Making John McCain the President is like giving Grandpa the remote control to the VCR. Brian Millsap

I think that's a damn good quote.  It's catchy and true, and I'm friends with the man who said it.  All good reasons that it's been stuck in my head for a week or two.

There is a sad lining to these words, though, because the truth is that neither Obama nor McCain have the slightest idea how to fix this economy.  They can debate about foreign policy all they want.  Those decisions will be made by nameless white men behind a massive smokescreen that, as far as I can tell, has been hiding this country's policy rats since the establishment of the FBI.  And it will work the same way with the economy.

The president is and always has been an overstated role in the government.  Anyone who's taken a high school level government class knows that much, and all the empty promises rocketing out of both candidates'' mouths will fall upon barren soil.  Every.  Single.  One.  The Commander in Chief is nothing more than a glorified notary public--an executive pen wielder and patsy for those who make the real decisions.  Obama might not realize this now, still drunk on his rockstar status, though it has been significantly eroded since this crazy horseshit merry-go-round started almost two years ago, but he is going to be a shill when he takes office.  The special interests, Democratic party heavies, and a host of bitter rivals on Capitol Hill will make sure of that.  Hell. Tony Rezko might even make a few calls from his prison cell (READ: Caribbean resort) just to make sure all is going according to plan.

And it will be.

Sure.  He doesn't know the first thing about the economy.  Neither does John McCain.  But with all the pitfalls that stand in the way of his [Obama's] success, there isn't a whole lot to worry about, especially not since the Dow's staggering losses just before the markets closed today.  The stock market has lost almost 40% of its value in one year, and most of us, I think, should feel that we're closing in on the bottom.  It can't get much worse.  The only things left to lose are our jobs.

Perhaps I'm overstating the severity of the situation, but I can't help feeling that this is the necessary medicine for years of adherence to free market capitalism, which really means very simply that a lack of oversight and general ignorance on the part of everyday Americans will allow moneymen and executives on Wall Street to plunder the piggy bank on a national scale and bring about a dangerous, destabilizing misappropriation of wealth.  Trickle down economics has failed.  Once and for all.  Let us never consider it again.

What really and truly confuses me, though, is what people hear from Barack Obama that sounds much different from the rest of the politicians.  His policies certainly weren't much different from Hillary Clinton's, and anyone who watched even one of those lame, free-for-all Democratic primary debates knows that Obama edged her out solely on the basis of likability.  But seriously.  I wouldn't be railing on Obama if he hadn't sold himself as the New Hope, the man with spare Change in his pocket.  He could have either surprised me by following through on his word, or he could have spared me the letdown.  Then again, I was foolish to have the small modicum of hope that I did when this whole thing started out.

In the last month, I've heard negative campaigning, political attack ads, and numerous vagaries meant to parry inconvenient lines of questioning.  I've heard it from both candidates, and the election is now as mundane as any I've seen.  Same.  Old.  Shit.

And it makes me wonder—yes, we're coming upon my hidden gist here--why people are so reticent to support a third-party or independent candidate.  There is the argument that you're throwing a vote away, right into the river or Lake Michigan if you're from Chicago.  What if, though, people voted for the candidate they truly wanted—the one that hits all the right points and tickles all those fuzzy places inside, whatever they may be and whichever way they might lean.  You'd have at least four major candidates, and truth is the only reason we don't is that the whole "throwing your vote away" hogwash re-instills the impossibility.

It works just like our current economic crisis.  People panic, and they're afraid.  They sell their stocks and make a bad situation worse.  Except this time, we're not selling our stocks.  We're selling off (cheaply) our free will and our power to make our own decisions.  We've let ourselves be pigeonholed into the D's and R's that appear next to our politicians' names, and we are paying for it every single day.

That's why the Iraq War happened.  It's why the stock market crashed today.  It's why we feel helpless and complain that our voices are not heard in our state and national capitals.  It's because we don't hold anyone accountable for what they do.  We just bitch and moan while they do it, and the biggest change most of us ever think to make is switching from D to R or vice versa as if it would do any good.