persons, seeing as every body is different, but the odds increase the older you get. John McCain is the oldest person to seek, and possibly hold the office of the Presidency, and mathematically has the highest percentage of incapacity on the job…both mentally and physically. (You can thank Melanoma for that last bit.)

Now, with his mental and physical capacities in question, two things concern me:

1.) Senator McCain’s selection of Governor Sarah Palin goes against his major campaign platform of experience versus “stunt casting”. Only when the PUMA minority reared its ugly head, and Joe Biden was picked as a VP that could combat the “experience” factor, did Senator McCain pull his own stunt casting of Ms. Palin as the “great white hope” of the Republican party. Besides insulting women’s intelligence, and displaying hypocritical thinking, the Republican Party is banking that this will pull enough votes to their side to wash away the aftertaste of Bush 2.0.

However, Ms. Palin has not proven herself qualified enough to go head to head with heads of state (only left the country once, can see Russia from an Alaskan island), handle a national economy (left Wasilla in debt, when she left office; loves earmark spending), and is dead even on providing any “Republican Values” (tried to ban a book on Homosexuality, but her daughter violates her “Abstinence Only” policies). But, should Senator McCain be beaten by the odds against him, she’ll be the one left in charge of those very core tenets of the Presidency…she’ll be the one who’s the most trusted in such matters.

2.) Senator McCain has been known to have a little bit of a temper. Reports of almost striking a woman and actually pushing someone in a wheelchair aside, as well as a few choice words he had for his wife, don’t exactly scream “women’s rights” if you ask me. This temper is only increasingly backed up by the tone and message of his attack ads, which seem finished before the Obama/Biden ticket has even finished what they’re saying. It’s advertising in the DVR/YouTube age, which is funny considering almost anything McCain can throw at Obama is easily slain by the dragon known as The Internet…even if you’re lazy and rely on Google searches. McCain obviously can’t control his trigger finger…what happens when it’s resting on the Big Red Button. (Point of Advice: It’s not the “easy” button.)

Temper, and other emotions suppressed mentally, count on the brain to filter out the impulses from the actions that are actually thought out. Those too degrade as age wears on the mind, and once again mathematics dictates that McCain will be the president with the statistically least amount of control over those emotions. The man’s already shown inconsistencies in policy, shown himself remaining “on message” as the issues change (especially with our “solid” economy), and even began to sass back the media when the polite thing to do would be smile and nod, instead of claiming that Scarbourough Country took a “cheap shot” at you. Candidates are dealt with a lot of shit…it’s their job to smile and say, “Mmm” not “That was a cheap shot” or “My family is off limits”.

You know what, I’m sorry. I’m sorry about this whole post. I’m not qualified to criticize the McCain/Palin ticket, and I’m obviously not qualified enough to say that I support the Obama/Biden ticket because it seems like an obvious change of leadership from the past eight years. I only lived through 9/11, but I’m not old enough to truly understand what happened and how it was abused, so I’ll rescind my comments on that as well. In fact, I’ll pretend the last eight years never happened, and look at this as if it were Bush vs. Gore all over again, with “Big Bad Billy” in the White House…which is exactly the Republican playbook. Because when things have gone massively wrong on your watch, and everyone calls you on it, sometimes you have to bury your head in the sand to get some clear thinking into your days.

The thing is, I’m concerned about security. I’m concerned with how the rest of the world thinks of us, and I don’t want another 9/11 to happen, which is why I worry about a McCain presidency. If they can ease my worries somehow, and make me truly believe in them with truth, numbers, and general amiability, then I’d be all theirs…up until the point the Obama camp brought that and more to ease my woes, which would cause them to win me over again. I’ll close with a response, well more of a theory, to refute the “Obama has no ideas, he just likes to say ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ a lot” theory. Yes, he says those a lot, but frankly I like the notion that a leader would trust the nation enough not to ram too much rhetoric and opinion down the people’s throats. Yes, there’s a slight bit of lacking when it comes to saying what they’ll do in the White House, but isn’t that what we’re here for? Doesn’t the Government answer to us on a good day? So why don’t we tell them what we want, and let them pick up on that?

We’re being given a voice, America. We’re being given an opportunity to say, “Georgie, you’re doing a heckuva Job!”, or we can say, “Get the Fuck Out!”. That’s your personal choice, and I respect your right to make it. I’ll still argue it with numbers, facts, and words; but I still respect your vote is as useless as mine is when individually isolated. All I ask is you respect my right to make my choice, based on the information I come across, and my right to defend my choice from your obvious bias and preconceived notions. After all, that’s what this country was founded on…the refutation of bias and preconceived notions, in support of one’s own refutation of bias and preconceived notions. The only thing was, that “preconceived notion” was called “freedom”, and the Democratic “preconceived notions” are “hope” and “change”.

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