Very convincing. John McCain, that is. America’s archetypal War Hero. Long-suffering, humbled by his imprisonment, calling for a diplomatic road to peace. (Can you believe he said that?) Committed to standing up against corruption. He even threw in a few jabs at his own party and the leader that they wish they could get rid of. (At least, that’s how I took this statement: “I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.”)
Is this really the Republican candidate? “Comfort the afflicted...” ? “Defend the rights of the oppressed...” ?
Sarah Palin, well, not so much. She sounded like a high school cheerleader, and we know who she was cheering for. While I’ll not further diminish her admittedly short list of achievements in politics, the greatest of which was two terms as mayor of a town of 5,000, I can’t get over wondering if we really need a second first lady in the White House.
Then again, with the lack of representation of America’s gendered majority in Washington, there are few women with a resume long enough to compare with the likes of McCain or the other time-proven (or disproven) candidates. Yet another reason to elect more women to higher office: get them ready for the presidency!
McCain’s seemingly impulsive choice for a running mate introduced a new element to the Pres/VP relationship, one that mocks the efforts of women who have fought hard for their position like Hillary – and I didn’t like her either. I didn’t like her for the same reason I don’t like McCain: they say what they have to say in order to get what they want.
Nevertheless, even I, a lifelong flaming liberal, was moved by the Republicans’ speeches. Not that I’d never consider voting for a Republican – I’m waiting for the parties to pass each other running in their race toward the center – but even plenty of Republicans won’t be voting for their party this year, not with the way they’ve driven the country into the ground.
Still, even with their populist credentials and do-right rhetoric, the McCain/Palin ticket is not worth voting for. Here’s the rub, straight from the horse’s mouth:
“We’ll produce more energy at home! We will drill more wells offshore and we’ll drill them now! We’ll drill them now! My friends, we’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean-coal technology…
“Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power, but Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet. My friends, it’s an ambitious plan…”
OK, we all know that oil is destined to run out, and soon. Drilling for more is only going to buy time, and doing it in sensitive areas like offshore or in ANWR (Palin: for; McCain: against – so far) will only cause more environmental damage than it’s worth while we hurtle towards self-destruction. At this late hour, increasing oil production in an attempt to lower gas prices is a short-sighted, head-in-the-sand approach designed to win cheap votes and oil industry campaign dollars. (Senator Udall – are you listening?) It’s not the kind of maverick approach that McCain would like us to believe he represents. Neither is his call for more alternative energy – if the leaders were truly leading, they would have been out there with Carter hand-cranking the alt-energy bandwagon back in the 1970s when it was first getting started.
While Palin and the McCains were busy trying to convince America that the Republicans really do stand for justice, human rights and opportunity for all, hundreds of protesters shouting for justice, human rights and opportunity for all were being arrested on the streets of St. Paul. To top it off, on Sept. 1 America’s foremost voice for the oppressed, journalist Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, was arrested while covering one of the protests. Freedom of the press? See ya! It’s campaign time.
I’ve heard people bemoan America’s apathy over the past eight years. “Why isn’t anyone doing anything?” they ask.
Of course, my first answer is, why aren’t you doing anything? If you were, you’d see that there are more people out on the streets, marching, singing and carrying signs, and more people in homes, offices, schools, and community centers writing letters and emails and organizing movements than there were in the Sixties. You just don’t hear about it because the press doesn’t report it. Journalists at the Democratic Convention were warned that they could be arrested along with the protesters. Jail time isn’t really in the job description, so these things don’t get reported.
Now, as always, check with Amy Goodman for the inside scoop. She knows how it feels to be a true populist, do-right, fight-corruption maverick. And I doubt she’ll be voting for John McCain.