THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thrillville Endorses (And Thanks) President Barack Obama

I haven't posted about politics much, if at all, in this particular forum, instead focusing on my creative interests and pursuits, while reserving my liberal-leaning rants for my Facebook page, where I can actually interact with readers. But the upcoming election is so crucial in my view, as much or so more than the 2008 contest, that I feel conscientiously compelled to make my voice and views regarding this subject heard and seen on any and every platform I can claim as my own. I have no desire to change anyone else's opinion. My attitude is every adult citizen is free and able to look at the same issues on the same table I'm seeing, and make their own decisions based on their own unique perspectives and experiences. But I also equate silence with acquiescence. As an artist and as a human being, I am very much opposed to the extreme right wing agenda of today's Republican party, and this election will decide whether they regain power. This is not a fight with any sidelines. We're all in this together, like it or not, and the outcome will affect everyone. Maybe not equally, but that's exactly my point.


Here's the deal: I'm a straight, middle-aged white dude with health insurance. I will be relatively fine no matter who wins this election. But my vote is not all about me. Nor should it be in a truly compassionate culture. From my POV, this election is all about the uninsured, the disenfranchised, the weak, the sick, the poor. It's about women retaining control over their own bodies, and gay people being free to marry whom they choose. My vote is for my fellow Americans who weren't born with my built-in societal advantages. My belief is that a true democracy - which is a healthy mix of socialism and capitalism -  thrives when we all exercise social as well as personal responsibility, when we collectively demand fairness and justice for all, regardless of sex, color, cast, creed, sex, or sexual preference, and irrespective of religious beliefs or cultural bias. As a spiritually inclined but open-minded person, I strongly advocate the separation of Church and State, meaning freedom from as well as of religion, and I passionately resent and resist those who blur those Constitutional lines to further their own political agendas, who pompously preach moral superiority, enforce doctrine-based legislation, or promote a plutocratic theocracy that oppresses and punishes free-thinking people and the lower classes. That is not "patriotism." That's not even American. Or Christian. It's fascism wrapped in a flag, straight up and simple. That is the tragic irony.

I should point out that I am not registered with either party, and haven't been since 2004, when I quit the Democrats because of the establishment's shameful treatment of Howard Dean. Plus they too often waffle and pussy out per polls rather than take strong stands for their core beliefs, as those on the right always do, no matter how ruthless or cold-blooded their positions may be. I am an independent voter, but also a "pragmatic progressive." I am resigned to the perception that the White House is, has long been, and shall remain a  corporate subsidiary of the Military Industrial Complex, and that any duly elected president is automatically corrupted once they assume office, if not long before. But I also believe positive change in a complex culture can still be achieved incrementally, and it does matter who is actually sitting in the Oval Office at any given time, even if his (or her) position is largely emblematic. No human being that achieves such relative power is immune to the insidious influences running the show from behind the scenes of polite society. Any candidate can make any promises they think voters want to hear on the campaign trail (especially those who know they have no chance of actually winning), but all bets are off once that person actually assumes office. Don't take my word for it. History speaks for itself. Again, and again, and again...

I have no interest in idly sitting by and watching the nation repeat the many mistakes of the Bush-Cheney era. The Republican party's argument against Obama seems to be, "Thanks for cleaning up our big mess, boy, but you didn't do it quick enough, but enough that we can eventually take all the credit, so we'll take it from here, now beat it." If the electorate buys into that bullshit, it will burn a shameful hole into our nation's soul. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan represent everything I can't stand about both politics and humanity - rich, soulless bigots shamelessly pandering to the extreme right while denigrating what's left of the left, and outright lying to the middle. The 2012 GOP platform is mostly about restricting individual liberties, not expanding them. Don't believe me? Read it. They callously calculate and exploit common human foibles like fear and greed in order to trick the working class into voting against their own interests, while only advancing and strengthening the power of the wealthy and privileged.  It's painfully obvious. If you just open your eyes and look.

"MARRY. REPRODUCE. CONFORM. CONSUME. OBEY. MONEY IS YOUR GOD..."
 Put on your sunglasses and see the Truth.

For all these reasons, and more, I am once again proudly casting my ballot in 2012 for the first Tiki President, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA. Whether he wins or loses, we will both continue fighting for the same general principals of cultural fairness and basic human decency. The historic legislative achievements of his first term, despite unprecedented and unwarranted opposition from an increasingly insane ideological party, will enduringly resonate in our society, for decades to come, unless the right wing hypocrites make good on their promises and undo all of his progress, just to score political points with their bloodthirsty base. I'm talking about the passage of healthcare reform, flawed due to compromise, but a significant building block that will still directly save millions of lives. I'm talking about the early passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. I'm talking about the overturning of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the president's vocal advocacy for marriage equality. I'm talking about almost single-handedly saving the entire American auto industry and slowly but steadily steering the economy away from the fatal brink of another (and quite possibly even greater) Depression. I'm talking about taking out Bin Laden, which, had it happened during Bush's watch, would be the other side's single biggest argument in favor of re-election. But it didn't.

Obama often stood up for progressive values and risked his presidency in the process. It may turn out his many bold moves to aid the fringe dwellers of our fractured society may indeed cost him a second term, since he may have inadvertently alienated many of the myopic masses in the muddled middle, too impatient, imbecilic or impervious to appreciate true change for the sake of the greater good. Hopefully, Obama's legacy will outlive all this mindless hatred and entrenched opposition to lasting social progress. 

I sum it up like this: A vote for Romney is also a vote for the birthers, the Tea Party, Citizens United, the Koch Brothers, Trump, Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, Fox News and many other people and organizations whose viewpoints and philosophies are the very antithesis of who I am and aspire to be as a person and as a citizen. A vote for Obama, to me, is a vote to continue insuring those with pre-existing conditions, a vote for free access to contraception, a vote for a woman's right to choose, a vote for a homosexual's right to marry, a vote for a worker's right to organize, a vote for freedom for all, to pursue their own happiness and follow their own dreams. Dig?

This Halloween season is unusually scary. Still, I'll take the one on the Left.
Which is My Right.
I am not only voting for Obama, though. I am also voting against his opponent. Here's why: I've seen and heard enough of Mitt Romney to know that I personally will never have any respect for him as a man, much less as a president. If the majority of America chooses this soulless, spineless, heartless charlatan who shamelessly panders to the most extreme elements of his own party while reversing all his previous positions on a dime to appear magically moderate to the muddled middle, who will say and anything to anyone simply to assume the world's highest office and grab power via a hostile takeover, then you can have him. But count me out. This conveniently conservative cold-blooded career-climbing corporate clown will never fool this pulp writin' B movie lounge lizard.

I "severely" reject this corporate clown and everything he stands for.

But again, I'm also voting for Obama.

Speaking strictly for myself, I am far better off than I was four years ago. The Parkway Speakeasy Theater suddenly and unceremoniously closed two months after Obama was sworn in, and I abruptly lost my 12 year career as a film programmer. Now, during the final months of Obama's first (and hopefully not only) term, the local public is about to embrace The New Parkway, for which I am already subcontracted as publicist/special events consultant, and I am now making a decent living in my chosen profession as a writer, for the first time in my entire life. In fact, during Obama's presidency, I've gone from being underemployed to over-employed. Perhaps that's a coincidence. But this definitely isn't: due directly to Obamacare, my sister-in-law, and many like her, now have health insurance. That matters to me.

Plus I'm not daily embarrassed every time the POTUS opens his mouth in public, a sad state I endured and became accustomed to throughout the eight years prior to Obama's presidency. I really don't want to go back there.

So for all that and more, thank you, Mr. President. You're far from perfect, but you're also far from the arrogant, apathetic asshole alternative we're facing as a nation at a critical crossroads in our collective culture. You have my vote. Now RISE to the occasion. Cheers.

The Dark Knight, broken but resolute, must rise and defeat Bain, or all Hope is lost.