For the last two weeks, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how a country could be seduced into the circus surrounding Sarah Palin. And I think I've got an answer. Shock and comfort. This is just my gut talking and I'll do the research later, but, my personal experience with trauma and shock is that when I'm feeling that way, I usually reach for something that represents comfort - a warm blanket, a baseball game, old episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, red wine and dark chocolate. So what does a country do when it is suffering from prolonged trauma and shock? Return to what we know, or what we think we should know. Return to rhetoric, to the ideas that make us believe we are all going to be all right in this post-Bush/Cheney syndrome we are coming to the end of. To hell with policy, with truths, with what makes sense and is staring us in the face, that a hanging chad at the end of McCain/Palin will take us past reason, past caring, past any semblance of truth.
When we are made to be afraid of everything, then we cling to the things that will make us feel safe. Home, country, the Almighty. Rarely, when most of us are scared out of our bootstraps, do we ever reach for reason.
The real legacy of the Bush/Cheney octet is this - they have successfully created a country where a significant group of citizens are scared. On a daily basis. And not scared of monsters under the bed scared. Scared of basic things such as jobs, bills, health care, education, our planet's well being, security. I know because I'm one of them.
I recently had a heated conversation with a school mom about McCain/Palin and she launched into a talk about self-sufficiency, not expecting others to take care of you and I asked her a simple question - what is so bad about being a nation of people which cares about one another, which translates that care into conscious action that helps to better all of our lives? When did we become a country who cannot display care?
I look at Sarah Palin and I shake my head. I've waited my whole life to vote for a woman for executive office and this is the best we could do? I listen to her scorn and evasion and call herself a reformer and wonder, is this the best we can do? I watch John McCain fumble over words like 'fundamental,' strong' to describe the debacle our economy has become and I wonder, what happened to that war hero?
Is this John McCain the best John McCain can do?
Is this the best we can do?
Please pass me the chocolate.