Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm not gonna write you a love song 'cause you asked me to . . .

Okay, The Diva, I see that you have gotten over trying to hold back.

You've just touched so many of the ideas that are frustrating here. The media thing is so very true. Did you notice many (or any) commentaries that pointed out the absence of a flag pin either on Palin or on McCain? How many reporters illustrate the ways in which Palin's speech was filled with "truthiness"? How many will call Bristol a "baby mama"--which she actually is, as opposed to the married-before-babies Michelle Obama? How many will call Cindy a junkie, one of many labels heaped upon addicts when they are not millionaires?

Here's what is driving me crazy tonight, though: my country and my religion are two different things. This convention is singing love of country like it's hymn number 562. I don't really see the need for my President to love America. I just need for you like it and care about me in the neighborly, what-would-Jesus-do kind of way. To be smart and sound and use good judgment.

Sarah Palin's snotty reference last night to the love she's always had for America doesn't move me. I don't feel so romantic when I think of Sean Bell riddled with policemen's gunshots on his wedding day or people drowning in New Orleans while the media calls them thieves. When you work hard (a phrase which also keeps popping up) at 2 or 3 jobs and you still don't live in a safe neighborhood or have good schools or can't afford to get sick, when people sworn to take care of the country look right past you, perhaps your relationship with America is a little more complicated. Palin's (and Cindy McCain's) kind of simplistic thoughtlessness is exactly the brand of silliness that "energizes the base" but remains unproductive. It's what you are talking about when you write that the party is far too self-righteous. That, coupled with McCain's clear desperation to be President, is too much for me to take. That POW thing is big; I get it. But I still don't worship this country.

I live in the world. The whole world. And God's children live everywhere in it, not just in America. McCain's football cheer declaring, "Make no mistake, we're going to win!" reminds me of the hype around rival high schools. I didn't choose my high school (which, by the way, was mired in historical racial and gender discrimination that were constant obstacles); I just tried to bloom where I was planted, and I saw what was good as well as what was a foot in my neck. Screaming, "We're number one!" always seemed a little silly to me--and I was a cheerleader! Listening to him tonight, I thought about the fact that my initial presence in America is just a fact of my birth. For some people, it's a definite choice. Either way, it's a pretty good place to be at this point in history. But I don't worship her. Patriotism is not my religion.

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