Sunday, September 7, 2008
Stepping Down From The Ledge
I keep trying to write about the good comics I've read or my kids' lack of enthusiasm for whole wheat pancakes, but all I can think about is politics. And I don't want to.
While I think it's every citizen's responsibility to be informed, an election season can suck you into a bottomless pit of blogs, CNN updates and grassy knoll conspiracy theories. It's a slippery slope, so I've tried to stick to the basics. Last week, I decided to tune in to the highlights of the Republican National Convention. I knew I wasn't voting for McCain, but I wanted to be fair and at least hear what the GOP had to say.
Something weird happened to me after listening to Sarah Palin's speech. I've managed to keep it together pretty well the last couple of years, but the more I listened to Palin, the angrier I became. I can't remember the last time a political speech left me sitting on the edge of the couch, wondering where I could purchase a torch and a pitchfork. Attractive and personable, Palin unleashed the most cynical, low-rent stream of red-white-and-blue-coated crap I'd heard in ages. And I remember the Reagan years.
I'm not saying it wasn't an effective speech, and God knows many of the speakers at the DNC plucked my nerves by constantly playing the "Bush sucks" card. (We know, but he isn't running again.) And as much as I liked Obama's speech, he made me nervous by promising too much.
What made me angry about Palin's speech is that it pandered to the people who helped drag the level of political discourse in this country down to 3rd grade level in the first place: Attack the liberal media (check); attack "elitists," which, apparently, do not include GOP millionaires such as John and Cindy McCain or Mitt Romney (check); take cheap shots at the opponent instead of talking about your ideas (check).
As I predicted, certain members of the base are beside themselves with glee. Online comment boards are full of messages like, "U LIBERALS R RUNNING SCARED! Sarah Rulez and She is HOTT." and "Palin is a real patriot, unlike the radical Barack Hussein Obama, who wants to turn us all into members of al-Qaida!!!!"
I don't like being this mad, but I've had enough. I am tired of hearing about fetuses, patriotism, 9/11, "protecting marriage" and religion in government. I am tired of hearing people having to defend the teaching of science in public school classrooms. I am sick of hearing people who made horrible jokes about Chelsea Clinton — who was a child at the time — bemoan the "media hatchet job" on a grown woman who is running for vice president of the United States.
I grew up in a small town. I consider myself a Christian, and I am raising children in a "traditional" middle class, two-parent household. But nothing in Sarah Palin's shout-out to small-town folks and hockey moms resonated with me. If anything, it made me want to write Obama a check. A couple of checks.
Suddenly, Nov. 4 seems very far away.