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06 September 2008

Post Convention Ramblings....

I'm stealing this .... with attribution:
The McCain-Mooseburger ticket. I don't always agree with his snarky comments, but Bill Maher always makes me laugh.

Both Sides invoked Truman:
Sarah Palin talked about the Missouri Habadasher. Joe Biden quoted Harry S Truman this week, too: "when someone said 'Give 'em hell, Harry', he said 'I'm not going to give 'em hell, I'm going to tell the truth and they will think it is hell!' ". See the clip here beginning at timestamp 2:52. (found posted by Kay In Maine at White Noise Insanity). Truman, a Democrat, was selected as VP as a compromise and was not considered very experienced or qualified for the job during a time of war. Who knew that he would have to make the decision to drop the atom bomb or appoint four Supreme Court justices?

Witty, biting snark attacks
How many times do we need to hear the lipstick joke? A soccer mom, but tougher? Do they really think that "Soccer Mom" or "Hockey Mom" is a voting category? Perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about because I never felt that as a mother of a Cross-Country/Track athlete that I was part of some sort of monolithic voting block or special interest group. But maybe that was because I have hay fever and rarely stayed for the entire meet. At least Palin's pit bull comments were in a nicer spirit than the other snarky remarks made by her and the also-rans on Wednesday night. Am I so biased that I didn't notice that same tone while watching the Democratic convention?

Deriding community organizers? What happened to Bush 41's 1000 points of light? Weren't they community organizers? I think someone who advocates for others -- people out of work, people without health care, people living in substandard housing, people who look to others to help them find resources to help themselves -- these community organizers are the people who work in the trenches throughout our country. It isn't the same experience as building a hockey rink for your town, but it isn't unimportant. It isn't a shallow job. It isn't something that one does for fame or fortune or because it is a posh job. It's damn hard work, regardless of what your cause is. For the Republicans to scoff at this type of work, especially when so much of it is done by faith-based organizations (like the organization Obama worked for) is hypocrisy and, derogatory to those without ready access to the same avenues of power that many in some classes of society have.

A sound bite adding to the rhetoric from the Dems': "My friend John and George Bush are joined at the hip. And we need a hip replacement." - Joe Biden

Witty? Certainly. But I hope that Biden followed it up with facts. It's funny to watch the pundits and comedians poke fun at the politicians. But I don't want an entertainer in the Oval Office -- or someone who is intent on belittling the opponent in order to grab the headline. How can we not demand that our candidates behave civilly? It doesn't make them folksy and just like me or Average Joe Citizen. It makes them petty. And mean. It's the kind of behavior that I would repremand my child for.

I agree with Obama's statement: this election -- as is every election -- is too important for the candidates to waste time making trivial, bickering snipes at each other. If you know about an objective analysis of issues discussed in each speech, leave the link in the comments.

Fact-Checking
About that jet: "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay," she told cheering Republican delegates at their convention last week. True, but she left out that it never sold on eBay. And so state staffers had to broker a deal with a buyer" It has been reported that it was sold at a loss to the Alaskan government.

This link cuts through some of the rhetoric from Wednesday night.

For a humorous twist on fact checking comments by the right wing, including their new folk hero. Watch this clip from Jon Stewart.

Sexism in News Coverage
I will agree with the Republicans that some of the reporting has been sexist. But, I don't think that it is because Sarah Palin is a Republican. Asking about her experience is legitimate; to suggest that it is sexist is cynical, political, empty speech. And it's political bullshit to suggest that people in the Senate have NO experience and that they are all lazy 'do-nothings. How convenient to overlook the fact that the Democrats have had the majority for only 2 years and to ignore that it is a slim majority.

Is asking about whether her kids are too young for her to be VP sexist? It isn't sexist that we ask female candidates. It is sexist that we don't ask men. What is more sexist than the question is the societal expectation and social norm that women should be the primary caregivers. It isn't just the press that thinks this.

A better question would be: "How does she do it?" not "How can she do it?". Although I know many men who co-parent or are the primary caregiver, and I know that men are impacted as well by work/family balance issues, when I look at the women I work with -- across all levels of education & skills -- it seems like it is the women who continue to bear most of the responsibility for raising their families and keeping things running smoothly in the home. I know many people struggling with the balancing act that do want to know how she manages these issues, rather than imposing the view that she can't govern because of her children.

What I think is an even more subtle form of sexism -- or maybe it is anti-feminism -- are the photos of Sarah Palin's shoes. Did you notice these photos posted in the few days following the announcement of her candidacy?







Although it appears to have been taken down, there was one photo -- maybe a crop of the photo with her & McCain's feet -- that only showed her shoes. I immediately wondered if it wasn't to stress that she dressed like a conservative lady, the antithesis of Hillary's pantsuits. How ridiculous!

I almost expected to see Podiatrists for Palin signs!

Why would I care about what shoes any of them are wearing?

Conventional Propaganda
Political conventions are carefully crafted shows -- the Greek-revival columns reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of King's I Have A Dream Speech; the 9/11 footage (which I'm glad that I missed); the personal bios of the candidates and their wives (ahem one for Cindy, not for Todd?) -- and, whether you agree with them or not, they are meant to be exploitative, to create an image, an ambiance, a brand, a visceral reaction. That is the nature of propaganda. The conventioneers -- teary-eyed one moment, enthusiasticlly smiling and applauding the next -- make for good television. Neither party passed up the chance for a multi-day infomercial.

Don't let either party get away with thinking that the American public is so stupid that they will only go for the sound bite. If you haven't yet made up your mind on the facts, make an informed decision in the next 60 days by reading the candidates' stances on the substantive issues on their individual websites: www.barakobama.com, www.johnmccain.com. Read about those issues from other sources, too; not just the sources that you typically agree with.

It's no secret to readers of this blog which candidate I support. If you are going to vote -- whether for Obama or McCain -- make an informed decision. And if you're not going to vote and you're eligible to do so, don't complain about the next occupants of the White House to me!

4 comments:

Emily Barton said...

Beautifully, beautifully put. Thank you!

Courtney said...

this whole thing is just...a circus. The republicans must have chosen palin to detract from the 'celebrity' status surrounding obama, but all they did in my opinion is insult Hillary supporters and pander to women. That we are allowing ourselves to be pandered to infuriates me. The whole "hockey moms for Palin" thing makes me want to vomit. I am so stressed out about this election, i can't even express it in words.

Cam said...

Thanks, Emily.

Courtney, I agree that it can be discouraging, but the Republicans are playing politics of distraction.

We cannot be distracted; we must focus on the truth!

(un)relaxeddad said...

I can't vote, of course. Like the rest of planet, we just have to pray the US electorate don't do anything too stupid, to put it bluntly. Because, like it or not, the result impacts on the whole planet. In fact, one might argue the US election definitely affects the average Iraqi more that the Average Texan...