News – mostly conjecture, since the Lady’s Keepers will not allow interviews – about Sarah Palin, Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s gobsmacking vice presidential pick – tops the news pile everywhere you look. MSM websites, blogs both right and left, TV cable news and networks. Like a bad cold, she’s everywhere.
If you’ve been hiding under your bed since she accepted her nomination for vice president last Wednesday night, I don’t blame you. I’ve had to force myself from doing the same. The urge to just crawl under with the friendly, silent dust-bunnies, stick my thumb in my mouth and whimper “Gimme back the 90s, gimme back the 90s” has been almost overwhelming.
A personal aside – forgive me, please, cuz after this I’m dropping the subject for the foreseeable future: One of the strangest summers of my life is stuttering to a close. Having been mostly healthy since the day I was born, I’ve spent the entire season in shock while dealing with a breast lump that ended up being benign (after four months of various tests and appointments and ups and downs). In addition, I’ve been fighting a soul-deadening malaise and deep fatigue, both induced by a “gold-standard” rheumatoid arthritis drug I was prescribed by my doctor. I’ve stopped taking the med now, but the symptoms remain as it takes several weeks for the stuff to work out of my body’s gobsmacked system.
I like that word, “gobsmacked,” don’t you?
Anyway, even though the summer passed me by, my mind has been active even if the rest of me felt like a car engine trying to run on watered gasoline. I followed along with great interest as Obama found his footing and his voice after winning the primaries. Yay, our side! I thought. What an inspiring candidate he is! Yes We Can! Obama seems to be the bright, charismatic and honest (OK, he’s a pol, so shoot me) leader America has desperately hoped for during the last, nearly eight years. The future looks a little less dark and dire with the image of a President Obama in charge.
Yet McCain’s bumbling campaign managed, somehow, to keep the two candidates running mostly neck-and-neck in the polls all summer long, even though McCain is offering Americans nothing less than four more years of catastrophic and failed Bush policies. As a lifelong Democrat from both ideology and temperament, it just gobsmacks me that there could be so many people in this great country willing to give Bush & Co another four years so they can finish the job of destroying America.
Is it really true that half of American voters like our current situation? They like that Bush lied them into supporting a vanity war of choice that has, to date, killed more than 4,000 American soldiers, maimed tens of thousands more, and killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and forced millions more out of their homes and laid waste to the culture, history and infrastructure of their ancient civilization and country?
The crowd at the Republican convention sure cheered and hollered when the Iraq War came up. They gave it standing ovations. Can that be true? They’re proud we started and carried out and are continuing to fight an unnecessary war?
Are they OK with the fact that Osama bin Laden is still at large somewhere in the mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan? And that we’ve left Afghanistan to rot while we pumped millions into Paktistan’s Musharraf presidency, believing his assurances that he was trying hard to route out the Taliban and find bin Laden while he did the opposite? And that we did this while pumping further trillions into the war we started in Iraq, which had no purpose but to make Bush’s dick hard and maybe, if we were lucky, take over Iraq’s oil fields?
Alllrighty, then. I suppose there are people out there who continue to delude themselves that this was all about revenge for Sept. 11 in spite of everything we’ve learned since May, 2003 and “Mission Accomplished.” They’ve closed their eyes, stopped their ears and shut down their brains. Heh.
But what about Guantanamo Bay? Are they proud that we’re holding hundreds of Middle Eastern and Muslim prisoners there under appalling conditions? That the vast majority of those prisoners are not terrorists? That they have no rights? No hope for a fair trial? That BushCo never thought further than imprisoning them and has no idea what to do with them now?
What about Abu Ghraib? What about torture? What about the destruction of habius corpus?
You mean to tell me there are Americans who support those things? Who are proud of what we’ve done?
Well, so say the polls. As I wrote this, a new one came out. According to a USAToday/Gallup poll, McCain is ahead of Obama by ten points – 58 percent to 48 percent among registered voters. Now, the poll likely reflects McCain’s expected “convention bounce,” and it may be an outlier. By the end of the week, Obama may pull even or move ahead again. We can hope.
Regardless of this most recent poll, though, all of the polls taken over the several years have consistently shown America divided neatly in half. Blue states. Red states. Democrats and Republicans. Pro-choice, anti-abortion (forgive me, but I will NOT call their views pro-life). It seems that half of us are appalled by the Bush administration’s devastating, ongoing program of making war, hauling in huge profits for the rich and powerful, trampling and undermining the Constitution and effectively destroying the economy and turning America into a banana republic.
The other half seems to think this is all just fine and dandy. U-S-A! U-S-A!
And then… and then, there’s Sarah Palin.
I commented earlier this morning over at one of my favorite blogs, Revision99, that John McCain’s selection of a running mate, his vice president, left me speechless. And it has. I’ve started and discarded several posts regarding Palin and the conventions over the last week. But I found myself so gobsmacked that I could barely figure out where to start writing. Once I did, I lost my way, my thoughts dissolving into … speechlessness. I just couldn’t find the right words.
And these might not be the right words, either. I may be rambling and meandering and incoherent. But I’m posting this one anyway.
It’s like the Republicans have finally developed a top-secret Dumb Ray that they switched on the moment Sarah Palin walked onto the stage in St. Paul. It radiated out of TV sets and computers and iPhones and Blackberries, and it contaminated the very air we breathe. As she started speaking, those of us who knew better found our thoughts muddled, our tongues cleaving to the roofs of our mouths and our typing fingers twisting into knots.
And the other half of the country had their minds turned off entirely. They think she’s hunky-dory.
Well, fortunately, the Dumb Ray seems to be wearing off. Must be – here I am typing like mad, capturing the words before they turn to mush and slip down my internal garbage disposal, never to be seen again.
Palin herself is probably just about right as governor of Alaska. Folks who live there mostly want to be left alone to do as they like while collecting their annual surplus check from the state. I never knew there were so many fundamentalist, tongues-spouting Christians up there, though, but hey. Andrew Sullivan calls Alaska “Arkansas with penguins.” Heehee. But I say live and learn.
Live and let live.
The trouble is Sarah Palin doesn’t share my gentle views, and John McCain didn’t vet her. Or if he did, he hired the guys from Dumb and Dumberer do it. He didn’t vet her, and he barely knew her. He’d met her twice. She was an impulse pick, an “I’ll show you!” pick after his party bosses wouldn’t let him have Joe Lieberman for his vice. Since the vice presidential pick is the first real glimpse we get of a candidate’s future style in office, should he be elected, Palin’s pick does not reflect well on McCain.
In fact, it’s terrifying.
Aside from the fact that really, REALLY, we don’t want four more years of Bush with another name, John McCain is 72 years old, he’s a four-time cancer survivor and he carries within him the physical and mental scars of five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He’s known to be volatile and impulsive. He has a bad temper. He gets … overexcited. “We are all Georgians”, anyone?
That’s not enough for you? How about this? He could die at any moment from January 19, 2009 forward.
And America would enter the President Sarah Palin Era.
Personally, I don’t want my country led by a Pentecostal fundamentalist Christian who told her first raft of lies during her vice presidential acceptance speech and who, after the speech, was sequestered so she could cram crash courses in World History and Current Events, Economics 101, 102, 103, 104, and 105, International and Foreign Relations, What the Vice President of the United States of America Does, and incidentally, How to Be President of the USA.
I don’t want a president who believes the Iraq war is God’s will.
I don’t want a president who approves of shooting wolves from aircraft, doesn’t give a hot damn about polar bears, thinks God wants us to get right on with warming up the world with pollution so He can bring the End Days on us and uses her power to stomp on people she doesn’t like or who disagree with her.
I don’t want a president who, while allowing herself the right to choose whether she would bear a Down’s Syndrome child, would deny every other American woman that very choice once she’s in office. I don’t want a president who would, allegedly, “allow” her unmarried teenage daughter to “choose” to carry, give birth to and raise her baby while denying the rest of us that freedom of choice.
Sarah Palin is rabidly anti-abortion. She doesn’t believe in choice, unless it for herself and her own family.
Of course, there are other reasons she’s a walking, talking disaster. There’s the ethics investigation going on in her home state against her. I think another one has started, too, though I can’t find the link for that one now. And there’s the fact that while she was mayor of her hometown, Wasilla, AK, she took the tiny town of 7,000 souls from having no long-term debt to $19 million in long-term debt over a period of six years. She saddled Wasilla with a hugely expensive sports center that is bound up in litigation. As governor, she supported corrupt good-ol-boy pols while claiming she was an anti-corruption reformer. And that Bridge to Nowhere she says she said “no” to? She lied. She ran for governor supporting it until it got embarrassing, then dropped it like a hot potato. But she kept the $23 million in pork-barrel funding that came to the state anyway. Update: Did I say $23 million? Au contraire! It’s $223 million. Pardon my booboo.
What also gobsmacks me about all this is that everything we know about Sarah Palin has come out since John McCain named her as his running mate. And it didn’t come from the mainstream media. It came from the efforts of hundreds, even thousands, of bloggers and citizen reporters who started Googling her and turning up fact after fact and lie after lie.
McCain had her thoroughly vetted? My ass.
So, I’ve finally broken my mental constipation to the tune of roughly 1900 words. It feels good, I’m telling you. But I have one more thing to say:
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, don’t put it off another day. Deadlines are coming up fast all over the country. So register. And then vote. Just vote. America and everything she stands for is depending on you, on all of us.
Note: Illustration kudos to College OTR.