Yes We Can(nabis)!…and other ballot-related matters…

5 Nov


Voters approve marijuana law change
By David Abel, Boston Globe Staff / November 5, 2008

Voters yesterday overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making getting caught with less than an ounce of pot punishable by a civil fine of $100. The change in the law means someone found carrying dozens of joints will no longer be reported to the state’s criminal history board.

With about 90 percent of the state’s precincts reporting last night, voters favored the Question 2 proposition 65 percent to 35 percent…


…also, I guess some guy named Obama won some big political thing…?

Okay, in all seriousness (all the seriousness drunken blogging can muster, anyhow), I’m almost embarrassed by how thrilled I am with Obama’s victory. I teared up at multiple points during his victory speech and celebrated loudly in the streets of Boston. His platform is far from ideal and there is no doubt that he’ll keep us throwing large hunks of carrion into the cage of the beast we call the military-industrial complex. Nonetheless, I am also certain that his victory represents a major shift in the right direction for this country and, by virtue of the massive power it wields, human civilization.

A few thoughts on the speech: I think it was smart of Obama to say “so…just because you elected someone who speaks as well as I do doesn’t mean that we’re no longer strapped to a chair, about to be force-fed a massive financial shitsandwich drizzled with military quagmire dressing.” (Okay, that was a paraphrase). It was disappointing that he didn’t mention the poor. It was somewhat unnerving when he echoed Martin Luther King Jr.’s mountaintop speech (“we as a people will get there.”) The climax was absolutely brilliant.

Disappointed Obama supporters

Left: One-time Obamaniac Sheikh Yassin contemplates joining the Green Party, Right: Obama's Marxist ex-supporters try to drown the sorrows of betrayal

Also, in case none of you noticed, not once in his victory speech did Obama praise Allah or declare the end of history. He didn’t even give a shout-out to Huey Newton! I suppose Obama has four years to make good on his promise of a homosexual dictatorship of the Muslim proletariat, but I, for one, don’t have high hopes *cough*.

As for McCain’s concession speech, there’s an extent to which I’d echo the applause he seems to have gotten across the board. It was a sober and respectful admission of defeat, and his efforts to calm down his angry supporters was commendable. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the first big chunk of his speech was, in the nicest language possible, saying “okay black people, you can have this one on affirmative action, I have no problem taking one for the team and losing for the good of improving race relations.” Maybe this is just me being cynical, and yes, I have an a priori dislike (of great intensity!) for the Republican party. I also have a hard time forgetting so quickly the nature of the campaign McCain was running until last night.  But all residual loathing aside, something about this speech left a bad taste in my mouth.

I’ve heard a number of people point out that while Obama’s supporters cheered mildly at the mention of John McCain, McCain’s supporters booed and jeered when he name-dropped our new President-elect. At first I chalked this difference up to the fact that Obama’s crowd was celebrating a historic victory, while McCain’s was writhing in the bitter aftermath of a severe trouncing. However, when the spirit of procrastination led me to revisit the nomination acceptance speeches given at the conventions last August, I noticed the same difference. More evidence that Republicans are, on the whole, an unsavory group of people.

Last comment: aside from California’s heartbreaking approval of a ban on gay marriage, the biggest disappointment of this election was this majorly unwise statement from Ralph Nader:
“To put it very simply, he is our first African-American president…and we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.”

 Nader’s use of the term “Uncle Tom” is extremely unfortunate for two reasons. The first is that it will be a permanent stain on his reputation; Nader and his supporters have spent eight years in exile from many progressive circles because of what happened in Florida in 2000. Now that progressives think their ideals have found salvation in Obama’s victory, Nader’s joy-killing observations regarding Obama’s centrism and professed support for so much of what the left stands against will easily be dismissed out of hand because, don’t you know?, he’s a racist! (or, at the very least, a bitter, mean-spirited old loser).  This clip was unbelievably painful to watch: 

The second reason is that the basic point he’s making is an important one, and if only phrased differently (and to different people, jesus) it could have helped incite some much needed post-election critical discussion about what Obama has promised, and what we must demand of him once he takes office. 

For those who are interested, you can read Nader’s open letter to Obama on the Nader-Gonzalez website.


5 Responses to “Yes We Can(nabis)!…and other ballot-related matters…”

  1. astrosa November 8, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    Yep, 100% agreed on the Nader bit. He will go down in public opinion as an embittered spoiler, when many couldn’t recite the basics of his views (which, for some cases, they might even agree with). I admire the honesty that his inability to play by the rules of standard political language betrays, but it has not served him – or the positions that he represents – well.

  2. Brian Hamilton November 9, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    It is unfortunate that Nader said what he said when and how he said it, but honestly, I’m more troubled by the interviewer’s response–especially because I expect it’s so representative. The response was, in effect, “How dare you mention anything related to the dark days of slavery! We’re past that, damnit, and you’re a sickening fool for even mentioning it.” He treated the whole argument like a shockingly vulgar word. If the interviewer had even taken the time to understand what it would mean for Obama to end up as an “Uncle Tom”–as a black man still painfully and dutifully beholden to the white CEOs who really call the shots–there might have been an actually substantive conversation to be had.

    I’m worried that, in the days ahead, it will become impertinent to mention racism at all. To talk about racism at all is to show a lack of respect for our new president, and the great heights our country achieved in electing him!

  3. Al-Kantabi November 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    update ur blog

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