Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happenings: McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden?, Part I

Someone once said that if everyone in Santa Clarita stood outside naked, we’d be seen from space as a saggy, overweight pale spot that sunburned quickly. Despite appearing homogeneous, though, we’re actually a very diverse citizenry. Santa Clarita has both men AND women. There are white AND Hispanic people. We even have young AND old people in SCV. Admit it: Santa Clarita is a bastion of diversity.

“Behold,” spoke the demographer, “It is Clarita, land of diversity!”[1]

With all of these differences, how could we possibly agree on anything? This brings us to a most timely and critical question: Now that we know the complete Democrat and Republican presidential tickets, for whom shall the various and sundry peoples of Clarita vote? Which pair best represents Santa Clarita as a whole, Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin?

Luckily, us Claritans do have some common values, and we can pick the ticket that best supports these. First, we like to make far more money than the rest of the United States, and our homes are worth three-times more than the national average. Even our City government is financially savvy and supports local programs while staying out of the red.

So we make 50% more income but spend 300% more on homes than most Americans. Yeah, that seems about right.

Our ability to stay solvent during tough financial times, however, means we have very little in common with either Republicans or Democrats. Happily, there are other things that unite us. Let's look at them and decide whether McCain and Palin or Obama and Biden agree with our core values on the issues that matter. In this first of three installments, we look at: kids, charity dinners, religion, and public transportation. Coverage of cigar smoking; beauty pageants; golf; Noyaca, lake monster of Bridgeport; lawn-care; plastic surgery; and frozen yogurt shops will come in later weeks.


Clarita Says: Yes please! Kids are fun to dress in designer clothes, and we can send them on High School Musical 14 auditions or just brag to our friends about how impossibly gifted they are. We even celebrated a "Day for Kids"[2]!

Obama-Biden: 2 Obama kids + 4 Biden kids = 6 total progeny

McCain-Palin: 7 McCain kids + 5 Palin kids[3] = 12 total progeny

Verdict: It's 6 vs. 12, which means McCain and Palin love children precisely twice as much as Obama and Biden. Palin has raised a family that values kids so much, in fact, that her 17-year old daughter is having one of her own. Awww, I hope it's named something better than Track or Trig. This round goes to the Republicans.
D: 0 R: 1


Clarita Says: 19thC Kansas had barn raisings. Victorian England had formal balls[4]. Santa Clarita has charity dinner-gala-events. They are the social occasions that allow our power players to mingle and keep our community a cohesive whole. We expect a presidential candidate to have enough social graces to get by at such an event should we ever bother to invite him to one.

Obama-Biden: The Obamas gave $60K to charity in 2006. It is unclear how much was donated over meals featuring Berkshire pork chops with pomegranate reduction and anise-scented quinoa, but not bad.

McCain-Palin: McCain has his own foundation and it gives away far more money, but a lot of the funds go to his kids' schools and the like. A Google image search also yielded photographic evidence that he and the Mrs. attended at least one charity dinner.

The Verdict: This one's close, so I think we should compare the potential Veeps. With regard to Sarah Palin, remember that the Claritan female likes to get dressed up sometimes and eat fancy, catered cuisine. A charity dinner in Palin's Alaska, however, would more likely involve flannel and a menu of you-shoot-it-we'll-grill-it. Biden, on the other hand, is the poor man of the Senate. He's the sort who would show up to charity dinners, make the minimum suggested donation, and bring zipper-bags to take the leftovers. Thus, I award no points this round.
D: 0 R: 1


Clarita Says: We recognize and endorse three brands of religion: Mormonism, Catholicisim, and various flavors of Protestantism, especially the derivative "non-denominational Christianty."
Obama-Biden: Obama spent years marinating in sermons given by a racist, hate-spewing reverend--but they were, technically, Christian sermons. Biden is a Catholic, but he's also pro-choice/conflicted in a Democratically nuanced sort of way, which isn't very (i.e., at all) Catholic.
McCain-Palin: McCain is now a Southern Baptist, one of the Christian denominations that's a bit too enthusiastic and lively for our tastes. Palin is a non- or "post"-denominational Christian with some Catholic and Pentecostal background.
Verdict: This is another tough category, as all the candidates are somewhat religious. It's unclear which ones practice the kind of "we go to church on Christmas and Easter but spend more time buying the kids' outfits than actually praying" brand of faith so popular in SCV.
However, I must award the points to Obama-Biden as McCain passed up a more qualified Mormon (Mitt Romney) to put Palin on his ticket. Our valley has a large population of Latter-Day Saints, and had McCain picked Romney, he could have taken this category.
D: 1 R: 1
Clarita Says: We think public transportation is an excellent way to keep the poor from sharing our roads and to get bicyclists off the street. We're definitely partial to buses along with one ridiculous trolley to spice things up. Ultimately, though, we'll be driving our own cars, thank you very much.
Obama-Biden: There was a push to have people take public transit to reach Invesco Field for Obama's acceptance speech. Worse yet, Senator Joe Biden still takes Amtrak. Even worserer yet, Obama bragged about this Amtrak-riding behavior in his speech!
McCain-Palin: McCain is campaigning on making oil cheaper for the driving-man, which we're definitely OK with. Palin, however, boasted about saying no to money that would build the much-hyped "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. Had Santa Clarita been in the same position, we would have taken the money and we'd build and drive on the bridge anyways. It's the act of driving, not the destination, that matters to us.
Verdict: The point goes to McCain-Palin for being more closely aligned with our valley's strong transportational values.
D: 1 R: 2

That's it for tonight, but more analysis on who Clarita ought to vote for is in store.

[1]I know these graphs were completely unecessary, but I'm a sucker for demographic stats and am using them to finish a post called "The Average Claritan." It's really fun (no, f'reals) to read through the U.S. Census Bureau site on our population from which I drew all the numbers. You can visit it here.
[3]I'm not going to get into all the crap about Palin faking the last pregnancy.
[4]Don't worry: I laughed too.

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