I am gagging as I listen to the speeches of Rudy Giulliani and Sarah Palin at the RNC tonight. I could not standing sitting and looking at their diatribes, so I’ve been playing solitaire as I listen to their speeches. The pundits are calling their speech “forceful,” I characterize it as mean-spirited, rah-rah, name-calling, and trash-talking. (They are playing the dozens and showing that the best defense is good offense – be offensive, don’t address issues, omit facts, and overlook the truth).
Let’s focus on Sarah. She rolled up her sleeves and proved that she can be as nasty as the Republican boys. As she characterized herself – “a hockey mom is a pitbull with lipstick.” I don’t relate to hockey (when I was growing up, the people in my community did not play hockey and there were no people of color on the professional teams*). I don’t like pitbulls** (in my opinion they are ugly dogs that are bred to be vicious).
While I am not the “working people” to whom Sarah was addressing her speech, that would be white working people for the most part, I am a working woman from a long-line of working people. The Republicans don’t get to decide who “working people are.” (All of a sudden they can relate to working people – what a laugh.) This working person does not tote a gun or feel that gun-ownership and war are solutions to political and societal problems. I am also a working person who believes in separation of church and state. I don’t jam my religious beliefs down everyone else’s throat. I don’t need to share them with everyone and don’t really even care what other people believe. (You do your thing and I’ll do mine.) I do know this, that everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there; that everybody claiming to be religious, claiming to have Christian values doesn’t have them, and that – let me quote the late Curtis Mayfield here – “if there’s a hell below, we’re all gonna go.”
I’m trying to understand, when did military service become equated with wise leadership?
I am trying to understand the anti-intellectualism that has been rampant in the recent Republican presidential campaigns? John McCain said earlier tonight that having a Harvard degree or Ivy League education was not important. While I have realized with Bush that an Ivy League degree can be bought, having a well-educated candidate is something we should aspire to. We need the best, the brightest, the visionary, the collaborative. The President doesn’t need to be my friend like my mother didn’t need to be my friend. The President’s job is to lead wisely job is to lead, my mother’s was to parent wisely.
I give two cents about whether I can to relate to my president, although in the case of Obama, there is much that I can relate to. I care that my President make sound, thoughtful, well-informed, and carefully-weighed decisions – not snap decisions, like say, selecting a Vice Presidential candidate in a matter of days. (No matter how they spin it, it’s clear that the Republican VP candidate was not thoughtfully researched over weeks, at least not by the McCain camp.) Although, to echo the sentiment of a librarian with whom I had a conversation today (who is white and from Georgia by the way), perhaps there is a shadow government that wants Palin in so that when McCain is eliminated they have someone in place who is easily manipulated. That is the only way this candidacy makes sense.
Qualifications?! What the McCain/Palin’s candidacy does teach me, once again (lessons are repeated until they are learned I’ve read), is that I have had aspirations far below what I should have had with my innate abilities because these “ordinary” people can rise to high positions with no true preparation or background. (It must help that they have or married into money and that their whiteness allows them to be assumed competent enough for these most important jobs.)
My husband talks about all the movies he’s seen in which an assistant is thrust into a leadership position – “Here,” someone says, “You can do this job.” This is the Palin candidacy but unfortunately this is not a movie whose absurd coincidences and incredible trajectory can be turned off.
I shudder to think that they may actually win as all those “ordinary, working people” who can relate to them, vote for them. Alaska is not like the rest of the country; it doesn’t look like much of the rest of the country. (It has a populations of roughly 665,000 as of 2005 with 69.5% of them white, 15.6% American Indian and Alaskan Native, 4.1% of them Hispanic, 4.0% Asian, and 3.6% Black.) Our leadership needs to reflect the diversity of this country and the world. We need someone who dares try to link to the human in all of us and who is comfortable and practiced in dealing with pluralism.
But you know what? A change is gonna come (thanks Sam Cooke). Everything will change – nothing stays the same (sung beautifully by Oleta Adams and many others). Change will come…if not this election…soon. This country will not stay backwards forever. Some people can delay change but they cannot prevent it. Some people can think narrowly but our country and our world cannot survive in narrowness. The only thing that will stymie change is if this “mother” is blown up or space colonies are created (for them or for us).
*Although there was a Black Hockey League that predated the National Hockey League and the Negro Baseball League. See movie, Black Ice: Early African-American Hockey 1895-1925.
**But since she is a pit-bull and ready to fight, I hope she gets a righteous and effective fight that knocks her and McCain out of this race.