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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: Obambastic: time for change?

Published: September 12, 2008
Section: Opinions

It seems safe to say that many Brandeis students are going to vote for Barack Obama in this upcoming election. Many people actively supported his campaign throughout the primary season and numerous students are now engaged in promoting his candidacy today. I keep hearing phrases like “Brandeis united for change” or “got change?” around campus, and know that all of these statements are aimed to promote Obama. I, however, will certainly not vote for Barack Obama this Fall. In fact, I have never in my short life been so disgusted with the campaign of a Presidential candidate. Many blindly pursue Obama as they heed the call of several ambiguous messages. Numerous people are not fully aware of his entire platform and many do not judge his fitness as a candidate based on the right prerequisites. Furthermore, a deeper look at Obama as a candidate will reveal that he is not the right person for the job. His inexperience and stance on many issues, for instance, are somewhat dangerous for the country as we enter these next formidable years. John McCain is certainly the better choice of the candidates. As the Henry Clay of our generation, McCain has showed time and again his patriotism and competency in politics. It would be a shame if he wasn’t elected, especially since many dismiss him offhand due to superficial and irrelevant characteristics.

I am disgusted with the popular response received by the Obama campaign. His almost propagandistic efforts even remind me of the tactics used by fascists in order to take power. People have been passionately following the influential sayings of a charismatic demagogue. Many have been repeating extremely mindless phrases and instead of shouting “heil” they shout “change!” Standing in the Shapiro Atrium during a viewing of Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention only reinforced this notion. The thunderous response, people waiting on bated breath. All in all, the site resembled a fascist political rally. It seems that Obama is not trying to reach voters by intellectual pursuit, but is rather relying on simplistic but effective mind tactics. Change this, change that. As Frank Golub ‘10 said during his Student Union Presidential campaign “change so real you can put it in a washing machine.” I am disgusted and saddened by the mindless adherence of many Obama supporters as they follow him without any deep justification. Obama is a “change-monger” and this strategy is just as dangerous and disgusting as using the visceral emotions of fear and hate to win an election. In fact, it is perhaps more hazardous, as many are oblivious to this mindless cult of personality adhering to the Obama camp.

People seem to like Obama for other equally absurd reasons. When I was teaching politics through Americorps two summers ago I asked my students who they would vote for in the upcoming election. They were all junior high school students who were almost entirely African-American. Every one of them answered Obama. When I asked why, the response I got was “because he’s Black.” Of course these students were just kids, but many are truly voting for Obama simply because of his physical characteristics. People say he’s young, Black, good looking, and this has influenced their vote. How despicable! One should never vote for someone on the basis of how they look aesthetically, judge someone on the color of their skin, select someone because of their handsome appearance. One’s views, dedication, and other characteristics should be the only deciding factors. I once heard that some African countries use symbols to represent parties at the ballot box because many are illiterate. Instead of a platform, the image of a fish or a knife represents a political party. This is how low some in our country have come. They disgustingly rely on outward appearances rather than inner conviction to make their decision and are no better than the people using superficial symbols to cast their votes.

Furthermore, for many reasons, I do not find Barack Obama to be the better candidate when analyzing his attributes from a deeper perspective. He has very little experience in the national political realm as he has only served in the Senate for a number of years I can count on one hand. He also seems weak on foreign policy in a time when we cannot become isolationist. The biggest issue I have with him regards his domestic initiatives. Obama wants to increase taxes, establish new entitlement programs and otherwise blossom the presence of the government. In a way he wants to bring our country closer to socialism, a move that makes me apoplectic.

McCain on the other hand has all the right traits to become an excellent President. He has served in Congress for dozens of years and has truly learned the ins and outs of Washington. While Obama spent most of his Senate term running for President and not initiating valuable bills (I challenge you to name one important law he helped create), McCain has been the sponsor of many important pieces of legislation such as the McCain-Feingold Act. In addition, McCain promises to be tough on our enemies and this is the stance we need to take as we approach the next four years. Domestically, he also supports conservative values such as small government and lower taxes, which lifts a heavy burden off of many ordinary Americans. Importantly for me, John McCain has truly served our wonderful country. His tour in Vietnam and his heroic ordeal as a prisoner of war are inspiring. His service in the Senate has truly earned him a place in history. For all these reasons and more, I can’t wait to mark him on my absentee ballet as soon as Bergen County, New Jersey sends it to me.

Obama may be sexy, he may use persuasive tactics, and he may appeal to your desperate desire for change. But I urge you all to step back from the propaganda, lift yourself free from the popular tide and deeply analyze the candidates in this upcoming election. I hope then you will see that Obama is full of smoke and mirrors, laden with shallow promises and superficial slogans. I also think that you will see the value of McCain, a true patriot and the man who can adroitly manage this country for the next four years. Change for the sake of change is wrong. Blindly voting based on superficial attributes is foolhardy. I hope that your Brandeis education can make you aware of the propaganda, and cast a fully informed and uninfluenced vote on your own, preferably for McCain!