11th Hour in TX and I’m still Undecided

It’s the eleventh hour — literally it’s 11:25pm — and I have no idea who I’m voting for in the primaries tomorrow. Ironically, it’s the first time my vote will actually mean anything here in Bushland. Across the room from me the television is on, and between Hillary commercials, Obama commercials, and Mike Huckabee commercials, I’ve counted 15 in the past hour. Crazy. At least I know I’m not voting for Huckabee in a million years. Here’s some of my tortured convoluted thinking on the other candidates, though:

  • Barack Obama. All of my facebook friends like Obama. A lot of people my age like Obama. My conservative Republican wife is even intrigued enough to consider voting for Obama, to the shock and dismay of her parents (she’s still mostly undecided as well, though, but for different reasons). Five years ago, I would have been absolutely crazy about Obama. But if I vote for him tomorrow, it will be reluctantly, and largely because of a few YouTube videos Lawrence Lessig made in support of Obama. But Obama’s stance on immigration (build a fence) doesn’t inspire me. And I can’t shake the vibe that he’s just another one of the “popular kids” from high school days who has little time, patience, or love for the nerdy kids.
  • Hillary Clinton. I don’t trust her. I don’t particularly like her. I don’t buy her “experience” argument. But she does seem to have a lot of support in the Latino community, and that means something to me. I asked one of my former students (who will probably vote for Hillary) why that is, and she said “because she’s had decades of reaching out to Latinos, while Obama just started, and the only Spanish he knows is “Si Se Puede.” Still, she represents everything that is the establishment, the status quo, the powers and principalities. And like Obama, her positions are not radical (not by my radical standards at least), and not impressive. She’s not “cool” like Obama, but she doesn’t exactly qualify as nerd material, either.
  • John McCain. I was crazy about the man who wielded a light-saber to the tune of the Imperial Death March at political rallies in 2004. I was floored with respect for his maverick stance on campaign finance reform, immigration reform, the environment (for a Republican, that is), and by his authentic bi-partisanship over the course of his Senate career. But where did that John McCain go? I can’t find him in 2008. And then there’s the issue of the war in Iraq. Honestly, if it weren’t for that, I’d be on board with McCain — but of all the issues, that’s a pretty gigantic pill to have to swallow. Still, he’s the only candidate I actually believe has the balls to go against the establishment, because he’s the only candidate who’s been doing it for the past two decades. Right up until he became the front-runner and ditched his inner nerd, that is.

It may sound like I’m ripping on all the candidates, but in truth this election is a dream: any of the three candidates — and by now we know it WILL be one of these three (sorry Mike Huckabee, go fly a kite) — would be progressive, a total change from the Bush administration, and I take great delight in the fact that all three signal the total collapse of the Evangelical stranglehold on the political system. Of course, none of that brings me any closer to figuring out what to do come ballot time tomorrow…

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