Good news everyone! It turns out I don't actually have acid reflux disease. I was exhibiting all of the symptoms this week, but the doctor said all I needed was a good strong drink and to wait until Friday when network programming returned to normal.
That was a close one. I'm already feeling much better, thanks for asking.
But seriously, if I may, now that the conventions have come and gone I think a couple of things really need to be addressed (and yes, I'm purposely trying to diminish my readership by talking politics again). Although my overly strong gag-reflex limited the amount of speeches I was able to watch from this week's RNC, there were two very strong themes that I saw running through the show. One was the issue of "judgement" and the other was an unyielding, blind-faith sense of pride in the country.
Let's discuss this "pride of our country" issue first. The whole issue arises from a well-known comment Michelle Obama made so long ago, but it doesn't stop the GOP from trying to bludgeon anyone and everyone with the fact that they, unlike some people, are always proud of their country. These were Palin's exact words on Wednesday.
My response is this. Really? You're always proud of your country? You were proud when the photos from Abu Ghraib prison surfaced? You were proud when we let New Orleans drown and the President didn't even bother flying over the area until 4 days later? You were proud when our Secretary of State argued semantics while millions were slaughtered in Rwanda? You were proud when we re-elected George W. Bush?
Oh, my bad, I'm not sure how that slipped in there...
Why do Republicans so often confuse the words pride and love? Normal people known the difference. I know the difference. Michelle Obama knew the difference. I love this country tremendously. I love the opportunities, I love the geography, I love the beauty, and I love the promise and idea of it and what it stands for. But I am most certainly not always proud of it.
Just like a parent isn't always proud of their child's behavior. They always love them. That's the rule of nature. But they're not always proud. How many times have we been scolded as a child and heard our parents say, "I will always love you, but I'm not always proud of you." Okay, maybe I heard that more than you did, but I was real bastard as a kid. Well, no, not a bastard literally, just figuratively. Anyway, even kids know the difference between a parent loving them and being proud. So why don't Republicans?
The other theme that kept coming up during the convention and throughout the election as a whole so far is the concept of judgment. Both sides have used it over and over. But let's talk about judgment for a moment.
Eight years ago, I was giddy with delight about switching parties and voting for McCain in the 2000 primary. For those who have forgotten, it was eight years ago when McCain was all the things he's trying to make himself out to be today. Back then, he really was the maverick he purports to still be. Eight years ago he had as few friends in the Republican party as he did in the Democratic. Eight years ago he was getting things done. Unfortunately, eight years of kowtowing to the man who defeated him in that primary has changed him. He barely resembles the man I was so anxious to vote for, but couldn't.
And you know why I couldn't vote for McCain? Because the collective judgment of Republicans thought George W. Bush would make a better President than McCain. He was defeated before NC had their primary.
Think about that, Republicans. When left to choose amongst your own, you all but ignored McCain in 2000. You turned against him in vicious ways; you believed Karl Rove's lies and smears; and you joined together to say that George W. Bush would make a better president than John McCain. Eight years later, Bush has the lowest approval rating in the history of our country and is by all accounts the worst President in American history, perhaps second only to Hoover who, oddly enough, also turned a blind eye to the massive economic struggles of his citizenry.
For those who need it spelled out, what does it say about Republican judgment when, just eight years ago, they as a party thought Bush would make a better President than McCain?
Now McCain is more like the rest of them and they want a do-over. I'd be tempted to give them one too, if only we could go back in time to 2000 and vote for the John McCain who ran for President back then. Unfortunately we can't, and even sadder is the eight years under Bush really changed him. For as strong and resilient of a man he is, Bush's presidency has seemed to beat him down too.
We can't afford to elect a man who, within his own Republican Party, was thought to be less-fit to be President than the one with a current approval rating of 25%. Doing so wouldn't show wise judgment.