We all care. Go vote tomorrow. No matter who you choose, just vote.
I couldn’t sleep last night and this may come out in the form of a ramble, so I do apologize. I am signing off from all political discussion on my blog. Ideally, this would be a great format for me to discuss the issues that are important to me and to facilitate healthy discussion among friends, family, and strangers. It has not. I will take responsibility but not all. I went from discussing what was important to me, what values Obama and I share and the ones we don’t. Somehow in the wake of the campaign my focus shifted to attacking McCain and especially Palin. I recently have been reading other blogs and become so upset, to tears last night actually, and I realized that I wanted no part in making another person feel the way I did. I was reading the attacks and thought to myself if we actually sat down to discuss the issues, we are so much closer in values than what the surface tells us. We have all lost our rational logic, myself included. So no more.
I remember 4 years ago watching the Democratic debate, as a registered Republican, and hearing the name Barack Obama for the first time and listening to his speech. It was centered around the idea that we all have so much more that ties us together than the ideals that separate us. I couldn’t agree more. I want to get back to that belief for the sake of relationships that I hold dear in my life.
4 years ago my experiences provided a foundation for me to line myself with the Republican party. Since then my experiences have shifted my values. That is my story. You have your own. If I value that my experiences shape my world view, then I must value that your experiences have shaped yours. You believe what you do because of your experiences and vice versa. It is now my passion to see where we can agree. I will take the obvious issue that is so very polarizing, abortion. I have been staunchly pro-life my entire life up until now, where I am both pro-life and pro-choice. Do not think this shift was a quick or easy process! Do not question my intelligence and think that I flippantly have altered my world view! And do not ever think or say I am pro-abortion! My experiences this past few months has changed me. Meeting with a woman who recently was raped and aborted the baby from that rape changed me. Meeting with a woman who knew she was not able to raise a child due to her past trauma and her life situation changed me. These are my experiences. You have your own. We can agree that there needs to be preventative measures to avoid unwanted pregnancy and violence on women.
See I knew I would start to ramble, but I am just so upset. One friend has stopped reading this blog altogether and another, well, I don’t want my words to impact them the way other words have impacted me. So as my last political discussion I will end in saying, I fully support a Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration, even though I don’t agree with everything they do. I am completely fearful of a Sarah Palin administration, John McCain, I could live with. My core value is that our country must base its greatness on the life lead by its weakest link. That is it. That is why I am voting and supporting Obama.
I love pumpkins!! I love to decorate pumpkins. I love to decorate with pumpkins. I love to eat pumpkins. I love to bake pumpkins. I love pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin biscuits. I love pumpkin pancakes. I love pumpkin dip. I love spelling pumpkin. I love pumpkin patches. I even love dressing up like a pumpkin. I love when my husband affectionately calls me pumpkin. I do love everything pumpkin.
The other day I made pumpkin dip for friends and family. My Peace College coworkers actually renamed the dip as “pumpkin crack” because they kept going back for more and more. I like to serve with ginger snaps cookies or sliced apples. Either way you will definitely be going back for more.
Sarah Palin winks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.
By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,” she said.
And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.
It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don’t even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of “average Americans” who they both venerate and despise.
In pronouncing upon a debate, they don’t try and determine whether a candidate’s responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.
There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It’s worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden’s comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush’s policies:
Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? … My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.
Evidently, Palin’s pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick – and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is – a question she either didn’t understand or chose to ignore – she started in on how McCain chose her because of her “connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?”
None of Palin’s children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described “fuckin’ redneck”. Palin is a woman who can’t even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn’t show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.