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Monday, September 8, 2008

On Politics

Conan O'Brien: "While she was addressing the crowd, Sarah Palin spent a lot of time criticizing Barack Obama's campaign speeches for not having enough specifics. ... Obama was reportedly angry about the claim, but didn't say exactly why."

This quote made me laugh and reminded me of how I felt when I was watching the conventions the last couple of weeks.

While watching Obama's speech, listening to his declarations of Change and what he was going to do, I found myself asking out loud, "And how, exactly, are you going to do that? What are you going to do to make that possible? What does that even mean?" My questions hung in the air in my living room like so many dangling prepositions, unanswered and unaddressed.

While watching McCain's speech, I found myself starting the same questions. "So how are you going to do that...?" Only before I could say more I found myself staring at the screen in astonishment when I realized that, instead of going on to the next goal, McCain was elaborating on how he planned to accomplish the one he just mentioned. My jaw dropped and I resisted the urge to look around my living room for secret listening devices. Did he just hear me? How did he do that?

Even if you know who you're going to vote for, I've always thought it a good idea to try to stay informed about what the other candidate is all about. I don't always do this very well in my busy, soccer mom world. And it can be even more difficult when you're trying to read between the lines of a biased media.

The Democratic Convention? It was a regular scheduling blackout. All the major networks aired it live, leaving no other options for the couch potato too lazy to get up and find the remote.

The Republican Convention? Completely different story. I thought maybe I had the wrong night. Only PBS and a couple of cable stations were airing it live, the major networks completely ignoring it and airing regularly broadcasted shows...

Was this nation-wide? Or just in Ohio? I guess they thought the little people wouldn't notice...

Ohio is supposed to be one of the deciding states in this year's election. Ever since the conventions, it would seem that more and more people around here are starting to pay attention -- and advertise their political leanings. Obama signs went up first on these suburban properties, for the most part. Our neighbor across the street has an Obama bumper sticker on his car.

But the neighbor next to him has a McCain sign in his yard, as do more and more homes in this Dayton suburbia.

I knew who I was going to vote for well before the conventions. Maybe not so much because I was for a particular candidate, but simply because I am not a socialist. But like so many others, I am also excited about Palin. Oh, yes I am. Not just for this election, but for the possible future ahead for her, and what it could mean for women of this country, for the Republican Party, for the country as a whole.

Naysayers can nitpick and criticize all they want. The only reason they have anything to pass judgment on is because she's actually made decisions and has implemented policy that directly affected people and their government. She has led. Talk, schmalk. Leadership requires action, not just ideas. Leaders have to make decisions, not just show up and press the present button.

And this is just the vice presidential candidate.

I'm excited about this election because, either way you look at it, history is being made. We will either have our first African American President, or our first female Vice President. And I don't have any problem with Palin being a mother of five, the youngest special needs. I mean, there is a father in the picture, after all. What is he, chopped liver? So many women have to work. She is obviously called to serve in public office, and she does it with passion. She's fitter than many women half her age, and while her type of work carries with it much responsiblity, yes, it also likely affords more creative flexibility than the schedules of most working mothers.

That is my two bits, though I don't usually get half that far with anyone I actually talk to face to face. Talking politics is so difficult, so potentially volatile. In Germany you could have a great debate and disagree and yell at each other -- then walk off and grab a beer, arm in arm. Americans hold their views so dear, so personal. It's difficult to disagree with someone's viewpoint without feeling like you're offending their person.

We don't have any political signs up in our yard -- though John does sport some ... interesting stickers on his car. He was at Home Depot the other evening, and he came out and noticed a guy standing behind his car and looking at this:

John couldn't decide if he was looking so intent because he was confused, or fuming.

He's a funny guy, that one.

When we were living in Italy, John put some stickers on our vehicles that were, um, a little misleading. When my friend Ruth saw mine from a distance she thought maybe John had decided a peace symbol would detract from any possible anti-Americanism. You know, toward the not-so-subtle American SUV.

I said, "Um, look a little closer."

I suppose you could find two meanings in that, depending on whether you spoke English or not.

He has one more sticker on his car, one that I still have to have him explain to me from time to time, so vague and random it seems to me.
I'm not going to try to explain it here; I'm very curious if anyone reading can get it on their own. Anyone? Anyone? Let's just say I'd be DOUBLY impressed if you get it and are a female type. Because this one is so strictly a guy thing to me.

And please mention who you're going to vote for, or if you intend to vote, and who you think is going to win. No pressure -- and no obligation. I'm just curious, and I think this will be so interesting to look back on once more history has been written.


judy said...

No doubt about it . . . It's McCain and Palin. And I'm about ready to turn David Letterman off forever!

Scott and Hannah said...

We had a very interesting political discussion with friends at dinner tonight. I think that this election has made such an impact on my generation. I wouldn't necessarily call myself extremely political. This is coming from a gal whose father made her run into the courthouse on the way out of town on vacation to vote in a local election! But, during an election year, and especially this one, I will be voting for McCain/Palin.

Change is inevitable. I am excited about this very historical election. Now if I can just get my husband to get on board. He doesn't have much interest in getting involved.

Mrs. Staff Sergeant said...

It's McCain/Palin for me too. I'll spare the endless list of reasons why. That would turn into a blog post in itself!

I found myself nodding in agreement with your entire post! What was up with the Republican convention not getting the same coverage through the media as the Democratic one? That really irked me! Only the liberals get to be represented on TV these days?? humph.

And I have been saying the same thing about Obama from the beginning: all sorts of lofty ideas- but HOW exactly does he plan to accomplish all of these big plans? He never elaborates on any of that...I'm looking forward to some one-on-one debates between the 2 candidates. Maybe we'll hear more substance from him then. (or maybe not :P)

Jennifer said...

You are so brave! I have so far been to cowardly to voice my political views on my blog, mainly b/c I have friends who read who I know will disagree with me.

As a Christian, I have to vote for McCain/Palin for no other reason than the pro-life stance. But I absolutely ADORE Sarah. I watch her on tv and think, "That could be a women I know. She is so normal, yet extraordinary." I love her.

Thanks for a thoughtful post.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. This was a great read. It made me think how my friends are all so careful to tell a joke or express much of a position unless they know the political affiliation of the other person(s). I must admit I also have this tendency.

I will be voting for McCain/Palin for oh so many reasons. Among them is the fact I resent the liberal media and the Hollywood crowd swooning so over Obama.

I watched both conventions, or tried to. My TV died on the second day of the Republican Convention. I thought I would go mad!

I am very excited about Sarah Palin!

Carolyn said...

There was an e-mail going around about the new Alaska license said "OMama 08"

I thought it was cute.

Jerilyn said...

Great blog Jolyn. I'm voting McCain/Palin (of course). Thought Palin's speech was very good. I know this has been said, but she reminded me of Reagon (for all you too young to remember). Missed McCain's because I was at Reed's ballgame and didn't get the tivo working correctly.

The Democrat media have been ignoring Republicans more and more each year (since forever). And when people complain they act like "What?" As I was told many years ago, you can't argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel (or TV time by the ---).

Don't forget to pay attention to your Congressional elections also. Congress is where many decisions are actually made. When the deficit went down there was a Republican Congress. Now that we have a Democrat Congress?

Jolyn said...

Of course you are right about Congress, "jerilyn": that election just doesn't have the fervor and bling that the presidential one does. Plus, I'm not registered to vote in Ohio (have kept Tx for a couple of moves now) so I'm not used to paying attention to the local politics...

Is NO ONE reading this an Obama supporter? Really?

Jolyn said...

Hey, no takers on the "jihadists don't surf" sticker? Anyone? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Jolyn, where are you? :) This isn't the Jolyn I remember! j/k! Definitely Obama for this camp. We will be completely devastated if McCain wins. It's funny what you said about Obama's speech vs. McCain's because I thought the exact opposite. Obama laid everything out and then said, and here's how I'll pay for it.

Wish we lived closer so we could talk/see each other more!!

xoxo The Bernhards

Anonymous said...

Okay, have to join in.
Obama/Biden supporter all the way,
although I would have liked to
see Hillary in the White House
as VP.

When I read about all the troubles
going on all over the U.S., so many foreclosures, gas, medicine
and on and on, and then see that
John McCain has agreed with Bush
90 percent of the time, not to mention, its time to bring everyone home from Iraq , not
to mention the cost of that war,
where we were duped, AND the fact that I had an in to read exactly
what Sarah Palin has actually
done in Alaska, I just cant
understand anyone voting for
This is the first time I've read
your blog, and I was also very
surprised to see that maybe one
person is going to vote for the
democratic party - which in essence, means to me, that
we are all happy with what has
gone on here in the past 8 years.
Voting for McCain, who is definitely patriotic, although
I truly think that he suffers
from PTSD, and thinking of anything happening to me at his
advanced age, and then having
Palin in there, is very, very
scary to me. I didn't enjoy
the drill drill audience at all,
and I watched the whole RNC
convention, not to mention
the inappropriate boos, just
not for me.
I see the CNN polls report
that certain polls show that
McCain/Palin are leading, although
CNN was quick to say that's not
their opinion, and I guess we'll
all find out on Nov.4th.

God bless America, but come on.

Are you all happy with what has
gone on ? What has John/Sarah
said to make you think he will
help you and your families
and still carry on with this
war causing trillions of dollars,
and I've spoken to people from
many countries, and they all cannot believe that change will
happen when McCain is who he is.
Again, I will not take away
from his patriotism (although I
really don't like that he left his
crippled wife after her car accident) One thing I will say,
they are both opportunists, and
I also would implore you to look
further into what Sarah Palin
has really done in Alaska from
the people that are surrounding
her. Check out the library incident and firing the librarian.
Yes, she is a beautiful woman,
and I hate that more that men
are all googoo about that.
She may be a pitbull, but where
I'm from, pitbulls are banned.
Oh gosh, long long comment,
I don't have a blog, but am
a reader and although I read
all the way through this post
and the comments, lets just
say 'we agree to disagree'
and if the letter I have from
her former right hand in Alaska
wasn't 'confidential', I definitely
would send it to you. Trust me,
she bites. Oh yes, pitbull with
lipstick. I like to think of
our neighbours to the north, a
kinder, gentler nation, and I just
don't see this without real change,
no matter who leads this country.

Thanks for this. and no, I don't
get the jihad sticker at all.

But then again, I'm not a guy:) I
come from a staunch Republican
family who get many, many tax
breaks, which also makes me
ill to think that they will keep
on with the rich getting richer,
and middle America getting squeezed to the max.

My Dad gets his photo ops with
the Republicans, I can hardly
WAIT to see his smile/drool
as he will be standing with both
McCain and Palin soon enough.



Jolyn said...

Hey guys, it's still me! It's not like I don't have a heart anymore or anything...I've just, you know, evolved!

Ditto on the geography! Maybe we'll get through colorado again one of these days!

Jolyn said...

"Whew" is right! Thanks for commenting. Really. Appreciated your views and elaboration, though you piqued my interest on the "confidential letter".

I don't think that voting for McCain automatically qualifies someone as being happy with the last eight years. It's complicated, yet simple at the same time... "Agreeing to disagree" sometimes is the only way to go; I just hope there can always be a discussion, which is what this country is all about.

Yes, I can see her bite. I don't think a woman could be in her position without one.

I will be looking for more information on the librarian issue, to be sure. I think Palin is someone who is going to be in the big picture for awhile. At least I hope so. And I will be gathering information on her as much as I can. I will also be watching the upcoming debates with interest, and trust that you will be, too.

Jolyn said...

Also, Kate -
I just wanted to thank you for keeping it clean language-wise. That goes a long way.

No one on the "jihadist" sticker? Ok, I'll give you a hint: it's a reference to a war movie with Martin Sheen.

Jennifer said...

Okay, I have the bumper sticker explained. But I had to call my husband who is in the national guard and is currently in LA cleaning up after Gustaf. Should be home Sat or Sun, thank God!!
Anyway, the sticker.
It is in reference to a line by Robert Duvall in Apocolypse Now. The original line was "Charlie Don't Surf". Charlie refering to the Vietnamese/Vietcon. As my husband explained it, some soldiers were wanting to go surfing but one of them says, "We can't go surfing, we might get blown up", (paraphrasing badly). Robert Duvall came back saying "Charlie Don't Surf", meaning it's ok to surf, because they didn't put any bombs out in the water.

I hope this is remotely close to the correct answer. Is your husband a surfer?

Also, my husband (who had a tour in Iraq in 2004-2005), says the sticker should read "Haji Don't Surf." Haji meaning an arab. But, whatever, I really don't get it either way. . .

Jolyn said...

And you are the winner! Unfortunately you don't get the prize, because you cheated and had to ask your husband. And also, there was never a prize.

No, John is not a surfer. Ha! It's just his random sense of humor. And "Haji don't surf" wouldn't be politically correct (literally) because it would refer to any Muslim who made the pilgrimage to Mecca, whereas a jihadist is an extreme radical terrorist dude. Or dudette.

Also, John didn't actually come up with the sticker himself. Some special ops guys gave one to him when he was in Afghanistan.

So like I said, it's a guy thing. I don't really get it either. Like, why is it so funny? But, whatevuh.

Tam said...

I am late but I got the STICKER well because being between Hunter and Stewart.. and the Rangers that we love and support hereand OOO my Army Husband....I totally got it!

So my Hubs does not like me to talk polictal on the blog because of his JOB...hmmm so how am I going to answer YOU.....hmmm

OK we are an Army Family....does that help? MILITARY is always on our minds and candiates who support the MILITARY!

Shellie said...

I just found your blog and wanted to say hello and say thank you for putting your support for McCain and Palin out there. Most blogs I've seen are totally for Obama and try to make you feel dirty and guilty for supporting McCain. I appreciated a fresh point of view.
Best Wishes to you,