I bought them when I was a gung-ho Republican, before my party decisively betrayed me. Back when it was guilty of human frailty, not treason-level willful stupidity. I attended all sorts of grassroots Republican gatherings, and at those people tend to wear elephant jewelry, scarves, ties, etc. I wonder if Democrats wear jewelry and ties with donkeys on them at their meetings.
I had almost resigned myself to voting for McCain, when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. I had only heard of her once before, when I had read an article gushing about how she was back in the office three days after Trig Palin was born, as if that were a good thing.
I expected my fellow Republicans to be as appalled as I was by the choice. Instead, they responded to my criticism of her with fury. One stopped speaking to me.
I criticized Palin for firing the governor’s chef when she was elected. Why expanding the ranks of the unemployed by one was considered a good thing is beyond me. Though she has been accused of using government funds inappropriately for things like flying her
photo opschildren all over the country with her, her claim that she fired the man to save taxpayers’ money was accepted uncritically, fawningly. She justified it by saying that her children – remember that at the time, the youngest would have been five – were old enough to make their own sandwiches. Now, if I had been left to my own devices at the age of five, I would have lived on Koogle sandwiches, Koogle being a now-defunct brand of sugary, chocolate-flavored peanut butter, essentially Reese’s cups on white bread. When I said this, my fellow Republicans wrathfully declared that all five-year-olds have not only the same knowledge of good nutrition as an adult, but also the self-control to act on this knowledge. One offered as evidence the information that her grandmother baked bread when she was six. Sure, great-grandmother was right there in the kitchen with her, but still, the child was baking it herself, therefore five-year-olds can feed themselves!
Quite aside from nutrition, have we forgotten why families used to eat together, back before microwave ovens? It was bonding time. It was time for the parents to convey behavioral norms to their children. It was to teach good eating habits – like manners and restraint. It’s found that children who eat with their families are less likely to have weight problems. But the Palin children, we are informed, deserve none of this.
Articles heaped praise upon Sarah Palin for commuting four hours a day “in addition” to raising her children. I pointed out that you cannot raise children by spending an exhausted half an hour a day with them. My fellow Republicans furiously insisted that just because Sarah Palin’s two oldest children are both wild kids given to partying and drunkenness and one of them was pregnant at 17 by a drug user is not evidence that she was a neglectful mother. When I tried to point out that teenagers with solid relationships with their parents don’t generally engage in substance abuse or get knocked up, I was firmly informed that there is no connection between parents’ conduct and teenagers’. I suppose a lot of parents who couldn’t be bothered to take care of their children would like to believe that, but hearing it from alleged conservatives was more than distressing.
I suppose we are to dismiss Piper Palin being allowed to carry the newborn Trig while teetering on high heels in the same fashion.
I had a great deal to say about poor Bristol Palin’s dilemma. Teenage girls with good relationships with their parents don’t generally have premature sex. It was wrong of Sarah to accept the nomination, knowing that it would expose her daughter’s problems to international scrutiny. And since Levi Johnston was known to have declared that he didn’t want children, and news reports indicated that the young couple’s relationship was troubled, it seemed to me that the proper thing to do was for Bristol to give the child up for adoption by a pair of grownups, not for the young couple to marry and doom the child to dealing with an almost certain broken home.
After I said all this, a Republican who I had considered very intelligent claimed that he was trying, honestly trying, to understand what on earth I thought was the problem with this, but he just couldn’t see it. Ignoring all of the available information about Levi, he declared that the pair were a brave, responsible young couple making a hard decision in a difficult situation and were fully prepared to deal with the consequences. Whence he got this information, he did not share with me. Also, his great-grandparents were married at the age of 16, and they stayed married and did fine. Certainly the massive changes in laws and societal attitudes concerning divorce wouldn’t make the Bristol-Levi marriage one bit riskier than that of his great-grandparents!
I was not at all surprised that the alleged engagement was dissolved. At least it will be less painful for Tripp not to have to suffer through his parents’ divorce, though of course he’s still stuck growing up without a proper family. Yes, it’s good that she didn’t have him murdered before birth, and the same with Sarah Palin and Trig, but is that how far our standards have slipped? A good mother is one who doesn’t kill her children?
Now she’s resigned as governor of Alaska. I read so many comments about how rambling and erratic her resignation speech was that I found a video clip of it to watch. I cringed all the way through it. The woman sounds like an idiot. Admittedly, I get nearly all of my news in from the written word, and only rarely bother to watch any footage online. I can’t watch television news without having a massive stroke from the utter stupidity, never mind the bias. So maybe all politicians sound like this all of the time. Do they? Or does she sound dumber than most?
At least standards have declined worldwide, so I don’t have to be too embarrassed on behalf of my country. Other industrialized nations are also lousy with incoherent politicians making their countries look bad. But as silver linings go, that’s more of a cruel irony sort of thing.
Naturally speculation is already rampant about why Palin is resigning. To my distress, about half an hour after I heard about it, a Republican friend called to chat and talked at length about how disappointed she is about the resignation. I held my tongue. “I wonder why,” my friend said.
Because she’s about to get in hot water for embezzling or something, I thought. Out loud I said, “I guess we’ll find out.”
“Yeah. I hope it’s something good!” my friend said.
I was so disgusted with my party’s offerings for president this last time around that I gave thought to unaffiliating myself. Not that I had thought the GOP was perfect by any means, but there really is a limit. I decided to keep my affiliation so that I could continue to vote in primary elections.
But if it’s revealed that Palin had to resign because she had her hand in the cookie jar, or the conspiracy theorists turn out to be right and Bristol is Trig’s real mother, or anything else like that, if my fellow Republicans continue their birdbrained support of this birdbrain, I am shaking the dust of the GOP’s tent from my feet.
The good news is, maybe it’ll knock Michael Jackson off the front pages.
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