Thursday, October 02, 2008

Whine, Slap!

This has been a lovely, beautiful autumn week here in St. Louis. The humidity is low, the sun is out, the air has a little bite, and finally, finally, the mosquitoes are gone. Days have been in the mid-60's and nights in the low-50's. Evening walks after dinner require a sweater but are otherwise perfect.

Just last week, the weather was still hot and muggy. And we've had the worst year for mosquitoes. It's a wonder I haven't had a car accident or gotten a ticket, as I've spent half the summer driving around swatting at miniature blood suckers in the van, swerving irregularly.

One day last week, Ada and I went outside for an hour to drag branches down to the curb. And despite being in the sunlight in a mown yard at noon, we both came in covered with bites. And poor, poor Ada has a significant reaction to mosquito bites. So I've been enjoying the last few days.

The other side of the season change, though, is the increase in political yard signs. News coverage is almost exclusively political. I came into this election cycle still a little burned and burned out from 2000 and 2004. So here it is October 2008 and I've already reached a boiling point.

There have been studies - objective studies - measuring media coverage of Republican and Democratic candidates, both quantity and favorability of coverage, and determined that the so-called liberal media bias is a myth, a rallying cry for the right. But it's what we're still hearing, along with blatant lies. Obama wants more abortions? Obama wants comprehensive sex ed for kindergartners? (I heard McCain actually defend this latter one on NPR's Morning Edition today!)

To set that part of the record straight . . .

On abortion, Obama opposes a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade. Also:
Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

(Note that the desired end of education about contraception and reducing unplanned pregnancies is to significantly decrease the number of abortions.)

And regarding the ridiculous sex ed claim:
Here's a cite from the conservative Christian CBN News: I must say that Romney's comments suggesting that Obama wants to teach sex education to kindergarteners is a little misleading. Because he didn't put in the proper context, many in the audience probably left thinking that Obama is ok with the condoms and cucumber approach.

[Obama's clarification] Now, I'll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean.

And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that's the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.

And from ABC News: Obama responded to the attack in 2004 by saying that he wants young children, including his own daughters, to know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching because he has family members and friends who suffered abuse at early ages.

On the other side there was that health care deregulation just like banking deregulation gaffe on McCain's part that Obama has used to attack him. While that's definitely what McCain said, it's probably not what he really meant. In context, he probably just meant buying medical insurance across state lines, not actual deregulation. I hope. It's hard to say, in the absence of a clear, strong response.

So, bah humbug. (In addition to being fall, it's apparently also Christmas shopping season.)

Is the level of discourse just going to get worse and worse every four years? Are we so stupid that we can't handle civilized, truthful discourse that comes in paragraphs rather than soundbites and rhyming slogans? Can we have Change?


RobMonroe said...

It's just been going on for so freaking long. Since we live in the heart of things, we've gotten daily coverage for more than two years. I'm ready for the decision to be made so that we can get moving on something. Anything!

Sarahlynn said...

Yeah, it's bad when you start imagining unrelated sex scandals, or perhaps an intriguing natural disaster where no one is hurt. Or could we maybe plan a trip to Mars?

Stushie said...

Sarahlynn, both sides are guilty of lies. That's why a lot of people don't trust politicians.

Sarahlynn said...

Stushie, neither is blameless and I gave examples of both, above. However, I've seen a lot more lying and low-discourse this time around from the "Straight Talk Express" folks (witness the tone of the first debate with Obama's regular praise of his opponent compared with McCain's repeated insults).

If you have counter-examples, please feel free to share!

But it seems to me that most of the ugliness thrown at the Republican candidates is coming from unrelated anti-McCain third parties, not the campaigns themselves - nor people who have close ties to the campaign.