Fifty Shades of Loving Your Candidate

Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Tagged: , ,

Published on October 23, 2012 with 34 Comments

President Barack Obama. File photo by Luke Thomas.

By Jill Chapin

October 23, 2012

After carefully listening to many formerly rabid 2008 Obama supporters, the most common thread of disenchantment seems to be that they no longer feel the passion and ardor of those glory days of instant palpitations over their new beau.

I also lament that loss of electricity of having fallen headfirst into an admittedly one-sided relationship – a crush of enormous magnitude where logic and cerebral activity were temporarily dislodged in the vortex of a swirling swoon that overtook a good chunk of us voters.

But in the last election, our fantasy love object actually became our boyfriend and we settled into a naturally evolving relationship where our hearts inevitably stopped fluttering every time we heard him speak.

However, the waning of those feelings doesn’t necessarily have to translate into an all or nothing decision to dump the guy who no longer elicits rapid palpitations. If that were the case, then how do successful marriages morph from those hot and heavy first dates into a deeper but inevitably cooler sensibility?

Let’s be honest; those first heady days of lust and longing are in direct proportion to the novelty and newness of the relationship. It’s not that familiarity breeds contempt so much as it is that familiarity breeds a calmer comfort level that can have its own rewards. But uber high-octane passion is the first casualty after those early days because they are programmed to self-destruct as a deeper intimacy replaces it. Most people accept this evolution but many commit their lives to serial relationships so they can always get that high, with someone new.

So to all of us who are actually considering a vote for the other guy in hopes of recapturing at least some of that heat, I suggest a reality check before you do so. Go back to using that organ between your ears instead of the one in your chest. Our country and the planet on which it resides are at a crossroads, and we need to think in terms other than those former goose-bumpy moments and decide whether, despite our loss of that hot lovin’ feeling, there still exists a president who – like our mothers admired – would still be there for us after the blush is off the rose.

There are people who go through life having never experienced that delicious rush of hormones at the beginning of a relationship, whether personal or political. The feelings of 2008 were special and unique – I doubt I will ever feel quite that way again. But it doesn’t matter because it’s part of my memory bank, to be brought forth and dusted off when I need the equivalent of a java jolt.

So in struggling with the feelings that we wish we had as we decide on the trajectory of our country for the next four years, we need to grow up and realize that lasting relationships demand real commitment, and expecting the impossible is not a way to judge a lover – or a president.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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Comments for Fifty Shades of Loving Your Candidate are now closed.

  1. Off topic I know but I can’t stomach the crap on SFBG any more and have to try and get the word out wherever I can.
    PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROP 37. help in any way you can. Monsanto and the Agrichemical Industry is spending 1 MILLION DOLLARS a day to defeat this measure. WHY? FOLLOW THE MONEY

  2. This morning KPFA/Pacifica’s Hard Knock Radio Host Davey D published:  “Election 2012: 3rd Party Candidates Are Not Spoilers-Every Vote Must Be Earned,”

    Note he says that Democrats didn’t complain when Third Party candidate Ross Perot allegedly split the typically Republican vote and threw the election to Bill Clinton in 1992, but they’ve never stopped complaining about Ralph Nader.
    Also: “People should ask themselves how there are still millions of people unregistered after two years of presidential campaigning and BILLIONS of dollars spent on ads?”

    • Just want to quibble about the Perot example. It’s the Zombie Lie That Just Won’t Die. It’s become so commonly repeated that just about everybody believes it now… except that it’s not true. And it’s one of my pet peeves when it’s repeated to support a point whether from the left or the right. Look, Perot didn’t flip the election. For Perot voters to have changed the outcome, they would’ve had to have voted for Bush over Clinton by 65-35 (in the absence of Perot on the ballot). That’s *if* 100% of them showed up to vote rather than stayed home. How would they have actually voted? Well, exit polls did ask that very question, as a matter of fact. And the answer is that they would have gone 55-45… for Bill Clinton. Perot voters were more conservative than Clinton voters, but less conservative than Bush voters. But more than anything else, they were “change” voters.

      Your larger point, I totally agree with. Every vote must be earned. It would be a better country if we all let go of our fears and voted our conscience.

  3. For anyone interested:

    “Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent.
    Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – ‘disposition matrix’ –
    the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim”

  4. PS nice photo, Luke.

    •  Thanks, Daniele. I like it, too.  Obama looks a lot younger.  No gray hairs.

  5. ..the lessor of two evils argument  becomes ridiculous as you get older…frankly, I’m not voting for obama because he doesn’t deserve my vote….simple as that…and I’m NOT voting for a democrat again unless they earn it…

    • “I’m not voting for obama because he doesn’t deserve my vote.”

      Exactly.  That’s how I look at it.  Whether a candidate deserves or has earned my vote.  And in this case, nada.  And this so-called “lesser of two evils” nonsense is merely a way of continuing the Establishment status quo for decades while making excuses and justifications for corporatist politicians of and for the 1%.

      I agree with Black Agenda Report:

      Why Barack Obama is the More Effective Evil

      Also, I vote my conscience.  I couldn’t care less which of the two presidential candidates of the corporate one-party system (D and R) is ahead in California.  That is moot to me.  I don’t base my vote on that.  I see no reason to cater to the misnamed “Democratic” Party and it’s Republican candidates charading as “Democrats.”  So this stuff about “well, since Obama is going to win CA, go ahead and vote third party.”  Nonsense.  Actually it should be written:  Second party.  We currently don’t have a second party with this one-party system.

      [Intent of comment:  This comment is intended to be taken seriously.  It is not sarcasm.]

  6. Daniele, it is interesting that you will vote for a third-party candidate because California will go for Obama anyway.  Would you do so it the race was really close in California?  I bet the Republicans are supporting all the third-party candidates.  Their strategy is to shrink the electorate by enacting restrictive voting laws and undercover support for left-of-center third-party candidates.  Remember Ralph Nader?  Those GOP plenty smart.

    • Hi Ralph,
      Unfortunately, I might not if it were really close…But I do believe in “voting smart” and where I see an opening, an opportunity, I *will* do what I can to give those guys the 5% they need to get the visibility they deserve. We have to get these voices heard, it’s as simple as that. Are you still glad you voted for Obama now that you are hearing this argument?

    • Proportional representation would solve this problem.  With P.R. we would see multiple party representation.

      The basic principles underlying proportional representation
      elections are that all voters deserve representation and that
      all political groups in society deserve to be represented in our
      legislatures in proportion to their strength in the electorate

    • Remember Ross Perot?

  7. Obama’s record as an Illinois state senator (1997-2004) and his short time as a U.S. Senator (2005-2008) provided me with little or no evidence that he was a progressive or a far-left liberal.  Perhaps, his “call for change,” the fact that he became the first Black-American U.S. president, and some wishful thinking, gave Obama a progressive look to some.  But in my mind, Hilary Clinton or John McCain/Sarah Palin were not acceptable alternatives in 2008. In 2012, Romney/Ryan are even less acceptable.  Voting for a third-party candidate seems like an exercise in futility.  That’s why I have already cast my vote for Obama, not because I am entirely pleased with his performance, but because he is a far better alternative to Romney.

    • “That’s why I have already cast my vote for Obama, not because I am
      entirely pleased with his performance, but because he is a far better
      alternative to Romney.”


      100 Ways Mitt Romney Is Just Like Barack Obama

      It looks like you made the wrong decision, again.

      I personally like Stephen Durham and Christina López of the Bay Area Freedom Socialist Party.

    • First. The claim that Obama will be better than Romney is dubious at best, especially when we consider that if Romney were elected (unlike Obama) he would face -massive- public opposition. It was just such outraged opposition that caused the Nixon administration to be one of the most progressive in U.S. history, through the sheer force of will of the American people.

      More importantly, you are ignoring the crucial fact that as soon as a third party reaches 5% of the vote nationally, federal funding will kick in for that party and dramatically change the dynamics of the next election; and this could well result in a third party candidate in the 2016 debates.

      For these and many other reasons, your ‘exercise in futility’ assertion is absurd. There is an incredible value in voting for third party candidates, as was well proven by the fledgling Republican Party in the mid 1800s.

    • Ralph,
      Ralph, Ralph…You live in California (at least I think you do). A much more empowering alternative, with
      no negative consequence, would be to vote for a Third Party candidate—take Jill
      Stein, for example. Obama is going to win CA—that’s a given. Have you watched
      tonight’s 3rd Party debates? I highly recommend it—much, much more watchable
      than the last 3 presidential “debates” we’ve had. Here’s a

      If the
      Green Party candidate makes 5% of the vote, as Eric said, it will unleash a
      whole lotta federal $$ for that party, allowing them some actual VISIBILITY next time
      around—whadda concept—and how refreshing that would be! See Jill Stein talk
      about that here:
      I cannot wait to exercise that privilege. It’s my way of knowing I *can* actually do something meaningful, aside from telling folks like you that they simply are not correct to say: “Voting for a third-party candidate seems like an exercise in futility.”
      Power to the people. Spread the word.

      • I don’t mean any disrespect to you, but in my opinion you completely
        wasted your time writing all of that.  (Maybe you wrote it for the
        purpose of other people who come along and read it so to inform them, then I

        To begin with, the person you responded to has *already* voted according to what he wrote.  And no one is likely to change the mind of someone who has written this stuff:

        • You are missing the obvious. Other people are reading this, who have note voted yet. We are debating the poster to better inform their decisions, and to possibly alter what he posts in the future.

          • And that’s why I wrote this part:

            “(Maybe you wrote it for the purpose of other people who come along and read it so to inform them, then I understand).”

            I seriously doubt it will have any bearing on what he posts in the future.

            • So, why did you post such ambiguous rambling criticism in the first place? You know, if you find the main reason you are about to press the enter key is simply to publicly gripe at others to gain a sense of self importance.. don’t…

              • So you press the “Enter” key?  Interesting.  I don’t do that.  I just click on “Post as.”  I don’t press any keys other than the keys used to type the comment.

        • rosa, I’m simply having a discussion with the man! I know he already voted. Does that mean I can’t talk to him about his vote if I want to? And, this is a place where many people come to have (my preference anyway: a discussion) so I know that many will see my comment, including you. The only waste of time in my opinion, is that you told me my remark was a waste of time because the man already voted. 

          • …and i’ll read his article later. But whatever he writes, it doesn’t matter. I can have a discussion with anybody. We are all human beings and believe it or not, we all have the same needs. That’s the level I operate on.

            • It can be very difficult to interpret or “read” a comment from a person someone does not know, and how they mean the comment. Whether it’s sarcasm or partly sarcasm or full seriousness.

              Both you and Eric took what I wrote above much differently than how I meant it.  I was being somewhat sarcastic (tongue-in-cheek).  I wasn’t putting you down in the least.  That was not my intent.  If we were in the same room and I spoke that comment to you (with a smile on my face which is what I had when I wrote it), both you and Eric would have likely said to me (being able to see me and getting a better “reading” of what I mean), “well yeah, you’re probably correct rosa.”

              It was intended as a merely innocent comment.  I did not at all expect the reaction it got from either of you.  That’s all.

              • ok rosa, no prob. i still have to read the article you linked to…too busy watching the giants. i know email can sometimes be hard to gauge.

      • Thanks, Daniele.  I’d been trying to find that video.

  8. I meant to comment on this drivel:

    “So in struggling with the feelings that we wish we had as we decide on
    the trajectory of our country for the next four years, we need to grow
    up and realize that lasting relationships demand real commitment, and
    expecting the impossible is not a way to judge a lover – or a president.”

    What a crock!

    “We need to grow
    up” translation:  Pro-Establishment status quo no matter what they do.

    Lasting non-dysfunctional relations demand real commitment.  But that’s not what we have here.  The only real “relationship” is with Obama and the military industrial complex and PNAC document and the Bush/Cheney agenda.  What sane person wants a lasting dysfunctional relationship, which is what we have?  These corporatist, pro-war, neocon right-wing politicians (Obama et al) continue to have explosive diarrheas on people and the U.S. Constitution and international law with nearly everything they do, and then they and their mealy-mouthed disciples expect continued support?  No, that’s the sign of a dysfunctional abusive relationship and such a relationship needs to be ended, rather than being enabled and one being complicit in the dysfunction.  That’s sick.

  9. Like Ann Garrison, I never fell for “Mr Hope and Change We Can Believe In” (merely marketing slogans and the sheep were too thick to understand it as such even when some people pointed this out to them).  I researched Obama’s short record as a senator and listened to what he said outside of his pretty words.  He talked about attacking Pakistan and escalating Afghanistan and of course he’s done both.  He attacked Pakistan in his first week in office.  His devout disciples said at the time, “this must be left over from Bush.”  Sigh.  It wasn’t “left over from Bush,” and if they had listened to what their “savior” had said during the campaign they would have known it wasn’t left over from Bush.  I was labeled a “troll” during the 2008 campaign because I wasn’t in lockstep with the gullible Obamabots.  And after seeing what he’s done in his first term which is worse overall than what Bush did in both terms, I can’t stand him.  He has continued and expanded the Bush/Cheney neocon agenda. I didn’t know that the “Democratic” voters were such hypocrites.  If George W Bush were still in office (physically speaking), the “Democratic” voters would still be screaming, protesting and in the streets instead of making lame trite feel-good excuses and justifications for their “messiah” (Mr Drone).  Mr Drone could do literally anything and they would continue to support him.  I have as much contempt for them as I did the Bush disciples.  They put D-partisan party politics over anything else, including the U.S. Constitution and international law.  They are despicable people.

  10. This isn’t a problem for me, since I never supported Obama’s presidential bids, neither in 2008 nor in 2012. But I have attempted, with very little luck, to bring attention to a piece of legislation that Obama authored and shepherded into law as a Senator, the Obama Congo Relief Security and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006.  It contains essential truths about the death of millions that the Obama Administration chooses to ignore.

  11. You’ve realized that your “boyfriend” is really your violent serial abuser but are unable to break off the relationship because you know that he really can change and that you are the one who can change him and you only have this one last chance to prove that.

    •  Although I don’t agree with you, I have to admit that you are quite clever and made me laugh! If I had been on the same side of the argument as you are, I would hope to have come up with as witty a comment.  If we were debating, you would have won points for this:-)

  12. A maturing relationship…?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    Barack Obama is an absolute disaster whose administration has vastly -increased- extremely dangerous fossil fuel madness threatening to destroy the planet and our civilization, vicious war and illegal overseas drone ‘assassinations’ resulting in the killing of tens of thousands of innocent civilians while causing the U.S. to be bitterly hated more deeply than in any other time in human history, and has continued to strip away the civil rights and protections of U.S. citizens in ways that make the Bush administration look timid by comparison.

    Your analogy to a maturing relationship is however, perhaps, apt after all.

    And when one is in a relationship in which one is being abused by one’s spouse, what is the rational response?

    The answer, is that the rational response, is to leave…

    Both the Democrats and Republicans will drastically continue their corporate directed destruction of our nation, our liberties, and the world itself, until we leave both parties in huge numbers to vote for third parties.

    • are you off your meds again?  Seriousliy?  if not, then you should be on meds…. seriously

      • Jack, can you perhaps replace your meaningless smart ass personal attack with an actual argument that rebuts what I wrote?