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2008 July Archive at Three Roads Blog
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Archive for July, 2008 Page 2 of 2



WALL-E

Idiocracy. Children of Men. Now WALL-E.

Is it me or are there more dystopian movies being made? Heck, even Disney is making them now.

Here’s Wikipedia’s plot summary of WALL-E. Note the none-too-subtle social commentary:

In the 2100s, the megacorporation Buy ‘n Large has assumed every economic service on Earth, including the government. Overrun by un-recycled waste, the planet eventually became so heavily polluted that it could no longer support life. In an attempt to keep humanity alive, Buy ‘n Large sponsored an exodus to space aboard hundreds of massive “Executive Starliners,” the largest of which is the Axiom. Thousands of adaptable robots known as WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class) were left behind to clean up the planet. However, seven hundred years later, only one WALL-E (Ben Burtt) remains operational. The planet is still covered in trash, arranged by WALL-E into neat towers. After centuries of living in micro-gravity, the humans aboard the Axiom have lost considerable bone and muscle mass, rendering them too obese and weak to stand or move without robotic assistance. Every task is now automated, including piloting the ship, which is handled by the autopilot AUTO (voiced by the program MacInTalk).

[Looking for Mike Judge in the credits ... ]

Apparently WALL-E is doing incredibly well at the box office—a mystery if there ever was one, since summer movies (well, movies in general) are usually more about temporary escape from social ills than satirical commentary on them. I suspect kids are dragging their unwitting parents to see the movie.

Obama

Disclaimer: the following post is my unfiltered opinion on matters political. Read it at your own risk.

I stand to the left of Obama on a lot of issues. So you’d think I would be troubled by his recent veer to the center.

Rejecting public financing; issuing wishy-washy statements on court rulings on gay marriage, capital punishment and guns; affirming Bush’s practice of allocating taxpayer money to religious charities; and airing uber-patriotic television ads—it has been quite a few weeks for Obama. The Economist referred to his recent behavior as “posturing, hedging and outright flip-flopping.”

Those things don’t bother me. They don’t because they make it clear that he is in it to win—and thank god for that, because I don’t think the country can afford—literally, figuratively, politically, militarily, diplomatically, environmentally, spiritually—a McCain presidency.

Obama is a pragmatist (that word has positive connotations for me). He knows that unwavering public commitment to every item on the progressive agenda will result in one thing: our country’s rapid movement away from every item on the progressive agenda.

NGOs, lobbyists, pundits and party apparatchiks derive strength from their strident adherence to a specific agenda. Candidates for president do not. When liberals ask Obama for total progressive purity, they essentially ask him to alienate 80-90 percent of the electorate. They ask him to lose.

I know what you’re saying—winning isn’t everything. But I would argue that this is a special case; it’s special for a number of reasons, but I’ll pick just two: the global climate and the U.S. Supreme Court. Both are inching toward the point of no return.

The Supreme Court: All of the liberal judges are, to be blunt, really, really old. Even crotchety Scalia is spry by comparison. And then there’s Thomas, Alito and Roberts, who have decades in front of them and seem to still exude a youthful extremism. If McCain is given the opportunity to replace any of the aging liberals on the bench, it could take half a century or more before the court regains a semblance of political moderation.

The Global Climate: We might be too late, but if we aren’t, it’s essential that we elect a president who believes in doing something about global climate change—not someone who merely uses the issue as a marketing tactic to differentiate himself from President Bush.

And then there’s the “Who is more likely to start another war in the Middle East?” test. We all know who fails that one.

Lest it be interpreted otherwise, please understand that I have a lot of positive reasons for supporting Obama, but above all of them, there is the fact that he is not John McCain.

I hold no personal animus toward McCain—just a strong conviction that he would be a terrible president.