Friday, September 12, 2008
A couple weeks ago, on the eve of the closing of the Democratic National Convention....the one with the Styrofoam Greek columns and all of the wonderful rhetoric...I made a guess in the dark. I was completely fed up with the way things were going then. I wasn't happy with either side, even as I supported John McCain earlier in the Republican primaries. He was the best of the bunch then...and is still the best of the bunch now.
This brings me to The Pick. I had my reasoning to what would happen after Thursday night when those columns were to be hauled back to some Hollywood backlot. I had my hunches of what should happen. That change was indeed needed. Change not only for the Republican Party, which has been destroyed more by George W. Bush and the faulty leadership he has provided in these eight years...the latter four of which I signed off for in 2004, as you might recognize from my earlier political posts from that time. It wasn't out of stupidity that I agreed with this man then...nor was it for over half the voting electorate that we agreed with this flawed man and his flawed leadership. It was in spite of these flaws that we voted for this man...and for that party of which he has—for better or worse—represented these tumultuous eight years.
Much has happened these eight years, a lot of which has changed not only the political landscape but the very fiber of which our country sees itself and how the world sees our country. This hasn't been for the best most of the time. We do have a realization across the country since our pre-9/11 era of the true nature of those who wish our civilization and culture to be no more. At the same time, we have had serious flaws in reacting to this threat, reactions that have not only taken our eyes away from the very dangerous threats that we still haven't addressed or subdued. We cannot take a head-in-sand approach. We must face these threats head-on and be as judicious in our actions abroad and built consensus with our allies.
Will either side of the political spectrum do this to the satisfaction needed to move our country forward? I doubt it as I've doubted it since we've gone into Iraq in 2003. But this is where the Democrats have been lost in the response to the threats at hand since then.
While they've been squabbling on what was so wrong about going into Iraq they haven't been providing solutions to solve the problems at hand. The same mantra has been to get out of Iraq no matter the cost. It's a policy of expediency that takes nothing into account for the security of the region. We do not need anarchy in the Middle East. Think our gas prices are high now? Think of it when the region is even further destabilized! We have been caught with our pants down in not only our execution of the military operations in the region but also our dependency to foreign oil there and elsewhere with nations that do not have our best interests at heart. Furthermore, we are simply too cozy with Saudi Arabia for our best interests and for democracy in the region. Simply put: enough is enough.
We as a nation must come together to solve these problems. The problem isn't that we don't have the answers, but it's that we have a nation of apathetic people more ready to give into a popularity contest rather than learn about the issues…and when new people come onto the scene to berate their inexperience. Both sides, as you might have seen this election season, have done exactly this.
This race has rarely been about the issues—because either side has refrained from giving clear policy thoughts on issues. It's all about how bad the other guy (or woman) is. It's been about lipstick on pigs, old doddering men, people who "don't get it", about being "the ones we've waited for", and a whole assortment of one-liners that don't get to the heart of the issues. Let's clear the clutter.
I had predicted Palin being picked by McCain as the VP pick for a couple of reasons:
1) She is a reformer.
2) She is not from Washington.
3) She is relatively untainted by the old politics of the Republican Party.
4) She is "Pro-Life."
On the first point, she has taken on the old vanguard of her state party organization. She does have some issues with in fact taking the Bridge to Nowhere funding though ultimately being against the project and for requesting earmarks as city mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, but in the end she is a breath a fresh air for Republicans...and potentially a number of Americans overall.
In fact, in the days after the announcement of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate, Chris Matthews did make a point similar to one that I noted in the conversation with a similarly-minded friend back in Louisiana a couple days before the pick, on August 26th. Specifically, that Palin is a sort of Bobby Jindal of the North. She is a new face, ready to take on the old politics of her state and make reforms for the better of all of her state. Jindal, who unfortunately was busy (as he ought to have been at the time) keeping Louisiana running and prepared for the onslaught of Hurricane Gustav that weekend to even make a step onto the national stage. In both Palin and Jindal, they provide a new set of faces to an old and dying party. The mantle of the party needs renewal, like most of the country. This isn't just a slogan or a catch phrase—it's a reality.
On the second point, she clearly isn't part of the Beltway politics. There's no way she can be labeled to be part of the Beltway politics. One of the huge issues (of many issues) I had with Mitt Romney overall. This is both a positive and a negative. She is, as a result, more apt to charges of being too inexperienced, much like Barack Obama was being accused of by the McCain and Clinton campaigns earlier in the election season. The problem for Obama is that he has been "tainted" by his involvement in Washington politics while doing very little in the way of authoring comprehensive legislation. So not only does he not have executive experience whatsoever but he has little legislative experience, too. Couple that with the fact that he's at the top of the ticket and she at the bottom and it leads to a great deal of confusion by the electorate which should be much more against another Republican administration, no matter their stripes or new changes. That is why the election polls are so close...and why it appears McCain has overcome Obama in the polls slightly as of late. And adding Biden at the bottom of the ticket does little but solidify the difference of understanding on the ticket (a bottom-heavy ticket rather than a top-heavy ticket). In fact, it's very much like a Bush-Cheney ticket with left political flavorings. Talk about "change!"
On the third point, Sarah Palin isn't an old face of the Republican party, which up to this time has been, for better or worse, the party of Old White Men. It's true, but it doesn't have to—nor should it—remain that way. Again, the Republican party needs a facelift. It needs some va-voom, some revving up. And by revving up, I don't necessarily mean beauty-queen popularity or "simply a pretty face" but that of a person who is of a different cloth than most Republicans. Yes, she doesn't have any foreign policy experience, but for that matter neither has Obama who has rarely traveled outside the United States, unless you count that trip to Europe with his celebrity speech in Berlin (an obvious blatant attempt to channel John F. Kennedy). Speaking of which, why does each side try to channel JFK or Reagan at every possible moment? Are these men (and women) their own persons? Honestly.
But back to the topic, her lack of foreign policy experience is indicative of the problems with the Democratic ticket at the top. Furthermore, VP picks don't require foreign policy experience...unless the top of the ticket doesn't have it, regardless of how old or young the top of the ticket is. There will be a learning curve for either president and vice president. Always have, always will.
On the fourth point, one that matters most to me personally, I see only gold for the Republicans. And this is where I think the Democrats "just don't get it" as Sen. Obama would say. The Democrat party is shutting those out of their party with the politics of abortion. If you want to have a compassionate approach to the issue, which there should be, then mandate funding or assistance to the mothers of unexpected children. Do not force the killing of innocents by your policy. Conversely, the politics of the Republicans hasn't been peachy either. They have used it as a political football and there is great hesitancy on this election for people like me who are Pro-Life. We don't want to be fooled again by an administration that uses issues like that and foist another set of policies that hurts our country and our place in the world. We feel betrayed.
That's what the uniqueness of the pick of Sarah Palin is for the Pro-Life movement. No, I don't mean the vocal and graphic segment of the Pro-Life movement that wishes to scream "BABY KILLERS" to all those going into clinics. No, we are the silent majority, good people of this country that see a woman—and by extension a society—caught in the crosshairs of a Culture of Death, one devoid of promises for life. We must not ignore the least defendable in our midst. We, the ones who pray on the street corners outside these clinics of despair that call death a "choice," are fed up. We see nothing but despair for those going in. Our prayers go out to those inside, not just to change the laws of this country but the hearts and minds of those who see things so differently than us. We do not call them names or do other things to shock them into submission. Rather, we wish to see change happen to save the millions lives of the children aborted each year. We wish to see a conversion of hearts in our midst, not to point the finger and use a "holier than thou" approach. We are a pro-life nation in exile.
In the pick of Sarah Palin there is an even greater promise for the country than it was going into the 2000 election. And yet, there is great resistance ahead for the Movement. That is why Sarah Palin has such popularity in the country right now. It's not that the Republicans, through John McCain, have picked a woman for VP. No, it's that McCain has chosen a pro-life person to help change this country, to reform it in ways untold.
The road ahead is one that is fraught with dangers. There will be continued missteps by both the Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin campaigns. The thing that must be avoided is a race on personalities and return it to a race on the issues. How do we become a more compassionate nation and a more righteous nation of citizens who not only have passionate beliefs and concerns for our country but a nation of citizens who can take pride in their government for standing on the right side of life in all instances. We must truly become a beacon shining on a hill—a true bastion of democracy and of true civil rights.
We must learn what kind of change we need after these eight years. It cannot and should not return to the status quo politics that we've been subjected to these eight years—or the eight years before that was with Clinton. We must have actual change, not just a slogan and eloquent words.
To both campaigns: lose the pig-and-lipstick lines, lose the old-fish-in-paper analogies. Give us true answers for the issues that matter the most.