life as understood

by jeff carr, master of the arts, -------------------------------------------------------------------------- presumably from a couch


help me vote correctly

courtesy of Jeff |

I don't know who to vote for. There, I admit it. I, me, who am supposed to be a brash, opinionated politicophile who has watched every debate and followed every news brief for the last few months, and when it comes down to it, I still don't know. I need to know, because the TSC does voting early, so today or tomorrow are my options, assuming I don't want to stand in line for literally two hours on Election Day itself. I might have to, though. Here's my thinking. I've been more or less for McCain all along, even though I greatly respect both candidates and think each of them could do well. But I'm somewhat of a conservative largely because I'm somewhat of a realist. And let's face it, a McCain administration is going to run into a lot more obstinacy from Congress, the American people, the media, and our allies abroad, simply because of his party in this ever left-leaning climate. Obama, therefore, might actually be able to get more done. Obviously, his rallying and fundraising ability has been incredible, and that's going on virtually no experience. If he can garner that sort of support for our nation and thereby unify us and increase our standing abroad and respect for the government at home, that's something I want to be a part of. So what now? I believe McCain is an incredible man, I LOVE many of his ideas, and I think overall, he could be one of the best presidents we've had in a long time. But, if he doesn't get much done, and if he's fought and dismembered on his every attempt at governing, maybe we need someone that won't face those sorts of obstacles. So, any thoughts? I turn to you, my dearest friends and family, for support in these troubled times. Please help me vote correctly.

Certainly what this decision represents for me is not a decision between two parties or even two men, but two separate ideals: idealism and realism. The title phrase voting "correctly" is actually more appropriate than perhaps it seems, because I aim to vote based upon set ideals that are important to me. If I succeed, then it's correct. Such a decision, of course, a person may only make for himself, but I still need help.

Another interesting factor is the discussion of urgency. If I believe that McCain is the right man to bring about the sort of change necessary right now, but that reactions to his administration will mire the GOP, and perhaps the presidency, in demobilizing cynicism and backbiting, perhaps my generally conservative ideals would actually be better preserved in the long run with Obama, simply because he will restore the respect to the office necessary to effect real change in the future, perhaps even by conservatives. So here's another question: do I vote for instant help, or extended relief? Obviously, the very idea of conservatism lies within gradual, steady change, so do I vote for a liberal candidate to bring that about in the long run?

The question of idealism vs. realism is so convoluted in this issue, and each absolute could represent each candidate so many times over, even within my own set of values, that I suppose it loses all validity as a basis for my decision.

Perhaps I should just vote on hair, or hotness of wife (or VP) or something. I will now open up the floor to input along those lines as well, but only if all else fails. It seems that I won't figure anything out by today, so consider this note open until the 4th.



courtesy of Jeff |

If the family blogging has indeed become a spousal competition, surely I am losing. I blog tonight by virtue of a recurring illness that has strapped me to the couch for the entire day. I've definitely never had as many health things come up in my life as in this past five months of marriage, in which I've been uninsured. Hopefully that state will be resolved very soon. This particular illness is probably a function of having my stomach explode following our Homecoming loss to Fresno State yesterday, in which we were beaten at the literal last second on a mind-blowing 57-yard field goal. This, after the kicker had missed an approximately 21-yarder earlier in the game.
I'm in a one-credit Honors course on preparing grad school applications, and it's actually been my second-most demanding actual course this semester. The necessity to infuse my essays with some sort of academic direction has forced me to actually figure it out, and at least for the time being, I know what I want to do. I'm currently looking into PhD programs in literature, especially with emphasis opportunities in creative writing. California schools top my list right now, but nowhere is out of the question. I've submitted my proposal to the Honors office for my big, final senior thesis, which will be on the ideological threads and fears running through a few seminal works of 20th century dystopian literature, and assessing how far we've come today in dealing with those same issues. This sort of study of political and social ideological trends through literature is what I would like to spend my career doing, as far as I can tell right now.
This new direction of mine, or rather, clarified direction, is being greatly augmented by the first-most demanding course this semester- Studies in Prose, in which we are studying Don Quixote in depth, its position as the first novel, birth of realist literature, convoluting of history and fiction, reality and representation. It is without a doubt the most interesting course I've ever taken, and one that totally restores confidence in my decision to be an English major. The course is taught by a Dr. McCuskey, who is notorious in the department for his excellence in thought and teaching, but whose classes I've been unfortunately unable to take until now. I'm working on an independent research project with him right now, in which we're reading Crime and Punishment together and assessing Don Quixote's influences on Dostoyevsky's early career before he wrote The Idiot, which is entirely based on Quixote. We've also discussed our share of sports.
I've fallen in love with working with Dr. McCuskey, who looks to me a little like Dr. Cox from "Scrubs", which character, of course, is the protagonist's mentor. My friend Vienna says he looks like Hercules. Sarah surmises that we each view him the way we want to, which actually follows right down Cervantes's line of thinking, where outward, subjective representations of reality are all we as humans have to truly understand people. So, good job, babe.
Wow, look how nerdy I am. Also, Steve, Brandon, and I are currently enrolled in a hockey class, which we enjoy twice a week in nearly-full pads. We're getting a ton better, and I'd say I could actually be considered a decent skater now. It's a hard game to get down, but so, so much fun.
Sarah and I are heading down to Vegas at the end of the week, so I can present a monologue at the National Peer Tutoring Conference, along with a couple of friends and colleagues. The school is paying for most everything, so it should be a great weekend, despite the lameness of said conference.
The Homecoming dance was fun, and for further details, I urge readers to reference my foe Sarah's blog. Suffice it to say I am now a true Aggie. Score. Don't tell anyone it took me until senior year.