There's a plumber in the basement doing routine cleaning for our furnace, a noisy task, so I have the kitchen TV on mute and have been watching the "news bites" on the bottom of the screen on MSNBC and CNN. Here are some funny things I've seen:
"Palin defends tone of campaign, says it is not 'mean-spirited.'"
Ahem. I disagree.
"Obama: If we can spend $10 billion a month in Iraq, we can spend it in Ohio."
Senator Obama, I love you, I really do. But I think the point is not to spend more than we have, anywhere.
"McCain says Obama 'measuring the drapes' for White House."
Okay, what is this supposed to mean? Invention of a new form of domestic terrorism, death by draperies?
I found the tone of the campaign last week very troubling. I know that McCain took the microphone away from the woman who referred to Obama as "Arab" the other night and then described Obama as a "decent family man." Does he mean that Arabs cannot be decent? There is so much wrong with the whole scenario, it's hard to know where to begin. Probably the most disturbing story to me involved a pastor giving a prayer at a Davenport, Iowa, rally:
god, be they Hindu, Buddah, or Allah, that (McCain’s) opponent wins. I
pray that you step forward and honor your own name.” Ends with “in
Well, that's going beyond the little "updates" at the bottom of the screen, but I can't let it go by. I realize that a lot of the organization of these rallies goes on locally. I realize that no one can stop a crowd member from shouting out whatever enters his or her head. But the climate being created is not neutral, it's developed with aggressive specificity, by both sides. It's disingenous to brush off responsibility for the overall event, for the effect of the live moments on the general discourse.
A president is in a powerful position to model behaviors not only for our country but for the world. For the past eight years we've been embarassed by nicknames and unwanted backrubs and a general climate of "let's go get 'em" and "mission accomplished" when no such ends had been achieved. What we've seen in this general election campaign on Obama's part is a concerted effort to rise above whatever it may be, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. I can't believe I'm about to give credit to Joe Scarborough, but this morning he said something with which I agree when he wondered why Obama doesn't just say with some considerable firmness, "Yes, I am named after my father. My name is Barack Hussein Obama. I understand you're named after your dad, too."
We live in a country full of people from a variety of backgrounds. I grew up with the name Spong and I know my dad was teased as a child about being Chinese, for Pete's sake. I wish I felt more sure that we are moving beyond that kind of biased, ignorant, self-justifying smack-talking. But the world is full of bullies, and they will make their cowardly attacks wherever they see an opening, and this crap that has been unloaded by the McCain campaign and the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies is just that: bullying.
I'd like to see McCain say the full name at the debate, and then I'd like to see Obama give him the "come here" gesture made famous in The Matrix. The whole thing is THAT irritating.
(I am now picturing the two of them in mid-air, and I am REALLY enjoying it.)
By the way, the guy who is putting the Treasury plan in place? His name is Neel Kashkari. Who is he? Where is HE from? Ooooo, this is scary!! Bald guys? Don't look like me.
That is the approximate level of discourse, and I've had enough of it. Who's with me?