An uncomfortable evening.

7 10 2008

This is a sloppy debate. It makes me uncomfortable listening to these two go back and forth in this format with such a tight debate structure. The conversation should flow. That they refer to each other as if the other isn’t there makes the whole situation tense. And rightfully so. This is a race for the President, of course.

Here’s basically what McCain is saying: “My friend, my friend, my friend, my friend, snarky comment, grin, interjection, my friend, my friend. My friend, my friend. My friend! Snark! As Americans, you are my friend, my friend. Snark. Handshake with the vet, part of the American people. Grin.”

 

Here’s what Obama is saying: McCain is wrong, let me speak for a long time, let me ignore Tom Brokaw, let me just keep talking because I have a point here and it connects to all the other wrong things McCain has said about me. 

This is not the greatest debate I have ever seen. This was actually kind of awful on both their parts. But what I did see, which was interesting, was the desire on both Obama and McCain’s parts to really debate something, to go back and forth about issues. I don’t know if they wanted to talk to each other, rather that they wanted to make bold statements and correct each other. 

Now it’s time to listen to the analysts. 

I still love Obama. There’s no doubt about it.

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Punching.

6 10 2008

I’m so caught up with this Palininduced mess that I can think of hardly anything else these days. I’ve read every opinion article about her in the NY Times this weekend and have even read most of the comments on the blogs. Normally I don’t bother reading the comments, or leaving comments for that matter, but I am so curious about the kind of talk that’s happening around this election. Shamefully, most of the talk is about her, and hardly any kind of talk of any kind of substance is happening about either of the Presidential candidates. (Until today, that is, when the latest YouTube video came out today about the Keating 5, the savings and loan scandal in 1989.) 

I seem to remember in past elections the kind of weariness our nation felt at the name-calling and finger-pointing to which the candidates and their campaign managers were reduced. I remember us all wanting to hear “something”—-anything—- from them in elections past other than the same uppercuts to each other’s character traits (and those jabs do seem to trickle down to the voters, in our own rings running circles around each other and taking cheap shots at each other’s ears) that always seem to emerge in the final weeks. And now we’re here in the final weeks, and lo and behold, we’ve all punched each other to near blindness, our eyes swelling shut even as we continue raining blows.

I think this fighting metaphor comes from a UFC fight I saw this weekend. I’m sure it was the first battle I’d ever seen—two men in a cage pretty much bare-fisted wrestling each other to an inch from death—as I’d probably remember that kind of violence. I watched almost the whole thing: from the two opponents walking out of their rooms, each with their own entourage, then waiting in their respective corners, then hitting fists as if greeting each other, and then, at long last, fighting. The mat was covered with blood from earlier battles: a man with “razor sharp elbows” had nearly brought a man to his final breath just moments before.The men railed at each other, fists flying—-strong at first, each bringing his own unique skill to the mat, each clearly demonstrating his strength. And then, after moments of beating each other as hard as they could, they were reduced—-for whole seconds—-to holding each other down on the mat and flailing their fists at whichever body part they could reach. Not whichever body part would feel the most damage, but whichever body part they could hit: ears, shoulders, backs. It was an exercise in watching two men, both clearly exhausted, both clearly withered, still try to exert power over the other. And it was pathetic. In the minutes after the battle was over, when one had been pounded so thoroughly on the top of his head by the other’s knuckles as if he were trying to punch in a cantaloupe, their faces would swell to twice their normal size with bruises and broken bones and the months-long healing process would begin. 

We find ourselves in our own UFC ring these days, one angry old man slinging mud like boxing gloves against a guy who, despite his faults (which in my opinion are few, if any), and in that old man’s corner is the “hope” for the Republican party: a JV cheerleader who thinks she’s All That (wink, wink, daggonit.) And all of us? Well, here’s what we’re doing to each other:

A couple of weeks ago, in response to a forwarded email about Palin’s use of language (that I’m sure many of you read at some point), I received this in my inbox, a note directed at another person’s reaction to the forward:

I’m so sorry to doubt your messiah, Barack!  Here’s how you typical leftists think:  “Barack is sooooo magnificent and wonderful, and he’s the ONE we’ve been waiting for.  I get a chill up my leg every time I hear him speak!  If you oppose Him, it MUST be that you’re a racist.  There’s no other explanation!”
 
My vote is not based on race.  My vote is based on ideology.  I happen to like the American capitalist system.  I don’t want Barry and the federal government to take care of me and my family.  I’d rather have a stumbling, bumbling Christian elitist in charge than a radical, America-hating communist.  And just to keep the record straight, I am no fan of George W. Bush.
   

My response? I’d be lying if I said I shot back a quick reply with all the words I really wanted to say. Instead, I kept that note in my inbox and came back to it a couple of times while I mulled over my message. Here it is:

I just don’t understand how you could use such extreme language. “America-hating communist?” Really? Do you honestly believe that? Was it an idea that formulated in your own mind based on fair evidence from reliable sources?
Frankly, I can’t bear to have the world see us as a country willing to elect ANOTHER “bumbling, Christian elitist” in office, based on what’s happened recently. And for the past 8 years. 
And as far as “we typical leftists,” I don’t know where you got your evidence for our “thoughts,” but I think it’s very fair to say you Just Don’t Get It. Obama’s no messiah, and I’d be surprised to meet a person who thinks he actually is.
Stop making judgements about Obama supporters and take a look at what’s best for the country. We’re not out to fight each other. We’re out to select the best person for the job.

 

I haven’t heard anything in response, and I can’t say I expected one. But the underlying message is clear: outside the two-man Presidential ring, there is a ring of millions and we are doing whatever we can to punch in cantaloupes. John McCain’s speech (read some of it here, watch a clip from Salon.com) is evidence that he wants his supporters (The American People) to do the fighting for him. He gives his supporters the fuel in the form of “an angry barrage of insults,” and leaves it up to The American People to burn everything down. 

There is nothing of substance coming from the McCain campaign and Palin’s inability to articulate ideas in the English language is evidence that what comes from the McCain/Palin ticket is nothing but babble. Language aside, what we see from that ticket is exactly what we have had for the last eight years. And if the ticket disagrees, I have yet to hear or read anything to the contrary. Babble cannot elaborate on the issues. But one thing is clear: we have a man who’s health will most certainly falter and a woman who admitted she would take the country in her own direction should she ever have the opportunity. The woman has no direction of her own. And that means the same people who wrote her notes for the debate last Thursday will be the ones running this country. And who are they

The Obama/Biden ticket represents real change, control of what’s spiraled out, support for American workers, and the proud face of America in the world again. With Obama/Biden we can take our heads out of the sand and breathe again. From Madeleine Albright, who was misquoted by Sarah Palin in a recent speech:

“Though I am flattered that Governor Palin has chosen to cite me as a source of wisdom, what I said had nothing to do with politics. This is yet another example of McCain and Palin distorting the truth, and all the more reason to remember that this campaign is not about gender, it is about which candidate has an agenda that will improve the lives of all Americans, including women. The truth is, if you care about the status of women in our society and in our troubled economy, the best choice by far is Obama-Biden.

But with 28 days left until November 4th, I’m holding my breath. There will be a few more rounds to go and who knows what kind of moves the GOP can pull. 

With that in mind, I sent in my New York voter registration today. Barack Obama is the man for this job.

Get out and vote.





No More NUCULARS!!!!!!

2 10 2008

SHE SAYS “NUCULAR!” 

BUSH SAYS “NUCULAR!”

NO MORE “NUCULAR!!!!!!!!!!!!”





“Poor Dumb Thing.”

28 09 2008

Just three short words about dear Sarah Palin tonight, and these coming from my mother in response to Palin’s interview with Couric. I missed the interview entirely, but have read about it in the Op Eds of the New York Times. My mom admitted she felt almost sorry for Palin because she sounded so pathetic and stupid in the interview (again, my mom’s words) but I felt, yet again, annoyed and insulted when I heard on CBS Sunday Morning that what’s-his-name Harry something-or-other news anchor went to Alaska and asked Palin’s PARENTS if she was qualified for the job. 

Seriously? We’re talking to her parents? To find out what they think? What the hell are they supposed to say? “No, our daughter’s a complete moron and way in over her head.” Even if it is the truth, that’s the last thing they’re going to say on national television. It’s sad, really. Did anyone ask McCain’s mother or Obama’s grandparents, or Biden’s parents for that matter, if they thought their (grand)children were qualified? Not if they were proud of the men, because certainly they would be.

Palin’s dad’s response? “She can be whatever she wants to do.” 

Eloquence runs in the family, I see. 

The thing that gets me with this particular interview is that it’s very small-town, and therefore insulting for the job of Vice President of the United States; however, it’s acceptable because Palin is a woman. I grew up in a tiny little town in Vermont. One of my first jobs was at a general store and I got hired because people close to me (including loyal shopper, My Mother) put in good words for me. In a small town, to get an idea of who a kid is, you talk to the parents. And here we have a similar situation: asking Palin’s parents about who their “kid” is. And this is only because she is a woman. 

This proves, YET AGAIN, she is totally and completely inappropriate for this job. If we are still seeing her as a small-town KID, then she is not prepared to take on a position that plops her in the world as a major source of power and influence. Time and again she proves herself too young, too unprepared: She cannot speak at length with knowledge about any topic that is important to the US, other than drilling, and that she does with a fiery violence that should scare us all. It is the pubescent violence that I see in high school students who have very few opinions of their own and who stand behind opinions of others who they want to impress because the others are the cool kids. What we’re dealing with here is a teenager, insecure and high on the fact that she just got elected to Student Council.

When asked about Russia, she could not put together a coherent thought.

“Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land — boundary that we have with — Canada.”

She went on, but lost her way midsentence: “It’s funny that a comment like that was kind of made to — cari — I don’t know, you know? Reporters …”

Ms. Couric said, “Mocked?”

“Yeah, mocked,” said Ms. Palin. “I guess that’s the word. Yeah.”

 

Don’t kids just say the darndest things?

We will all be Poor Dumb Things if we put this Poor Dumb Thing in office.





Palin? Is he serious?

29 08 2008

If Obama/Biden aren’t elected in November there is going to be some serious shit happening in America, and the People are going to go CRAZY. I stayed up and watched Obama’s speech last night becoming more and more confident with every passing minute that he is the best person to take office next, and went to bed sure that America will make the right choice in the next couple of months.

And now? To hear that McCain has chosen Palin as his running mate? Seems like a something both laughable and pathetic and somewhat insulting all at the same time. Laughable because, I mean, seriously? She’s in her first term as governor.  Of ALASKA. (I don’t mean to insult, Catherine.) She has no record of anything. She is not remotely involved in international politics, she is ridiculously pro-life, and for crying out loud, she was Miss Congeniality in the Wasilla Beauty Pageant. I’m sorry. She’s blank as can be, which, as I heard on NPR today, is just what the Republicans want for this campaign. All that is fine for a gubernatorial candidate, but not for the vice president of one of the most powerful nations in the world. It’s as if he’s choosing a babysitter for his grandkids on the grounds that the babysitter’s a “good kid.” And that’s the message he’s sending there: she’s a good kid. She’ll take care of things—-clean up around the house, make sure the kids are happy. 

 

Pathetic because it’s just so convenient. First Barack Obama comes out onto the scene against Hillary and here we’ve got two Democratic candidates whose faces have never before been seen on the presidential front because of race and gender. And so, here come the bumbling Republicans with THEIR “minority” candidate and it’s Palin? And she’s a “hockey mom?” And she likes hunting? And she admits to being an “accidental politician”? For the position of nation’s vice president she should not be saying something like, “Gosh, you know? It just kind of snuck up on me! I was a member of the PTA and then suddenly, I’m here!” It makes me choke and gag at the same time, and it just makes McCain look more sad than ever. Like he’s saying, “Oh, wait! I can be “progressive” too! I’ve got a GIRL on my team!” 

 

And then finally, McCain has further insulted women. He is CLEARLY using Palin. CLEARLY using her. She is a tool in his pathetic campaign. Here we have Hillary who has fought hard, tooth and nail, for decades alongside her husband and on her own. She’s withstood months and years of serious criticism from all media. She was strong until the very end of her campaign and, regardless of whether or not Obama chose her to be his running mate, has remained a pillar of strength, intelligence, determination, and grace. Now suddenly, OVERNIGHT, we have Palin who has brought nothing to the nation’s politics on any front, who is in her very first term, and who until today no one could pick out of a lineup of two. What does this do to Hillary? What does McCain THINK about women?! That just because Hillary (a woman who has clearly proven herself for years) is no longer in the running that we will all jump at the opportunity to vote Republican SIMPLY BECAUSE PALIN IS A WOMAN? Does he not think women have intelligence enough to seriously scrutinize our candidates and that we will not choose McCain/Palin simply because she’s a woman?! He has insulted me and my intelligence and the intelligence of the millions of women in this country. He’s insulting Palin and she has no idea. 

Now I just feel sorry for him. And truthfully I feel sorry for Palin. 

 

If America does not turn out and vote overwhelmingly for Obama/Biden an experienced, dedicated,  compassionate, and politically driven team, and instead become plagued with still more Republicanism under a totally unqualified, privileged, and oblivious McCain/Palin administration, we will send a strong and wrong message to the world. We will be saying we are a nation of hypocritical bigots, beauty queens, and Good Old Boys.