Several times already on this blog I've said I would stop commenting on politics. And I'm about to say it again.
But not before I summarize my feelings and my beliefs.
I am British. I grew up in an England torn by the two-party system. You were either Conservative or Labour - and it was almost universally decided for you by your upbringing. Son or daughter of a factory or mine worker? You HAD to vote Labour. Son or daughter of a company executive? You HAD to vote Conservative. Yes, we had the Liberal Party but a vote for that was a wasted vote in my early voting years. But many of us wasted it with pleasure. What it's like now I have no idea because twenty years ago I moved to the USA and, as soon as I could, became a citizen.
America is truly a great country. Great because of the opportunities it offers, not always great in the decisions it makes - especially in the last eight years - and not always in agreement on personal issues like abortion or gay rights.
I think Leonard Cohen (a Canadian) said it best in his song Democracy...
"It's coming to America first, the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they've got the range and the machinery for change.
It's here they've got the spiritual thirst."
I have always believed that great people arise at the very moment history calls for them. Sir Winston Churchill was not a great leader of a peacetime England. As a wartime leader he was the absolute best person for the job. But that was a war that nobody ever doubted needed to be fought.
America needs a leader right now. We elected the Village Idiot. And have paid the price. We allowed a truly evil man to fundamentally change the role of the Vice President. And have paid the price.
Thousands and thousands have died because of these two men. And I don't just mean American troops. What about the innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan who were, just like you and me, trying to live happy and fruitful lives?
America needs a great person right now. Barack Obama is that person.
John McCain has made it clear that whatever he stood for in the past he is now the tool of the same "men in the shadows" (of whom I've written about before) and will maintain the same basic direction for this country as his devious, lying, arrogant predecessors if he is elected President.
His choice of a woman to be his VP who is so unsuited to be President as to be laughable if it weren't so terrifying is just the final proof of this man's lack of judgment and independent thinking. The governor of the State with the highest estimated untapped reserves of oil in all the US, who likes guns. No wonder it only took McCain two meetings in six months to pick her! He didn't. She was chosen for him and, with the Republican Party that has been reshaped by Bush and Cheney, we must always ask "By whom." But don't expect an answer.
There is going to be so much talk of politics in the coming few months that I truly don't feel the need to add my little opinion to the noise. So I won't.
But I hope with every fiber of my being that this country has the sense to elect Barack Obama.
I hope with every ounce of the British common sense my parents instilled in me that America realizes how close we have come to global disaster at the hands of Bush. And that McCain would be no better.
I hope with the passion of a child of the sixties that racial hatred can truly become just a sad part of America's past and play no role in her future.
I hope as someone who chose this country rather than simply being born here that the tired, old, bigoted attitudes of those who vote for a party no matter how damaged, irrelevant and perverted that party has become can finally be overcome.
America has kids who drive like life is a video game.
America has people who think as if all the learning of the past two hundred years never happened.
America has politicians who think it's about power not service.
These are Leonard Cohen's "worst."
Then there are the "best."
And right now, right when America needs him the most, the top of that list is Barack Obama.
There will never be the perfect President. But Obama is as close to perfect as we can ask for the job that needs to be done in the next four years (or hopefully eight.)
My wife and I are looking forward to voting in November.
When Barack said words to the effect of "Surely we can find a way to let hunters hunt while keeping AK47s out of the hands of criminals?" I cheered.
Maybe it takes a black President to not see things as black and white?
The major factor in the inaccuracy of the polls is the pollsters are not reaching a dominant sweet spot for Obama (Ages 18 – 25, cell phone users, students, online users, etc…)
I have no idea when they took this photograph. Probably at sunrise. Or the middle of winter. To see Bar Harbor, Maine this devoid of people must be wonderful. Right now it's packed wall to wall to water with TOURISTS - of the worst kind! And I'm one of them.
There's something quite sad about places that used to serve a purpose. Fishing. Seafaring of a broader nature. But now rely 100% on tourism.
As I prepare to take a couple of weeks away from everything...including blogging...here's a taste of what has happened to the music industry.
On the one hand it is fantastic that the indie scene - brought about by the sweeping changes that digital technology has brought to both the production and distribution of music - has enabled many more artists to get their work out there. But on the other it has spawned an entire industry that feeds off those artists.
Here's an "offer" sent to me by one of the reputable online A&R services I subscribe to. I won't mention which one because it's truly not their fault. They offer some very worthwhile opportunities but occasionally (well, a little too often to tell the truth) there are things like this mixed in:
"Licensing compensation will be $500 per track. Rights cover world in perpetuity, all media now known or hereinafter devised. "
The deal is to get one of your songs - or in this case my songs - featured in a TV show.
But if the offer is for one show why do they need to own the rights to that song for the whole world forever, for all media current and yet to be invented? And for just $500!
My fellow independent artists, beware. This is not a deal. This is theft.
If your songs are good they are valuable. If your songs are wanted they are valuable. If your songs fit what a TV show or movie is looking for they are valuable.
And if they don't meet any of these criteria they are still valuable - to you.
Leonard Cohen once said, "I never wanted to work for pay but I wanted to be paid for my work."
Remember that...and never sell the worldwide rights in perpetuity to a song for $500.
I spent this morning - wasted would be a better word - reading some of the comments people have posted in response to various political articles on cnn.com.
The inescapable conclusion is one of these:
1. Only the very worst of America bothers to post its opinions, so desperate for its fifteen seconds of fame (it used to be fifteen minutes but times have changed) that it happily demonstrates its inability to spell or to think at every opportunity.
2. This country is in deep shit.
I'm hoping...yes that hope word again...that it is the former. It is deeply worrying that in 2008 so many bigoted, naive, uneducated, narrow-minded, illogical opinions are still held so strongly by so many people. And it's sad that among these angry sentences the few sensible, balanced, rational opinions seem so bland. As Hollywood knows only too well, aggression is more compelling than calm correctness.
I guess the most fruitless exercise is to tell someone who's wrong that they're wrong. It simply cements the mindset of both parties (no pun intended).
Every time Obama rationally modifies his views on an issue he is derided as unreliable. When the truth is that being open minded is the absolute best quality we could ever ask for in a President.
Only an idiot keeps his view of the world fixed no matter how powerful the evidence that his view is wrong. We've had one idiot President. But many are already forgetting.