Top 25 Things I’ve Learned From the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

I grew up loathing politics in my country of origin. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy and rampant corruption I heard and witnessed every day. Where I came from, politicians win elections by popularity, terrorizing, and pandering to the poor and uneducated. When they get to office, corruption is the norm. One person, one vote is a curse in a democratic yet less educated developing nation.

I’ve been jaded with politicians at an early age. I vowed to myself to never get into politics. I prefer to look for other ways to do service and make a difference. When I was young I remember looking up to the U.S. wondering how “enlightened” leaders in America play politics. Politicians there must be smart and corruption non-existent. I was wrong. We don’t understand a country until we live there.

One thing I like about the U.S. though is that it’s very easy to “tune out” politics if I want to. There are more distractions here: MTV, sports, business, travel, technology, Hollywood, shopping, and endless consumerism. So for the most part I’ve ignored U.S. politics and just focused on my work and on being a good citizen. But since the Iraq war and since I’ve become a U.S. citizen, I paid closer attention to what’s going on in Washington. Since then I’ve learned a lot of things, including U.S. history, details of the election process, the deep ideological differences between the two main political parties, the geopolitical role of U.S. as a nuclear superpower nation, and crucial issues such as economy, health care, education, and alternative energy.

But my interest in politics reached its peak with the on-going election. Here are the top 25 things I’ve learned so far from the 2008 U.S. presidential election, in no particular order.

  1. Democrats are spineless tree-huggers. Republicans are fear mongering war freaks. Independents are fence-sitting hecklers.
  2. Watching the election coverage on TV is a great practice on patience, tolerance, equanimity, and critical thinking. CNN tries to be objective. PBS is intelligent but boring. MSNBC has a bad case of Bush hatin’. FOX is a shit hole.
  3. Change, maverick, and truthfulness have lost their meanings.
  4. If you follow the election too closely you’ll get prophetic nightmares.
  5. Issues are secondary, worldviews and framing are primary. Pandering to the lowest common denominator is key strategy.
  6. The blogosphere is a web of political lies and conspiracy theories.
  7. is an indispensable resource to cut through the bull.
  8. Graduating as magna cum laude, serving as president of Harvard Law review, and being a U.S. Senator mean nothing. Describing yourself as a hockey mom and pitbull with lipstick is a winning strategy.
  9. Two memoirs + a bunch of geeks = Amazing Money Machine
  10. Ron Paul has bigger balls than Joe Lieberman.
  11. Bob Barr + Ralph Nader = None of the Above
  12. Community organizers are laughable. Fuck Thank you, Giuliani!
  13. People are idiots and politicians love to capitalize on this basic fact.
  14. Small town values, as opposed to worldcentric views, are more useful for governing the most powerful nation in the world.
  15. Watching the election campaign on TV makes you dumber. Following the election on the internet makes you smarter (assuming your home page is not pointed to the Huffington Post or the National Review).
  16. Democrats and Republicans stretch the truth, but GOP talking heads are pompous hypocrites. (Do some objective fact checking and get back to me.)
  17. Whoever was the Republican National Convention set designer is so fired.
  18. Real straight talkers: Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, Jesse Ventura. Ben Stein is asinine.
  19. Nobody wants to be associated with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, especially the Republican party. Now that’s “change” we can believe in.
  20. George W. Bush is probably shitting his pants already. Hurrah for Bugliosi!
  21. Brain-dead politics is America’s disease. Parody is the best medicine.
  22. I’m part of the demographic known as “nation of whiners.”
  23. I can tolerate Papa Bear O’Reilly but my patience is really tested with Sean Hannity.
  24. I have a hidden desire for dominatrix types.
  25. I’m a masochist for subjecting myself in the political freak show drivel. We are now in the era of electotainment.

I’m sure I’ll be learning more as we move closer to election day. But the more I learn about U.S. politics the more it strikes me that the political dynamics is not much different with politics in developing nations. Yes, U.S. politics is more sophisticated and complicated on the surface. But on a deeper level it is still plagued with corruption, deception, terrorizing, and hypocrisy. It’s the same shit wrapped differently, with astronomical sums of money. I find it kind of irritating and funny.

P.S. Objectivity is overrated. We’re all biased one way or the other. When all is said in done we make our decisions on a conscious and unconscious subjective level. In my view, the Republicans had lost it in this election. They no longer respect the intelligence of the voting public. They are using the “people are idiots” strategy. They have surrendered on the issues and resorted to soap opera and drama. That’s why I’m voting for Obama.

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