Okay, I’m going to admit it. Sarah Palin and John McCain make me angry. I’ve been thinking for the last week or so that maybe everything I’ve been taught about being a moral and a nice person is wrong—maybe being mean and vindictive is the only way to get ahead in this world. Beneath this calm exterior, I too have a barracuda inside.
All week I’ve received frantic and depressed emails—Sarah Palin is motivating us—but to what end? In desperation, many people are calling for Obama to fight back. And yet, he won 18 million votes by taking the upper road and calling on us to be inspired and believe in change. If he needs to fight it is on the issues and in the Senate, not in the name calling game.
I want to argue that we need to be nicer. My parents are republican, so I know intimately how difficult it is. They can attest to the fact that I have lost my temper many times in political discussions with them. But it has changed nothing. If anything it made them more resolute. If they change their minds about politics it won’t be because of anything I said.
Our anger gets us nowhere unless we channel it into positive work for change. Channeling our anger means we need to know where to direct it.
The Sarah Palin phenomena is the result of the fact that the economy sucks, people are out of work, homes are being lost, the world is changing, and many people are being left behind and they are rightly pissed. They just don’t know whom to blame. Right wing media pundits on Fox and elsewhere have made a career out of tapping into that anger with populist rhetoric that directs their anger at anything but the cause: latte drinkers, gay people, immigrants, people in other countries, Muslims, liberals, and democrats.
The McCain campaign is sailing on lies right now. He keeps repeating that Obama will raise taxes though Obama has said he would not raise taxes on the middle class during a recession. We need to hammer home that the United States now has nearly a 500 billion dollar debt. It is the largest debt in history. Bush inherited a balanced budget. For the party of George Bush to keep repeating tired worn out ideologies about how they are the fiscally responsible party does not stand up to the facts.
Add to that debt the mortgage crisis and failure of our financial institutions, a result of deregulation—and you get a crisis of great magnitude that hasn’t even fully unfolded.
War for oil? 11 billion dollars a day. Amount spent on helping our auto industry retool to be leaders in this century? Have they even spent a dime on this?
Back to being nice. The party of Bush/ McCain is desperate. They put Sarah Palin on the ticket out of desperation. She was not the strongest candidate experience wise, but she appeals to the religious right and McCain can’t win without them. Bush/McCain can only win at this point by polarizing the country and dividing us. They need us to be screaming at one another at the dinner table for the next four years. They need us to be afraid of one another and distracted. They need a world war to keep us in check.
Bloggers spewing vitriol about how stupid Palin and her supporters are, or even issuing scathing sexist attacks (come on we all feel it) and personal comments, only add to the distraction and polarization, which fuels the Bush/ Cheney/ McCain syndrome.
I’m from Ohio and living on the east coast where I hear plenty of jokes about stupid people in Ohio or West Virginia or Pennsylvania are and it’s based on politics and this too infuriates me. Ohio when I was growing up was the home of John Glenn and Howard Metzembaum, two great liberal senators. People in Ohio did not get stupider. The leadership of the Democratic Party failed. Republicans began to sound like populists and democrats began to sound like mealy-mouthed double talkers. Who are Edward Kennedys of our time? We better get some fast. Lay off West Virginia also. It’s had a hard road—unless you’ve grown up in a mining town, shut up about West Virginia, or at least read some history first. Yes, there is a need to educate people—but our own ignorance needs to be addressed first.
Back to being nice. We need to be civil and turn the conversation back to the issues. War in Iraq. Our failing economy. Our 500 billion dollar debt. Global warming. Our failing industries. Health Care. Support for Veterans. We need to direct our anger and help others find their way. We all live in the same country.
I will admit, nothing makes me madder than to hear John McCain talk about how we need to all just be volunteers and give our lives to service. Like this is going to help young people get jobs again—or afford mortgages in a bloated and collapsing market. And it makes me mad to hear all of the attacks on Obama’s community service. It’s personal. For all of us who have given up high paying jobs to try to do service work and organizing in our communities—it’s beyond the pale.
Here is what we must do with that anger—turn it into action. Get out and volunteer for Obama. Give money. Support movements that are working for change. We must give this campaign our all and then continue the work after in a movement for change that addresses all of these issues.
It won’t be enough to elect Obama—the country is wrecked. We must fix it. We need to reach out beyond our own personal circles—campaign door-to-door. Visit a battleground state and you will find a state that’s been neglected. Listen to people’s concerns. Make them your own. Unite and fight!