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Thursday, September 04, 2008

My Twenty-five Cents Worth: The Ice is Melting

It would have been "a nickel's worth", but what with the present state of galloping inflation and recession, I've made an adjustment and used an Alaskan Quarter.

Here beginneth the rant on Sarah Palin's Maiden Voyage Speech to the RNC last night.

I've been waiting breathlessly for someone to say of her that which was once said of Senator Obama.

Didn't happen, so I'll say it. "She's well spoken."

She was. Crystal clear. Articulate. Intelligent. Pulled no punches - in fact, threw a few sucker-punches all her own.

I did like the 'lipstick' remark ("What's the difference between a 'hockey mom' and a pit bull?"). Seemed ad libed. Quick wit. And, in my own experience, quite true.

And . . . and . . . and . . . did you hear the Freudian slip about her husband? She said something like, ". . a blue-collar worker, a four-time state champion ski mobile . . . something or other. (Sigh, I can be such a girly-girl!), a Native Eskimo, a wonderful father and loving husband. . . blah, blah, blah (okay, she's got a right to be proud of her family) . . . Put that all together," she said, not looking at her notes (danger, danger Dr. Freud), "and, well, he's quite a package."

Well, whenever I hear heterosexual women (or bi/homo men) referring to a man with "quite a package" I know what they are REALLY talking about.

Ms. Conroy (who had walked out of the room after about 5 minutes of Rudy's Guilanni's warm up . . . speech . . . which was really, really awful, wasn't it?), was listening from the other room. She raised the spot on her forehead where her eyebrow used to be and called out, her voice dripping with sarcasm, "Those heterosexuals are always soooo in your face about their sexuality! Don't you wish they could just be a little more disciplined and discreet?"

Made me giggle. It was a good balance to the many, many times I grit my teeth when she outright lied or made fun of Obama's "community organizing" experience (excuse me, Lady Sarah, but community organizing is how 'the average American' can have an impact on out-of-touch politicians) - or that sarcastic crack about "Hope is not a strategy."

Well, why yes, dear, it is. Especially for Christians.

Oh, and that whole holier-than-thou stuff about the Alaskan "bridge to nowhere" - and "I returned most of the money" (yeah, right!) and then had the audacity to triumphantly claim that in less than 2 years she had "balanced the budget" in Alaska.

Hmmm . . . cause / effect? Let's hear a definition and a full financial accounting of "most," shall we?

And I am sooooo over all the 'McCain was a POW' track, and how he suffered for this country. Hey, I'll give the guy his due and my genuine thanks as well, but not when the horror of having been a POW is exploited as an introduction to all that shameful, disgusting rhetoric bordering on fear-mongering about 9/11.

If you looked carefully, you could see Carl Rove and Dick Chenney's hands at the back of her neck, moving her lips when she talked that talk.

What about the economy? Isn't it fascinating that we've not heard anything about what reality is 'at Ground Zero' for the American people much less a strategy for setting this country back on the right economic track?

Oh, no. Let's not get into the issues that are hitting "the average American" where they really live. Let's just keep them gazing "out there" - across the fruited planes, mesmerized by the golden waves of grain, and keep them focused on what it means to live in this great country, proud to be "An American."

And, when they move their eyes, put a picture of the Twin Towers in front of them to keep them terrified.

That way, they won't notice the suffering of poverty or disease or sub-standard education for our children or the un/under employment that continues to drag more folk who have a tenacious but weakening grasp on their place in the middle class deeper into poverty.

While we've got them proud and scared, let's talk about the plan to end our addiction on fossil fuels by ending our dependence on "foreign oil" and replace that with an addiction to our own fossil fuel.

Never mind that she sacrifices the ecology (but boosts the economy) of her own state with the building of a pipe line to continue to feed our addiction (No wonder her approval rate is 80% in Alaska).

It's a hideous slight of hand trick which works after you've "Roved" them over. It's been very effective for the past eight years. When are people going to wake up?

Here endth the rant.

Here beginneth the hope:

In my current favorite book, "The Dignity of Difference," Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tells of a speech made in 2000 at the United Nations which was deeply moving and offered a sign of the hope that comes when we finally begin to tell the truth.

These are the words of an Eskimo from Greeland, Angaangaq Lyberth, who, Rabbi Sacks reports, spoke "quietly to that audience, so remote from his normal world":

"About ten years ago, now, one of my people came back to our village and reported a strange phenomenon 'There is a trickle of water coming down the glacier. I think that the ice is melting.' Today that trickle has become a stream. So I say to you while we sit here sharing words of peace: The ice is melting . . . The ice is melting."

The world is not a single machine. What happened in Denver and is happening in St. Paul has had and will have a direct effect on what is happening in Alaska and in Mississippi and Louisiana.

We must look past the fiery rhetoric and empty promises of political speeches and learn to tell / speak the truth to each other. Indeed, I think the only way to find a strategy of hope or recovery is through the truth.

I've recently read that Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson thinks the next president should establish a "truth commission" to give Americans a full account of the Bush administration's torture policies and practices.

Yeah, that's a great start. So is hearing the truth about how we really got into the War in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as how the economy got into such bad shape, and how our health care system is morally and ethically bankrupt, and how we have allowed oil companies to make obscene profits in the board room while soaring gas prices at the pump plunge more and more people into poverty, and the national disgrace of our educational system and the scandal of the gang rape of Mother Earth.

All of that truth-telling would be very, very helpful if we are to have any hope of finding health in this great country of ours and bring us back from the abyss.

The ice is melting. . . the ice is melting.


thailandchani said...

Very, very well-written! I agree with all your points.


Fran said...

You are not kidding about the ice.

BTW, I am just about to finish chapter 3 of that AMAZING book by Sacks.

If I did not already love you for all the humor, wisdom, insight and more that you have shared so generously here... well let's just say I love and thank you more than ever for my new favorite book as well.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you both Thailandchani and Franiam. There's just no stoping me when I get my "Hillary" on.

Robert said...

I noticed that she conveniently left out the fact that she originally supported and lobbied for the "bridge to no where". Additionally it turned my stomach when she promised to be an advocate for those with disabled children, using her own disabled child for political gain and then conveniently forgot to make the same promise to the families with unwed teenagers.

ktbee1 said...

I watched the "warm-up" act of Rudy Guiliani and was reminded of the comedians at the end of their careers performing in the Irish Alps otherwise know as the Catskill Mountains. Shecky Greene and Buddy Hackett come to mind. What an absolute embarassment that man is with his second wife glowing in his glory while no sightings of his children were made at the convention. It was almost unbearable for me to continue watching as the VP elect came on but I did and was really saddend by her sarcastic, demeaning yet well spoken speech that was obviuosly written by Rove and Cheney. I expected her to pull out a shotgun and let loose while whooping it up with the cowboys. I hold on to my hope - and pray that our government is returned to the people.

the Reverend boy said...

I try not to give "Amen" comments if I can help it but this time I will make an exception ...


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Robert - great observation. Although, I must admit that my absolute favorite part was watching 7 year old Willow trying to fix her baby brother "Trig's" hair.

When she licked her palm and smoothed down his hair, I about fell off my chair.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ktbee - oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear. It occurs to me that Rudy must have spent too much time in the "Irish Alps" (I always thought it was the "Jewish Alps".

Thank you my brother Rev Boy, for that Amen. Check out the latest post from JibJab. Can't hardly wait for Ms. Betty Butterfield.

Hiram said...

Palin said, "well, he's quite a package."

Well, whenever I hear heterosexual women (or bi/homo men) referring to a man with "quite a package" I know what they are REALLY talking about.

She was talking about her husband as a total person, not simply about certain aspects he possesses.

Since you are determined not to like her, I am sure such distinctions matter little to you. But if you are going to critique a person for what he or she says, at least note what is actually said.

One reason we are having such a dreadful time in the country and in the Episcopal Church is because there are at least two major perspectives on the nature of reality in play - and they are ultimately incompatible. Only time will tell how they play out - and it will be a painful process.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hiram wrote: "Since you are determined not to like her"

Wait: She is a life member of the NRA, she exploited the life of her own disabled child to promise advocacy for parents of other disabled children, but conveniently forgot the state of her own pregnant teen and didn't promise anything to them or their struggling parents; she says that she sent back "most" of the government money for the Alaskan "bridge to nowhere" and balanced the budget, but refuses to reveal how much "most" is; she is under investigation for "Trouper Gate" - a nasty family squabble that she is trying to settle by firing her previous brother-in-law; . . . . I could go on and on but I'll stop there/

Hey, what's not to like?

the Reverend boy said...

One good thing will come out of the pick of Sarah Palin as the running mate for John McCain …

The Democrats will not be able to think that everyone who voted for Senator Hillary Clinton will just “roll over” and vote for Senator Barack Obama. The story of her life that she is presenting will, for better or for worse, resonate with a great deal of women in this country.

The one piece of Good News that I can share about her nomination is that the voices of women will be taken seriously in this campaign ... and is further proof that Hillary Clinton laid to rest any doubt that a woman could be President of the USA.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, and Hiram - about "the package".

Just this: "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus."

Vive la differnce.