Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Refreshing"?! Try "Irresponsible!"

My Swedish husband made the mistake of asking me what I thought about John McCain’s vice presidential choice Alaska governor Sarah Palin. As a Democrat, I certainly wasn’t happy with the choice, but since I don’t plan to vote for McCain I didn’t care too much…at first.

But then I started thinking about the possible consequences if McCain does get elected and becomes disabled or dies in office, and I did a slow burn. I’m angry. In fact, I’m furious about his choice. While some observers call it “refreshing,” it’s just pandering of the lowest, basest sort. I’m insulted by the choice and furious with McCain for putting the country at risk if Palin were to assume the presidency.

Assumedly, the purpose of the choice is to solidify his base with the right wing of the Republican Party. But there is also speculation that Palin’s selection is an attempt to win over disgruntled Clinton supporters.

I’m angry with those former Clinton supporters who, in a fit of sour grapes, refuse to support Obama. My message to them: Don’t you understand that this election is about more than a single person? When you chose to participate in Democratic Party caucuses and primaries, you identified yourselves as Democrats first, Clinton supporters second. The presidency is about much more than a single individual. It’s about setting policy, appointing cabinet officials and judges, and shaping the tone and texture of the United States. You want to give this responsibility to a conservative (yes, don’t be deceived; he is conservative) like McCain and a backwater novice like Palin because you’re angry that Clinton didn’t get the Democratic nomination? Are you crazy?!

That some conservatives hope women will choose McCain because his running mate is female is such a shallow and patronizing take on female voters – it’s downright insulting. I didn’t support Clinton because I don’t like her style and approach. And I’m certainly not enticed by Palin who supports the opposite of almost everything I stand for, even if she is a woman.

But, mostly, I’m fed up with this country being hijacked by the political right. I’m sick to death of having my patriotism questioned because I don’t wear an American flag pin, support prayer in public schools, or walk around carrying a gun. Patriotism has nothing to do the symbols and trappings of the political right. It’s about using your head and your heart to preserve the freedoms and values identified by those port-sipping, intellectual elites otherwise known as our Founding Fathers who signed newspaper letters to the editor in Latin!

McCain’s choice puts base politics before the welfare and safety of the United States. To put an inexperienced, ultra-conservative - and in McCain’s case - a not inconsiderable heartbeat away from the presidency shows only disrespect for the office and contempt for American voters.

I love the United States. Too bad John McCain doesn't.