Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I just forced myself to watch the second night of the truncated Republican National Convention, mainly so I could see the mysterious Sarah Palin speak. Ms. Palin--I guess that, in order to avoid the charge of sexism, I really should refer to her by her title as Governor Palin--has been thrust upon us so suddenly and unexpectedly by the Republican spin machine, and subsequently so hidden away to avoid having to answer all those pesky questions from the press about who she is, that at this point she has become something of a complete mystery. She has been plucked from almost complete obscurity to become the most controversial and talked-about candidate for high office in recent memory. Tonight was her night on the national--and international--stage. I had to see her perform.

What I saw was not encouraging. Gov. Palin described herself as a pit bull with lipstick. I think that's a pretty accurate description. Maybe George W. Bush in stiletto heels would be more accurate. The entire tone of her presentation could most accurately be summed up by the word "snide." That word is defined by the online dictionary I use as "derogatory in a nasty and insinuating manner." Other descriptions of her speech (and the others I forced myself to sit through tonight) would be "cynical," "deceptive," "sarcastic," and "dishonest."

Gov. Palin actually reminds me of a horrid girlfriend I had in my late 20's who stole some of my family heirlooms (two violins that had belonged to my grandfather). She managed to get away with it through skillfully evasive fast talking and implied threats of a lawsuit for slander. She was very sexy, very smart, and very sneaky. I couldn't pin anything on her, because she claimed I had "given" them to her when I had actually committed them to her safekeeping upon her promise to have them repaired. When I asked for them back, she claimed either that they had been lost, or that she believed I had intended to give them to her. In fact, she had sold them. This charmer was the spitting image of Gov. Palin in looks, voice type, manner, and even political views. (Yes, I confess to having had a torrid affair with a Republican. In my defense, it only lasted 3 months. Anyway, it served me right. Live and learn.) From what I've heard about Gov. Palin's style of governing Alaska, she might as well be the same person as my former girlfriend.

And in order even to get to Gov. Palin's snide little spee
ch, I had to sit through Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, listening to them vie with each other on who could out-pander to the most extremist right-wing authoritarian wing of what in the past 8 years had already become an extremely right-wing authoritarian political party. I mean, what is it with Mitt Romney attacking the last 8 years of George W. Bush as having been too "liberal"?? And attacking Democrats as the Party of "Big Brother," as if it wasn't his own Republican Party which has brought this country warrantless domestic wiretapping, extradition, torture, suspension of the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus, politicization of the Justice Department, and grotesquely expanded presidential prerogative? As I watched the roaring approval given by the overwhelmingly white male Republican delegates to these hyperventilated appeals to the extreme right, it occurred to me that Gov. Palin has given the Republican Party just what it most needs in this election: a smiling, unthreatening, "small town," superficially attractive "happy face" to mask its frighteningly hard-edged authoritarianism.

The Republican Party has painted itself into the most extreme right-wing corner it has ever occupied in our history. If, as Romney, Huckabee and Giuliani seemed to claim, the last 8 years have been too "liberal," and the Supreme Court as presently constituted has been too lenient on civil liberties, I shudder to think of the fate of our country if these thugs get into office. In order to prevent that disaster from occurring, those of us who still cherish democracy and, yes, true republicanism, must fight for the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden as President and Vice-President, and contribute as much as we can in time, toil and treasure to their campaign. The fate of our country demands nothing less.

No comments: