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.