I leave for Parma today.
It occurred to me, somewhat belatedly (but luckily, before I posted it), that I should probably wait till I'm not working for Senator Obama's campaign (i.e., till after the election) to post the essay I wrote on Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Essentially, it's a challenge of Senator McCain to single combat- to avenge the grave insult the honor of all womankind has suffered at his choice of Governor Palin as an exemplar of womanly accomplishment. (That's rather a mild description. The substance, however, is accurate.)
I think, however, that there's little harm in what I'm writing today.
I used to respect John McCain. No, really.
He and I disagree about 97% of damn near anything you can name. I think he'd make a horrible president- besides his views, which I consider to be (and which, economically, are working out to be) ruinous. I think his intellectual/emotional makeup, as evidenced by his personal behavior and his political career, is more suited to commanding a small, elite company than to being a general or a Commander-in-Chief.
Nonetheless, his behavior until eight years ago was largely that of a man of integrity- one who acted consistently, according to his views, and who spoke up firmly and audibly on the rare occasion when a colleague said or did something with which he disagreed.
Even though he wasn't my candidate, or even from my favored party, I was furious at the insults Bush threw his way in 2000- and not just because Rove all but used the word 'miscegenation' (or even because hearing the word 'Rove' causes me mild nausea). I was furious because those statements were lies from start to finish, and because they took the best of the dignity and ideals of someone who tried to live by them and trod them into the dirt. McCain didn't deserve that kind of abuse.
When he stood beside Bush in 2004, a lot of my respect for McCain's integrity vanished. But I still thought he might have retained some of it, even as he was turning into a sort of neocon functionary.
I've watched the progress (if indeed anything so backwards and intermittently moronic can be called that) of this election with mounting horror. I truly believe (and have for nearly 2 years now) that Barack Obama will prove to be one of our great presidents; that he has the intellect, the aplomb, the statecraft, the tact, and the ingenuity to handle and to improve the dire morass of a country whose reins he'll take. For that reason alone some of the things that were said about him, during the primaries and afterward, repulsed me.
But with the advent of Governor Palin the presidential election reached a new low. Bored through the bottom of the barrel, in fact, and it's just kept going. (Perhaps it's an Alaskan cultural tradition of which I'm ignorant- a compulsory personal quest for oil...?)
It shouldn't have been unexpected. Palin's attacks on Senator Obama's trustworthiness and intentions as an American citizen (nothing she's said can be interpreted as any less)- her nearly explicit allegations, in fact, of treason- are, as her record shows, what's to be expected of a woman of her intellectual and moral accomplishments, upon which I'll refine at a later date.
And please don't think that said refinement will consist of insults to Governor Palin. It is not possible to insult Governor Palin.
Her behavior is no longer capable of shocking me, but her behavior in the context of the fact that she's John McCain's running mate has filled me with dismay. This, this is the campaign of the man whose strength- whose ability to withstand years of torture- I'd admired since grade school?
And then, yesterday, that man emerged from the welter of pandering he's done for the last eight years- from the degradation he inflicted on himself to become a 'viable candidate'. For a moment- a moment when his integrity and his conscience were so outraged by the lies being told in his name that he had to correct them, even though it cost him the approval of his audience- he was the man I'd known about since seventh grade.
For a few minutes last night, the man I used to respect appeared.
And unless he acts to rein in his campaign, acts now, he'll be remembered, after a lifelong career of government service, as the man who, because his opponent was winning, accused him of treason based on his name. Palin may have uttered the words; but what the history books will record is that they were said by McCain's campaign.
John McCain- the McCain who spoke up in defense of the patriotism, if not the governing credentials, of his opponent yesterday- doesn't deserve to be remembered that way.
I wouldn't vote for him. I don't want him running the country. I think he'd be a very bad president- again, his policy views are proving disastrous.
But yesterday I really was glad to see, for a little while, the John McCain that existed until eight years ago .
I miss him. I really do.
11/16/2008 at 16:02
McCain, Palin, and Parma
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