Friday, January 05, 2007

Putting my money where my mouth is...

Ok, it seems I will be voting for Barack Obama should he run for President in 2008.

"Uh, isn't that a little premature, Steve?"

No, not at all. There's a lot to like about Senator Obama. First, he's extremely well spoken. That counts for a lot with me. Our current President is a moron, but what's worse, he sounds like a moron. He may only be 'just stupid' but he comes off as far worse. Honestly, it hurts me to watch him attempt to speak. It causes me physical discomfort.

Yes, Obama is somewhat new to the political arena. But so was Bush. Obama has also worked with community groups helping the poor, as a civil rights attorney (graduated Harvard Law) as well as in the State legislature. Although he hasn't run a large business, all the ones Bush ran failed miserably, so it 's a zero sum game there.

He is a Christian, and is happy to talk about it. Normally that sets off some alarm sirens for me. But I read about his childhood and how his mother took him to several different churches when he was growing up. Muslim, Buddhist, Baptist & more. He was exposed to different faiths and I admire his mother for doing that. Eventually he became a Christian, but I can deal with that so long as he grasps the fundamental concept of separation of church and state.

But none of these facts is the reason I will vote for him. Some of you may have heard me wax political (rant) now and then and one oath I have sworn numerous times is that I would vote for the first Presidential candidate who freely admitted that he used drugs in his youth. Why do I place such importance on this seemingly trivial fact? Because it is a goddamn fact of life that young people these days (strike that throughout all recorded history) do some stupid things in their youth. You smoke, or binge drink or take too much of something. But eventually you wise up. You learn that there are consequences for doing stupid things. Hopefully you do it before the behavior becomes destructive to yourself or others around you.

But for some reason, we still cling to some strange Puritanical ideas. And because some poll says that the majority of Americans don't trust someone who's taken drugs, many politicians simply lie. Some will talk about their wild youth, but offer no specifics or will downplay their activities. Clinton pissed me off by copping out in a manner that was very lawyerly. "I tried it, but I didn't inhale. " Then why did you take the joint? C'mon! Go the distance. Even if you tried it and didn't like it, which is very possible. Just say, "I took a toke and coughed for the next 10 minutes, I nearly threw up I coughed so hard." That's what happened to me the first time I inhaled a joint. I damn near threw up. The truth shall set you free.

So when a young man like Obama comes out and freely admits he took drugs, that he did stupid things but learned from the experience and doesn't do them now he has proved to me that he has the strength of character to tell me the truth from the outset. He won't waste time and energy trying to cover up or 'spin' his actions. It's a small thing, but it counts for something to me.

So, would you trust a politician who admits to what many of us have done in our past? Comments welcome.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome to 2007

Last night I eschewed the larger parties and instead attended a very small get together at a friends house. It was very pleasant. I ate some wonderful Tai chicken and saffron rice, and then began the ritual drinking. It started with a very sweet Pear mead, followed by a less sweet (but very tasty) Italian Muscat, Chocolate Mint Bailey's Irish cream, some more mead, a brief interruption for some Welsh Scotch and then something else I can't remember clearly.

Of course all this was consumed in very modest quantities and with lots of munchies and some Pepsi One. We watched THE most disturbed South Park episode on my hosts ginormous big screen tv. And when midnight approached, we fired up the Internet and watched Saddam drop.

You heard me. Everbody's seen the big ball. Nothing new, but the shaky camera footage of a dictator being hanged? That's different. Now I could go into the many implications of this event. It's significance with relation to the war, the Iraqi judicial system and in the broader context of our society. But I won't. We sat and watched it like it was a train wreak, knowing what was going to happen, but unable to look away. Each of us, I am sure, took away something different.

I am not sad to see this guy go.

And now, we're officially done with 2006. I'm not sorry to see it go either. It was a good year business wise. But the quality of a year cannot be judged solely on its financial merits. I'm looking forward to 2007 with some optimism and hope. To all of you, I bid you Peace of Earth, and good will towards all. Because the other thing we're doing? Not workin so well.