Palin’s Church vs. Obama’s Church

Well, well, well. John McCain may be the most progressive Republican Presidential candidate we’ve had for a very long time, but at the end of the day, he’s still a Republican. That means he has to tow the party line, which in turn means—very concerningly—that he has to pander to the religious right.

Hence his selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. She must seem like a dream come true for McCain: a woman to try and grab the Hillary vote, and an ultra-conservative, fundamentalist Christian to please the religious right. If there’s any disaffected Hillary voters reading this though, please be aware that her sex is probably about the only thing she has in common with Clinton. Like all good conservative Christians, she is anti-choice—Palin will do nothing to advance the rights of women in the US (if anything, she may even set them back). And even more worryingly, she is also a staunch creationist, who advocates the teaching of creationism alongside (although I’m sure she really wants it to actually be instead of) evolution in science class.

I am not going to get into a discussion on the merits or otherwise of teaching creationism in science class here, as I think that deserves a post to itself. I will say this though: it really saddens me that I have to criticise a US Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate for having these sorts of beliefs at all. In any other western democracy, anyone openly professing such beliefs would be unelectable. But in the US—a country which has the separation of church and state written into its constitution—they are actually sought after to please a key power block of the American voting public. This is very, very sad. It is also very deeply concerning, when somebody who believes in the rapture—and indeed looks forward to it—can have their finger on the button of one of the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world (an arsenal large enough to destroy the entire human race several times over).

Take a look at some of the comments she makes in the video above for example, where Palin speaks to fellow congregants of the Pentecostal church she grew up in, the Wasilla Assembly of God, just a few months ago. “Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [US soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she says. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” In addition to speaking of the Iraq war as a mission from God, she also invoked God’s support for a $30 billion gas pipeline she wants built in Alaska: “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that”. (She also wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling for oil and gas.)

Yet I’m sure her comments will attract far less media attention than those of the pastor of Barack Obama’s church, Jeremiah Wright. Okay, so he may have used some excessively strong language for dramatic effect (particularly his “God damn America” comments), but when you view them in the context of everything else he said, you realise he was actually just taking white America to task for its historical mistreatment of blacks. Surely his anger over this is understandable? Also, the speech in which he made his other most controversial comments (“America’s chickens are coming home to roost”)—where he is actually quoting (white) US Ambassador Peck quoting Malcolm X—all he is really doing is denouncing the endless cycle of violence that led to September 11 and the current war in Iraq, and which will lead to even more violence if we can’t break out of this endless spiral of revenge and payback. That does not make him “racist” on “un-American”—he simply wants the US to change its foreign policy, to bring about an end to the international conflicts it is involved with. Ultimately, he wants peace, while the conservatives want war. And that, I think, sums up the choice between McCain and Obama in this Presidential election—do you want war, or do you want peace?

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Hi Sachiko!

First, let me say that I think you are fantastic! You’re an intelligent, witty, beautiful and sexy woman and I absolutely love that! Regarding the religious vote in the US, it is very sad. It is an overlooked fact that in the founding documents of this country, the Framers insisted that there be no litmus test with regard to religion and that was the private business of individuals.

Obama is the lesser of two evils but I’m quite tired of voting that way. He approves of faith-based initiatives (because we really need to move closer to a theocracy?), continuing war in Afghanistan, eventually (someday? maybe? possibly?) ending the war in Iraq, and invading our privacy. Sorry, this is the Democratic candidate? Why not just vote for a Republican? His touted progressiveness is superficial and all his promises are the same that are trotted out by every other Democratic candidate before him. So why is he a symbol of change? Because he’s half black? Oh please! But I think a lot of people are making that connection.

Neither darker skin color nor the female gender make one progressive or open-minded as VP-candidate Sarah Palin, Condolezza Rice, Justice Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Ann Coulter, pretty much every ethnic minority or female on Fox News, among many others prove. I’d feel a little more confident in a Democratic candidate right now if it weren’t following eight years of capitulating to Republican demands and backing down on Impeachment proceedings. One President has an affair with an White House intern and he gets impeached in the House. Another President starts an illegal war, supercedes the Constitution to overextend his power and making null invoid the checks and balances in place and treating every American citizen like a terrorist in the rough. What do the Democrats do with their political majority? Nothing.

I am especially concerned about the whole faith-based initiatives promise. Courting evangelical voters will always be the downfall of any candidate “fronting” for them. They ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS demand their pound of flesh. And then some. One of the best dramatized examples of this is on Battlestar Galactica. The (female) President Laura Roslin courted the religious conservative vote on many issues and then an issue of abortion came up. Roslin is pro-choice but, in order to maintain power, she had to capitulate to their demands and outlaw abortion in the Fleet. This, in turn, lost her the election a few months later. Sure, that happened on a sci-fi show with an ancient Greek religious system but it’s based on current American politics.

No. I am not voting for McCain or Obama, but a third-party candidate. But I have to admire the fact that at least the Republicans tell us to our faces that we’re going to be screwed over. With the Democrats, they do the same thing and then when question on it nothing but “ums” and “well, see, what you don’t understands” and “it’s not the right time yets!”. Tired of it. Democrats started to lose me in 2000 and 2004 elections and finally lost me after Nancy Pelosi and the gang reneged on their impeachment promise. I wouldn’t be surprised if McCain wins simply because the Dems continue to chase voters away with their stupidity, while conveniently blaming third party candidates for “stealing” votes (that is, when they’re not claiming that entire elections were stolen). The large majority of undecided voters are usually registered Democrats, like myself, who are sick and tired of their lack of substance and so either vote third party or not at all. One day when the Democrats learn this and do something about it, they’ll get our votes back.

Keep up the good work, Sachiko!

~Aspasia

  
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Thanks for your comments and compliments Aspasia!

Originally Posted By Aspasia
I’d feel a little more confident in a Democratic candidate right now if it weren’t following eight years of capitulating to Republican demands and backing down on Impeachment proceedings. One President has an affair with an White House intern and he gets impeached in the House. Another President starts an illegal war, supercedes the Constitution to overextend his power and making null invoid the checks and balances in place and treating every American citizen like a terrorist in the rough. What do the Democrats do with their political majority? Nothing.

In that case, you may be interested to read this story:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/03/uselections2008.joebiden

At the end of the day – while I respect the idealism of your position – we will either have a Democrat or a Republican as president. While neither choice my be ideal, one choice is clearly far worse than the other, and I think your vote has to reflect that. Not voting Democrat means the Republicans have all the more chance of getting back into office, and continuing the crimes against humanity and the US consitution they’ve commited over the past eight years. At least Obama will end the right wing extremist, neo-con agenda of the current administration, and that is something very well worth voting for. And that will make it all the more possible to advance a more ideal agenda in the future.

  
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Sachiko,

As someone who has been down that road of voting for third parties (from 1968 to 1988), I can certainly understand the emotional attraction to that idea. However, especially in this election, the differences between the two main parties could not be clearer. McCain has already promised to put justices on the Supreme Court who will act to overturn Roe v. Wade. And, given his VP choice, as you so clearly describe in your post, we would be on the road to retrogression, not progressivism. Also, as a Vietnam veteran who came home to oppose our war while it was still being fought, I do not want someone in the White House who seems so willing to send young men and women off to the meat-grinder of an immoral and illegal war. From my perspective, this election will determine much about how we live in our own country and in the world.

We need have no illusions about Obama, but we must take him at his word and be willing to keep the pressure on him and his administration, from the bottom up, from the streets, if necessary. We already know what the Republicans will do in the face of such actions.

Joe

  
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OK, so I was posting crap on Tila Tequila’s blog. I do that sometimes. And she said.. well actually, how would I know, since I don’t read what she says anyways. But I looked at the title crooked and mis read it.

I miss-read it as “WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE OBAMA????”

She had said drama but I was not looking too carefully so I answered:

“beats me but I’ll reply here instead of down below so I can see what I wrote. I thought for a moment when I just glance at it that you said “Why do people like OBAMA!!!?” !!! Beats me!! He’s better than Clinton but she is doing something else now… HOPEFULLY!!! And there is nobody else running. Not even on the Republican side so people like him. Or maybe it is because he looks like Arsinio Hall. If he doesn’t win, will he host The Tonight Show? And one last thing… Who is that cute chic about two posts down???”

Actually, I saw his wife talk the day before Ms Clinton talked. She is really nice, so it is not surprising that he did not pick Ms Clinton as running mate. Opposites do not attract. They only tell you that so you will ask the wallflower at the party to dance. They do not actually attract in real life.

Don’t know who the gal two posts down was, but when I checked back, lots of people had a opinion and followed my lead and put it at the top instead of waitin thier turn and putting it at the bottom of the list.

Hey! No fair shoving!! But it works. You talk loudly and they might not hear you because they are not listenling to you but they will not hear the quiet one either. Besides it is only Tila’s page so it is ok.

Michael

  
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Otis R. Needleman

Otis R. Needleman’s avatar

Sachiko, frankly as a non-American your criticisms of Senator McCain and Governor Palin mean nothing. You neither live in the USA, apparently are not a US citizen, and so you cannot vote. For what it is worth, not being an Australian, I never comment on Australian elections or candidates.

This election was Obama’s to lose and he shall lose it. You might wonder why. Let me explain through an American’s eyes.

First, Obama’s patriotism is perceived by many as weak at best and non-existent at worst. In general, Americans like to think their President is the most patriotic person in the country, whether he/she actually is or not. This is not an issue with Senator McCain. As Michael Moore put it in a recent Rolling Stone article, “This isn’t Sweden. “War hero” always beats “community organizer”. Patriotism may be an outdated concept to you but it is VERY much alive in the USA.

Second, certain of Obama’s associates are highly distasteful to many Americans. You play down Jeremiah Wright’s cursing of America. Not living here, you likely don’t realize how many people were outraged by this man’s remarks, made in front of an apparently approving congregation. Obama’s association with William Ayers, former member of the terrorist group Weather Underground, are also found to be appalling by many Americans. And Michelle Obama’s statement that it took her forty-four years to be proud of America has gone over like a lead balloon with many Americans. To be sure, not all Senator McCain’s and Governor Palin’s associates are as pure as the driven snow, but they do not elicit the same level of anger as do Obama’s associates.

Lastly, many of Obama’s supporters cannot, do not, or will not vote, for various reasons. And I believe a number of Obama supporters, once alone with the ballot, will realize they just cannot vote for the man. Many McCain/Palin supporters, like me and most of my family, always vote.

American Presidential races are a 30-40-30 contest. Any major party Presidential candidate can be assured of 30% of the vote from the start – the party loyalists. The battle is for enough of the middle 40% to win, and it isn’t one big campaign, but millions of individual campaigns, voter by voter. Obama’s words and actions are doing just enough in just enough places to make John McCain our next President. It will be a close contest but, in the end, a win for the McCain/Palin ticket.

  
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Boy oh boy, I really hate it when people say it’s none of my business to comment on US politics, because I am not American! Re-read the last sentence of my third paragraph: the possibility that someone who believes in and looks forward to the rapture could become vice president or even president (if something happens to the aging McCain) – hence controlling enough nuclear weapons to destroy the human race several times over – is everybody’s business. Besides, the fact that the Republicans want to continue their illegal military actions – often dragging its allies like Australia along with them – is also very much the business of all the people of all of the countries involved.

I am aware that many were outraged by Jeremiah Wright’s criticisms of America, but his comments were taken out of context. The fact that many Americans remain blind to how much their military actions overseas are hurting themselves (leading to such terrible acts as Sepetember 11) as well as the rest of the world – while accusing critics of US foreign policy of being “anti-American” – is of grave concern to many people across the world, as well as many more enlightened Americans.

  
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Oh, and this is also a great example of why blind faith in God is such a bad thing for people, as it leads to blind faith in government – no matter how corrupt, immoral and illegal their actions may be. The US constitution was founded on the fundamental principle of being able to openly question the government, so doing this is neither unpatriotic nor “un-American”. Indeed, I would argue that those who challenge and question the policies and actions of the US government are the true patriots.

  
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Otis R. Needleman

Otis R. Needleman’s avatar

@Sachiko

Well, Sachiko, if you care that much about American politics, I suggest immigrating to the USA and becoming an American citizen. Then you can vote for your choices. Otherwise, you are just outside looking in, and your opinion is irrelevant.

Again, not being an American, you cannot understand the outrage brought on by Wright’s cursing of America. Apparently you believe “enlightened” Americans should just tolerate this man’s remarks. Guess again. Mighty few Americans will put up with anyone who curses our country.

You also seem concerned about Americans having control over nuclear weapons. You should be far more concerned about Islamic countries with nukes. Pakistan’s government is shaky and Iran is trying their best for nuclear weapons capability.

  
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@Otis R. Needleman

So you think only Americans are entitled to freedom of speech eh? Well I’m sorry, but Australia is a free country too, and the internet is the most democratic place of all. Unluckily for people who (like you) want to suppress the opinions of those who disagree with you, I can say anything I want here! Besides, I allow you to say whatever you want here, so why won’t you show me the same courtesy?

And I think more enlightened Americans should view Jeremiah Wright’s comments in the context of everything else he said, and realise he was just expressing understandable outrage at the treatment blacks have suffered at the hands of whites throughout the history of the US. It is you who does not understand the persecution his race has suffered (and to a lesser extent, other non-whites as well). That’s why his audience was so approving – because they too were black, they knew what he meant.

  
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Oh yes – it is of course very concerning that any country should have nuclear weapons, including the Islamic states (not to mention Israel as well, who unlike Iran already has them). Which is all the more reason why we should not be engaging in illegal invasions and occupations of their territory – otherwise the western world could be subject to far more devestating attacks than September 11.

It is telling that Bush was so happy to invade Iraq – on the supposed premise that they had weapons of mass destruction – yet he is scared to do anything about North Korea, because he knows they actually do have them! This is why Iran wants them too: to protect themselves from being invaded by the US. Hence, the best way to stop nuclear proliferation is to stop threatening these countries.

  
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If America aspires to provide some kind of moral leadership to the free world, it’s about time its voters grew up and started electing leaders worthy of the world’s respect. So far this century Americans have twice elected an idiot. Both Bush victories were pretty disgraceful, but the first was such a blatant exercise in corruption that nobody takes that stuff about spreading democracy very seriously. Sorry, Otis, us goldarn furriners will persist in having opinions.

  
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Otis R. Needleman

Otis R. Needleman’s avatar

@valdemar – Frankly, we Americans will choose our own leaders, thank you very much. Re the world’s “respect”..please.. LOL To tell you the truth, most Americans could care less about the world’s “respect”. Most Americans have little interest in the rest of the world except as it may affect them. Heck, I’d suggest most Americans would be happy to wake up one morning and learn that except for other Americans, not a soul existed outside the fifty States. Appalled? Probably, but Americans are just as appalled to be blamed for everything bad that happens anywhere in the world, for any reason. Tsunami? Blame the USA. Drought? Manufactured in the White House. And for what it’s worth, I have lived overseas and I do speak a foreign language. Respect runs both ways.

  
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Otis R. Needleman

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Originally Posted By SachikoOh yes – it is of course very concerning that any country should have nuclear weapons, including the Islamic states (not to mention Israel as well, who unlike Iran already has them). Which is all the more reason why we should not be engaging in illegal invasions and occupations of their territory – otherwise the western world could be subject to far more devestating attacks than September 11.

It is telling that Bush was so happy to invade Iraq – on the supposed premise that they had weapons of mass destruction – yet he is scared to do anything about North Korea, because he knows they actually do have them! This is why Iran wants them too: to protect themselves from being invaded by the US. Hence, the best way to stop nuclear proliferation is to stop threatening these countries.

Sachiko, I like to think you are rather naive, instead of uneducated. Iran’s leadership has threatened to destroy Israel on numerous occasions. Iran’s Islamic leadership would like to spread Islam by force of arms. Having nuclear weapons would threaten millions. Nuclear weapons on missiles could threaten billions. And Iran, a backer of terrorism, could well provide a nuclear device to terrorist groups. Maybe Iran’s missiles can’t reach Australia yet but what about a bomb brought to Sydney Harbor? There are no safe havens from terrorism. No, Iran has no business with nuclear weapons.

  
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Otis R. Needleman

Otis R. Needleman’s avatar

Originally Posted By Sachiko@Otis R. Needleman

So you think only Americans are entitled to freedom of speech eh? Well I’m sorry, but Australia is a free country too, and the internet is the most democratic place of all. Unluckily for people who (like you) want to suppress the opinions of those who disagree with you, I can say anything I want here! Besides, I allow you to say whatever you want here, so why won’t you show me the same courtesy?

And I think more enlightened Americans should view Jeremiah Wright’s comments in the context of everything else he said, and realise he was just expressing understandable outrage at the treatment blacks have suffered at the hands of whites throughout the history of the US. It is you who does not understand the persecution his race has suffered (and to a lesser extent, other non-whites as well). That’s why his audience was so approving – because they too were black, they knew what he meant.

It’s your blog. Say what you like. Doesn’t mean it is relevant.

As far as Wright’s comments go, someone who truly wants better race relations doesn’t go around cursing the country. His comments just play into the “black radical” stereotype. But from what I have seen, Wright made a pretty good living through his church, and has a nice retirement home, so I guess he found enough people to buy into his message of hatred. Being “enlightened” doesn’t mean subscribing to hatred.

  
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You really don’t get it, do you Otis? The rest of the world cannot ignore the US even if they wanted to. The US have elected themselves as “world police”, and nobody else has the military power to argue with them. The US has done many great things (e.g. the Marshall Plan) that are truly worthy of their position in world affairs. But illegal invasions and occupations of foreign territory are not becoming of a country that claims to represent peace and freedom, and this effects pretty much everyone right across the world. If you don’t want us to comment on your government, then you’re going to have to adopt a far less aggressive and destructive foreign policy than what you have now.

The fact that you say many Americans don’t care about the rest of the world (which sadly I think is true) only makes this far, far worse. If you’re going to be world police, then you have to care – you have to take responsibility for your actions overseas. You really should be listening to what the rest of the world thinks of your government’s foreign policy, or September 11 will just be the beginning – you simply cannot afford not to care what the rest of the world thinks of you.

  
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Originally Posted By Otis R. Needleman
Sachiko, I like to think you are rather naive, instead of uneducated. Iran’s leadership has threatened to destroy Israel on numerous occasions. Iran’s Islamic leadership would like to spread Islam by force of arms. Having nuclear weapons would threaten millions. Nuclear weapons on missiles could threaten billions. And Iran, a backer of terrorism, could well provide a nuclear device to terrorist groups. Maybe Iran’s missiles can’t reach Australia yet but what about a bomb brought to Sydney Harbor? There are no safe havens from terrorism. No, Iran has no business with nuclear weapons.

As I said, I do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons any more than you do. But you have to ask why they want them if you want to stop them. It is very obvious that they want them as a hedge against a US invasion (like North Korea). And yes, they do want to attack Israel, but that’s only because Israel insists on displacing thousands of Palestinians by illegally occupying their land. And the reason Iran needs nuclear weapons to do this is because Israel has the financial and military support of the US government, and nobody has the military power to fight the US – unless they have nukes. Hence the fact that they have to turn to terrorism and, in turn, ultimately nuclear weapons.

  
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Originally Posted By Otis R. Needleman
It’s your blog. Say what you like. Doesn’t mean it is relevant.

As far as Wright’s comments go, someone who truly wants better race relations doesn’t go around cursing the country. His comments just play into the “black radical” stereotype. But from what I have seen, Wright made a pretty good living through his church, and has a nice retirement home, so I guess he found enough people to buy into his message of hatred. Being “enlightened” doesn’t mean subscribing to hatred.

I think the fact that you’re putting so much effort into saying my comments are irrelevant shows just how relevant they actually are. :-) As for Jeremiah Wright, yes, his “God damn America” comments were excessive, but if you view them in context, you can see he was just getting swept up by the emotion of the moment, and his very understandable anger over the treatment of blacks in the US.

  
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Hi Sachiko, long time reader, first time poster! I like that there is finally a model who has more upstairs than just silicone (although they are quite nice, I’ll say ;) ). I’m actually a registered Republican who is a moderate conservative/libertarian, so you and I will probably disagree on many issues, but I look forward to some spirited debate in the future! First, though, I just have one fact check:

It is also very deeply concerning, when somebody who believes in the rapture – and indeed looks forward to it – can have their finger on the button of what is by far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world

The US does not have the world’s largest arsenal, and hasn’t for around 30 years. We currently have an active stockpile of 4075, and total of 5535. Compare that to Russia’s stockpile of 6681 active warheads. Here are a couple of links/sources:

^ a b c Norris, Robert S., and Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. nuclear forces, 2008″, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 64:1 (March/April 2008): 50-53

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1553598/Russia%27s-nuclear-capabilities.html

Our peak arsenal (32,193 in 1966) was only just two thirds the size of theirs as well (45,000 in 1987).

I know that this was only a sidebar to your blog, and the main topic was about McCain’s VP pic, but always be wary of your trips into hyperbole, you may find one day your entire arguement has grown roots there.

I will post again, with more to add.

  
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Hi Sagredo,

Thanks for your comments! I would be very interested to know if anybody else can confirm or deny this with an alternative source, although I can’t see any reason to doubt your source’s accuracy.

Of course, this doesn’t really make any difference to the substance of my argument (as it seems you already recognise), given that the US arsenal is still well and truly large enough to wipe us all out. But obviously, it’s always a good thing to get one’s facts straight, and I welcome any corrections!

  
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Alright, as there clearly is at least a question mark over whether the US has the largest active nuclear arsenal (and saying “by far” is almost certainly wrong), I’ve changed my wording to this:

It is also very deeply concerning, when somebody who believes in the rapture – and indeed looks forward to it – can have their finger on the button of one of the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world (an arsenal large enough to destroy the entire human race several times over).

I am quite certain this statement is factually correct, and it doesn’t change my argument one iota!

  
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I didn’t like one of the Democrats tactics to downplay Sarah Palin, even though I am against her political view.: They posted her nice sensuous photos on the internet as a way to defame her. They could have used other ways to defame her, not in this way for sure. I also don’t understand on why voters felt like her losing character by simply wearing a miniskirt and some sensual pics. Are American female politicians not allowed to wear even miniskirts? How Australia? Sachiko.

  
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Hi Anurag,

I strongly disagree with these sorts of tactics as well, and while Australia isn’t as bad as the US, I am very sorry to say that we do have this sort of thing (to a lesser degree) down here as well. It seems that politics is one profession which is still a very long way away from true gender equality.

  
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Oh, so I see. Looks like life is not so good for females to be a politicians. I am hopeful that there’re now countries in the world where female politicians can able to wear miniskirts and so on.

  
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Obama does indeed have some problems cropping up in regards to the “supporters” of his campaign. These problems are serious — just Google the name “LaRouche” with “Obama” and see what you can dig up. You don’t have to agree with many of Mr. LaRouche’s preferences to get a hint that certain people have plunked down heavy “investments” in this campaign — on both sides of the election ticket, for which they later intend to lay tribute, one way or another. Such tribute most certainly won’t promote the welfare of the common American worker/citizen (and neither would those current bail-out plans for Fannie and Freddie). So much for Dick Nixon’s now-historical benevolent references to a “silent majority”.

Gov. Palin strikes me as an exciting new development in the picture, but that’s strictly a subjective individual impression on my part, that may have developed as comic relief in radical defiance to the grim facts about this currently apparent General Election scenario. My vote might be “none of the above”, save that I might ask this Forum, and Sachiko especially, if there is any known restriction that should prevent people from writing in Hillary Clinton on the ballot, in spite of all that has come to pass? Or does “Freedom of Expression” no longer include write-ins of persons of choice on ballots?

  
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Here’s a great article about the culture warfare the conservative US media is whipping up in support of Sarah Palin.

@Alcove6409 – I guess you could write Hillary Clinton on your ballot form, but I don’t think it would be counted. ;-)

  
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