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Friday, September 05, 2008

Pondering McCain

I listened to John McCain give his speech last night at the Republican convention in St. Paul. It's given me a curious case of ambivalence. How can I turn away from a man who says: "I hate war"?

This is perhaps the only ideological stance that we agree upon. But his pronouncement was solid, so unmistakably genuine, that I had to pause and wonder about the man. I have no doubts about the hysterical crowd of delegates -- the individuals who accosted "protesters" holding peace signs and hauled them out of the chambers. I have no doubts about the bloodthirsty, gridiron chants of USA! USA! I have no doubts about the rowdy white hats, the teary-eyed housewives, the crusty veterans, the wild and wishful eyes beseeching McCain for more virulent attack, fierier words, venom and vendetta. I can easily interpret the soporific looks as McCain spoke of less sexy issues.

I have an image of a party that seeks a call to arms in the most literal way; the same party that demonizes citizens of foreign countries as a means to kill without conscience. This is a party that imperils a woman's right to her body, her financial mobility. This is a party that launches wars and salutes pending conflict. This is a party that worships the hawk over the eagle or the sparrow or any species that inhibits what they consider their god-given right of expansion. This was a convention that easily took up the chant of "Drill Now!" A convention so simply swayed by their unchecked emotion, contented with the appeal of hot button one-liners. This is a party that considers its imperialism as some sort of natural destiny.

And then there is McCain standing up there and saying, "I hate war."

I have to ponder, measure priorities, estimate what damage might ensue against what benefits might accrue
were he elected. If only he had left Palin in Alaska. If only he had chosen Lieberman.

Not only am I pondering McCain, I am still wondering about Obama.

3 comments:

Lyle Daggett said...

Hi, Ann.
I heard his speech too. McCain may say that he "hates" war, and he may even mean it at a personal, visceral level, but I hear an unspoken "but" at the end of the sentence.

The "but" being that he will do whatever is "necessary" to "keep America safe." These aren't quotes from McCain here, I'm just characterizing how he would likely justify prolonging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and/or starting a new military provocation wherever else. I have no doubt that he knows which side his bread is buttered on. I've never remotely considered him a peace candidate.

I have misgivings about Obama as well. Both he and McCain are beholden to corporate interests. I may, ultimately, grit my teeth and vote for Obama, though -- if he appears to be safely ahead in the polls (here in Minnesota) at the time of the election, I'll likely vote for the Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney instead. Under no circumstances will I vote for McCain.

Haven't commented here for a while, but continue to drop by and see what's up here.

Got a chuckle from your post a short time back about playing chess against the computer. A couple of years ago I got a chess game program and play it now and then. I've been letting it give me whatever handicap advantage the program decides, based on how well (i.e. how poorly) I'm playing. Even with that, I've only won against the computer once, and that was with a handicap so large that it almost seemed like the computer was "letting" me win. Oh how humbling... :)

Ann said...

Hi Lyle - good to see you here again!

My consideration of McCain is a mix of desperation and elimination. I don't have much faith in Obama as an independent person. He's just so much feel-good rhetoric, and as far as I'm concerned, he'd not be the nominee if it weren't for the Kennedy clam kicking him upstairs. That's my desperation.

McCain at least has the POW experience - and I prefer reality to rhetoric. That experience must be ingrained in his psyche - it's the kind of pain that would foreshadow any decision about whether or not to launch a war. My priority is a peaceful world - domestically and internationally, environmentally and economically.

So I start this game: IF McCain were elected, then how much power would Palin (with all of her anachronistic beliefs) exactly have? Is she simply a lure for the xian conservatives; is she McCain's pre-election tool? Would she be put away post-election? What influence w/could she exert over him, over the Legislature, over the Supreme Court? And, most important question: will McCain live out his term, if elected?

It's dicey. Too iffy, really, for me to cast a vote for McCain. But damn! If he'd only selected Lieberman -- but then again -- the fact that McCain went to an extreme and against his personal desire to accomplish his goal -- well that says alot about him too.

Ann said...

... that's Kennedy clan....