I watched the first hour of the “America Rocks the Vote” forum tonight for the democratic candidates. My first impression was quite like that of King Arthur in Peter David’s Knight Life (a novel in which King Arthur comes back to modern day New York and runs for mayor) — for each question asked, the candidates didn’t so much as answer the question as go on a diatribe of their own choosing, book-ending it with a sentence peripherally related to the question asked.
The first hour had many questions, naturally, on America’s place in the Iraq conflict (war? occupation? travesty?) There seemed to be two lines of thought. Some of the candidates (e.g. Kucinich, Sharpton, Edwards) thought that the US should pull out and turn control over the the UN forces, or at a minimum turn the civilian ruling body over to UN control. Mosely seems to want the US to at least get Iraq back to the shape it was in before we attacked before pulling out. I’m not sure that their stands are mutually exclusive. I’m not sure where I stand. I’m absolutely against the way Bush has been handling the situation (and most other international situations), but, hopefully, the bulk of the damage has been done. On the other hand, we have troops dying every day over there, and that needs to stop. In theory, the worst of the combat is supposed to be over, and yet there are still troops dying daily. Would the UN do better? I have a sinking feeling that they couldn’t do any worse…
Paging through the transcript of the event a bit, it looks like I left before things got good. After I left, they talked about sex education, gay rights, and who used marijuana.
I don’t think I can pick one of the candidates, yet. I do know that the democratic party is going to need to get a strong frontrunner, though, to unseat Bush. There are too many candidates to keep straight right now, and that’s not good for the party. I hate to say it, but I don’t think I could vote for Sharpton, simply because he’s a reverend — I don’t know that I can trust a reverend to continue to support the separation of church and state (though it’s not like Bush is doing that either…). And as much as I’d like to get behind my gender, I’m not sure this is the year to put a woman in office — we need to unseat an incumbent, and I’m not sure the American people (particularly the crusty old white men) are ready to put a woman in office (though I wish they were). I’m also worried about gay rights becoming an issue this election. I’m all for gay rights, but if it becomes a strong issue, it’s likely that left-leaning Christians may lean a bit to the right come election day. The mission needs to be: get Bush out of office, so the strongest candidate to do that needs to come to the forefront. Unfortunately, I think that means a crusty old white male.
Check out all the candidates here on CNN’s page.