Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Culture Wars

I've been wasting a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what's going on with the McCain*Palin ticket. After a flurry of stupidity from both Democrats and Republicans, I think I've got a handle on this thing.

It's the culture war. Stupid.

Listening to the various convention speakers tonight, I thought they started with sane (if Republican) speakers and ended up in wingnut land. That ex-mayor of NYC has his very own version of reality. The speakers went from professional to folksy. I think Giuliani was a deliberate set-up for Palin. An unknown, they wanted to make sure that no matter how she performed she'd look good. She has a great, folksy delivery. She also has an interesting grasp of reality.

I think that the down-hominess will get the social conservatives to pipe up again. And if anyone argues with the folksy "wisdom" of homespun "facts" they are a misogynist. While we're at it, nobody has a moral compass like the the good "Christians" who revile homosexual human beings, ban library books, give their kids sub-par sex education, and are too cool for school when it comes to biology class. I hate this crap with a passion, and can't believe I live in a country where this circus not only takes place but is also taken seriously. Dude, at this rate we're all going to be envious of Malaysia.

Because we have two gigantic political parties that try to unite bizarre constituencies in order to get votes where they need 'em, it is possible to watch the convention of your party of choice with your own personal bias and never hear a word with which you disagree. It's all about the subtext. Every interested constituency has its own code words and phrases that kinda blend in. It's easier for me to spot the looney when I watch the Republicans.

For me (and my personal bias) Palin is about the most horrifying VP candidate imaginable in this election. Obama came to wide attention because of his insistence on cooperation in service of common interest. Palin is a star because she calls bullshit on that and tells the (in my opinion) frightened and small that they can turn back even our limited social discourse until it is "safe" and devoid of substance. This us v them nonsense is a distractor from intelligent debate and virtually guarantees ill-conceived social and foreign policy regardless of who "wins" the presidency.

I'm sick of it. While it is clearly fun for an awful(ly) big group of people to treat public policy as a competitive team sport, it's stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. My temptation is to crawl under a rock and hide, but that doesn't accomplish anything. Wars are depressing. And our nation's ongoing culture war is really getting to me. Do I have to join in to keep the "other side" from "winning?" Dunno. Yuck.


Anonymous said...

I just hit the wrong button and threw away a long rant. Count your blessings.

Take away points are:
1. National candidates are sold out and sanitized to the place you cannot really know them. Vote for the least worst and quit bitching.

2. Real democracy is at the local level. I live where knowing my local candidates is pretty easy. Amazingly it was also pretty easy in the big cities of St Paul and Las Vegas. These are the people who mold the plastic candidates at the top and make the laws and policies that affect us every day.

3. Term limits force us to get rid of our best and brightest public servants just when they are getting good at the job. Term limits blight our democracy. Get rid of them.

4. there are citizen initiatives like the one calling for a cabinet level Department of Peace that can shape the institutional make up of our government whether the big guys want oto get on board or not. Go to

Anonymous said...

Watching the GOP convention the past three evenings has left me ranting. I've been a very cranky shut-in recovering from surgery and running fevers this week, and have shouted a number of not-very-pastoral comments at even the lesser-known speakers. There are a number of reasons for why I can't abide Sarah Palin's place on the GOP ticket. Add "mean-spirited". My hope is that the Obama campaign will not respond in kind.

As I receive daily calls pleading for help from what Jesus referred to as "the least of these", I worry for how they would survive under an administration whose #2 on the ticket didn't mention health care, adequate housing, education, employment, and more. Last night I heard much about military heroes--apparently warriors have more worth than those who serve children, the poor, the elderly, the disabled.....Palin did mention she would be a champion for the needs of special children--perhaps as her infant son grows, she will learn some compassion.

Your momma is ranting on. I agree that involvement locally is important, but that we also need to pay attention to what is going on nationally. It does matter, whether the candidates are sanitized or not. I think it's important to be vocal with the media, too. They need to be told when their coverage sucks.

I've been asked to clear the table for dinner.


SWE said...

Well, I have to disagree with COG point #1. Given that national elections are the one time that large numbers of Americans even pretend to give a crap about politics, I think we can (and should) demand better of the national political dialogue. The candidates are what we allow them to be. Local action is a whole lot more gratifying because you really can see your progress. But that's not an excuse to write off the national campaigns.

I agree that it's a horrible failure that the prospective VP couldn't be bothered to insert some talk about health care, housing, education between all of the snarky one-liners.

Good grief-hold me back!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you called Palin about right. It's now coming out she's pretty close to being the sort of person every American should be ashamed to vote for. But to those who have chosen a certain side in the culture war, she is still their champion.