The breeze was cool and brisk when Koko and I went walking this morning — cool enough to prompt me to don a sweatshirt, brisk enough to send leaves scuttling across the rain-dampened road and a train of clouds hurtling across the sky, pink colliding with black, gray and white.
Mynahs feasted on fallen mangoes, squabbling even in the midst of plenty, and the sun rose so muted that I could gaze without blinking at its round goldness.
Ran into my neighbor Andy, who was a bit grimmer than his usual cheerful self, partly because his back hurt after two days of three-hour shifts at the Malama Mahaulepu and Sierra Club booths at this past weekend’s farm fair, but mostly because he foresees a Republican victory in November.
After all, he said, even after the big bump of the Democratic Convention, the latest polls show McCain and Obama even.
As Andy saw it, the GOP would make political hay out of Gustav, which is knocking their convention off course and already giving McCain the chance to say gagging stuff like: "Ahead of time, I want to thank all my fellow Republicans as we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."
Andy’s not the only one to draw the connection. As The Wall Street Journal notes in a summary of political analysis on the web: “It’s redemption for the Republican Party on the competence issue.”
Could it be possible that, as Andy said, “it’s gonna be another GOP year?”
Perhaps, unless some sort of scandal derails the McCain-Palin ticket. I found it interesting that the campaign today announced that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. But what’s really interesting is why they announced it (as if the fact could be hidden):
McCain officials said the news of the daughter's pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called "mud-slinging and lies" circulating on liberal blog sites.
[Here’s a follow up to that original liberal blog site post.]
According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May [the child was actually born April 18] to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.
If there’s anything to that rumor, I’m sure one of the ravenous sharks in the media pool will track it down, because the details would not be an easy thing to keep hidden, even (or especially) in a teeny, tiny town where Palin wields a lot of influence.
Scandals and rumors aside, the bigger issue is who will assume the presidency and thus have the power to influence the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court for the next eight years. And that could influence a woman's right to choose, environmental protection, privacy, corporate control and many other crucial issues.
As Andy said glumly, before we parted company: “You may as well just become a Republican. At least then you’d win once in a while.”
Or, you could take an entirely different approach. On Friday evening I was hanging around with several young men in their 20s and we got to talking about the election. They are among the disaffected who don't see the elections as offering any solutions.
“We’re pretty much just working for independence,” said one young Hawaiian who is active in the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation. “Those guys running got nothing to do with us.”
“The elections are just a fraud to make you think by standing in a voting booth for a few minutes you're making a difference,” said another. "And then they just go ahead and make any kine, do whatever they're gonna do anyway."
A third offered this suggestion for a bloodless revolution: “We should just stage a vote strike. Nobody votes, and all the guys in suits are left standing there going ‘ubbbbb.’ They won’t have any power; they couldn’t do anything. The system only keeps going because everybody buys into it.”
Whether you vote or not, if you’re displeased with the status quo, you can’t keep choosing from the same narrow options and expect anything different.
As Larry Geller notes on his blog, “Yes, there are alternatives to both mainstream TV and daily newspapers.” And then he goes on to list a few.
And yes, there are alternatives to the same tired political system of reds and blues, too.