Friday, October 22, 2004

Lies, Politics, and Cheesecake

By: UnrepentantNewDealer

What a week! First off, allow me to indulge myself a self-congratulatory or even slightly self-centered moment: Happy Birthday to me! Today marks my 19th birthday. I guess it’s everything it’s cracked up to be—which is not much. After all, at 17, you can see a rated R movie; at 18, come the joys of the draft (check this link-- rumor probably isn't true, but this site is hilarious!), voting, smoking, and strip-clubs (can’t forget the strip clubs!). At 19, you get nothing. You still have to wait two long years to legally buy or consume alcohol—not that I’m really bummed out about that, but I do understand the basic unfairness argument: old enough to die for my country and vote for its leaders, but not mature enough to handle any beverage with more than 0.000% alcoholic content. Nope, 19 is nothing special, yet I’ve managed to type 155 words about it. Impressive at any age!

Moving right along: Due to my typical laziness, I declined to switch my voter registration to Mecklenburg County. So on Monday, utilizing early voting, I cast my first-ever vote in a presidential election (If you can’t guess who I voted for, you are waste of needed resources—no offense!). I used the electronic system so familiar to Guilford County voters (But no place to print out a receipt. How are election officials supposed to conduct recount then? Just a thought!). Somehow, hearing all the messages in the media about how important it is to vote made me feel as if, at the moment I cast my vote, a ray of light would shine down from heaven, and I would bask in the approving praise of God, or at least Ray Charles. Nope. Nothing of the sort. Worst of all, the polling place workers neglected to give me an “I Voted” sticker. Which of course, was the only reason I bothered to vote in the first place! I voted, and I didn’t even get a lousy sticker….

I suppose it could be worse. My girlfriend attempted to vote this week, too, only to be told by officials that her name had been flagged by the computer for some unknown reason, so she couldn’t vote on the computer, but could vote using a provisional ballot. That’s not what pisses me off. What pisses me off is the provisional ballot they gave her: a @#%*& punch-card ballot! MIT determined it to be the least reliable voting method used in America today, so of course it’s still in use in forward-looking North Carolina! Nothing wrong with it at all! At least my girlfriend was smart enough to punch all the holes cleanly through—unlike some Floridians we’re embarrassed to call fellow Americans!

Then, Tuesday night, out of the blue, I fell ill. Really ill. As in, I couldn’t keep any solid food down for more than 24 hours. Much longer and I could have died! (How did Gandhi do it?) The presumable culprit: a Burger King $1.49 Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. That I had sitting, unrefrigerated on my desk for 3 or 4 hours before eating it. D’oh! I know, I’m a dumbass, I don’t need anyone to point it out to me. I don’t think I’ll ever eat cheesecake again! At least not properly refrigerated.

This just in: Are Bush's supporters really that dumb? I'm sorry, I don't want to offend any of you, but follow this link ( to see what I mean. This is absolutely rediculous! Even the President doesn't claim such things! Turn off Fox News and join the rest of us in the "Reality-Based Community", for cryin' out loud!

And now, for your daily political rant: Lies (and the lying presidents who tell them). LBJ, Nixon, and Clinton all share one thing in common: they lied to the American people and were never held accountable. LBJ exaggerated the Tonkin Gulf Incident—a supposed unprovoked attack upon a U.S. naval ship by North Vietnamese forces in 1964—into a pretext for the Vietnam War. He later acknowledged, “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.” When Vietnam exploded in his face, he wisely chose not to run for reelection, in the process denying voters the chance to repudiate his lying ways.

Richard Nixon’s lies involved Watergate and are so well-known, they hardly need to be recounted here. The initial burglary took place before Nixon’s 1972 reelection and was intended to intimidate or embarrass his opponent. But the full story did not even start to come out in the press until the following year, when all the American people could have done to express their displeasure would have been to impeach him—which they were moving towards when, abandoned by his own party, Nixon wisely chose to resign.

In his second term, Bill Clinton had an affair with an intern and lied about it under oath, for which he was impeached by a witch-hunting Republican House but pardoned by a saner Senate which realized that his actions, while illegal, did not fit the Constitution’s definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

The question here is, would any of these presidents have stood a chance for reelection had they been able to, or chosen to in LBJ’s case? By 1968, LBJ was essentially a president without a party, not likely to be nominated even by the Democrats. If the full story of Watergate had come out in Nixon’s first term, he almost certainly wouldn’t have won reelection. His VP, Gerald Ford, who had nothing to do with Watergate, lost in 1976 due to guilt by association. If Clinton’s “Monicagate” scandal had erupted in his first term, rather than his second, it is doubtful he would have been reelected. Al Gore’s chances in 2000 were damaged a la Ford.

It should be obvious by now exactly where I am going with this. George W. Bush, unlike LBJ, Nixon, or Clinton, got caught red-handed in a number of lies in his attempt to drag our nation into a misguided and counterproductive war of choice in Iraq—he lied us into this war, because he could not lead us into it. Like LBJ’s lie, and completely unlike Nixon’s and Clinton’s, Bush’s lie has resulted in people dying—more than 1,100 Americans to date and more than 12,000 Iraqis. And Dubya’s duplicity was revealed in his first term. This may be the first chance American voters have ever had to vote against a president, knowing that he has lied to them, the first time voters have had the chance to rebuke a sitting president for lying to the American people. Michael Moore, ended his "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11, with one of Bush's greatest quotes: "There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again." But we all know what Bush meant to say, right? If we vote for a known serial liar on November 2, I hate to think what that whould say about our country. That we really don't care? Just some food for thought.