McCain’s cheap shot

My friend emailed me today saying she was scared about November. Scared that the American people were going to turn their backs on hope and change, and say goodbye to Obama for good. As the Obama and McCain popularity margin inches ever closer together, and as hard as it is to admit, I’m starting to wonder if my friend’s fears aren’t grounded in a little grain of truth.

The recent cheap shot by John McCain of putting a woman into the VP slot has turned into not only a media frenzy, but a reason for ignorant Americans (sadly, most of them women) to drop everything they stand for in order to represent their party and cling to an idealistic vision where quantity outsmarts quality. The result? A rise in McCain’s popularity so quick that the Obama camp is left reeling – and taking down their Greek columns in hurried shame.

McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is insulting, ludicrous and a slap in the face to every American. Not only did he choose his VP candidate based solely on gender, he chose a person he didn’t know existed until days before. The Republicans say the presidency is not for on-the-job training. Well, neither is the vice-presidency. And there’s something to be said for learning to work together, which isn’t something one can do by signing a piece of paper. The union of president and vice-president is like that of husband and wife. You need years of time together to know how the other person ticks, in order to make those life-important decisions. How are McCain and Palin going to work together to bring us out of this economic and international image slump when they don’t even know each other’s middle names (or that one of their children is an unmarried, pregnant teen?)

The problem now is that all the wrongs have ignored, and what is left of the very few rights have been highlighted and glamorized, swallowed up by the most vocal and ignorant citizens of this country. Months ago, republicans were teaching their children abstinence. Now, they’re teaching them, “it’s okay to make mistakes” and turning these irresponsible decisions into “challenges.” No one is talking about how the repubs plan to lower taxes for the wealthy, but they can’t keep their mouths shut about how the democrats will raise them for small business owners. Haven’t we learned by now that the trickle-down theory doesn’t work? Just another example of people in high places not paying attention in 8th grade economics class.

And putting a first-term governor into the second highest position in the country is just plain laughable. The political posturing is so obvious it hurts – but not as much as the fact that everyone’s buying it. First of all, what is the point of listening to, much less congratulating, Palin’s speech when it was clearly written by a talented group of writers who were off having cocktails and patting themselves on the back during her moment of glory? Calling her a “fighter” and ballsy is quite a stretch for a woman reading diligently off a teleprompter. I would have much rather had the writers themselves come out of the woodwork to read their trash than having to watch ten-thousand sets of pearls clapping excitedly to this newly fabricated hero.

Then, there’s the difference between the two conventions. Denver’s stadium packed in White, Black, Asian, Indian, Native American and Latin Americans – tall, short, fat, thin, well-dressed and sloppy. Everyone mingled and mixed like it was a day at the state fair. “We are family” blared through the crowd as those believers in hope danced and shook to the rhythm of change.

The republicans’ lack of color was obvious from the get-go. Nearly everyone was white, and there were enough tweed jackets and pearl necklaces to fill a football field. If we’re really all in this together, as the republicans claim, how come I didn’t see anyone representing MY demographic? How come I didn’t see MYSELF in any of their claims? If I’m not a gun-toting, anti-abortion tight-wad, how will I survive in McCain/Palin’s white, rich world? No amount of tight-lipped clapping will motivate me enough to get me to that scary place.

I will say, as a side note, that commenting on Palin’s duties as a mother should not even be discussed here. I don’t care what anyone says. The subject of parenting would NEVER come up in conversation about a male candidate. However, breast-feeding and caring for a normal, healthy baby is enough without the complications of Down’s Syndrome added to the mix. Try signing off that tax cut, Sarah, in between scurrying off to the bathroom to attach yourself to a breast pump. And I hope her husband is prepared to quit his job and accept the deluge of “Mr. Mom” jokes on the playground that he will be sure to receive. Gender equality is not laughing matter until it comes to role reversal, in which case no one knows what the hell to do.

The fact that McCain and Palin could practically be grandfather and granddaughter is enough to solidify my vote for the Democrats, not to mention the deafening sound of his ticking time clock. And the fact that Palin could be so openly comfortable with attacking Obama’s lack of experience when her range of power is limited to leading a state the size of Memphis, Tennessee for just one year, makes me wonder how anyone is believing any of this. But just look down the road at those clapping, pearl-encrusted hands and you’ll see that America still has its fair share of ignoramuses.

After all our years of struggle for equal, civil, abortion, gender and sexual rights, we seem to be right back to where we started: reading passages out of the bible while we sling a shotgun over our back, cast an evil eye at the gay man next to us and tuck a 100 dollar bill in our back pocket. Somehow, after all our hard work, the republicans seem to be moving closer to the nomination, stealing it away from the democrats’ deaf-turned ear and leading us along a road we’ve already been down.

And where’s the hope in that? Yes, we can’t.

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