We interrupt our regularly scheduled inability to find words for that Big Post to bring you this post of inability to contain the rant. I have been trying since Wednesday night, and I have failed. So here comes.
One explanation I have heard time and again for the often sorry state of some of our interpersonal relationships is that while men are from Mars, women trace their ancestry from an entirely different body in the Solar System. As reasonable as that explanation seems some days, at least every two years, and certainly every four, it should become apparent to anyone with a habit of cursory perusal of print and TV news, let alone of the political blogosphere, that the gold standard for complete lack of ability to perceive another worldview as valid is the political process in our entrenched two party system. Of course, since I firmly belong to one of the parties (and have a sticker on my car to prove it), I do think that we are (mostly) right, and the other guys are (mostly) wrong. But that doesn't stop me from frequently despairing at the depth of the chasm.
This week was worse than most. I will spare you most of the really?ies that passed my lips this week as I watched Republican Party's quadrennial it wasn't us, it's all the other guy's fault routine, but as I am still bursting at the seams to address what for my money was the biggest indecency of Sarah Palin's speech, you are stuck with it. Not really-- you can always click away, but you know what I mean.
As the Dems collected a cool 10 million smackaroos in the 24 hours after the Governor's speech, many seem to have their favorite moment in the running for that title. Or maybe it's that there were so many, and of such outstanding quality, that for some it is simply too hard to choose. But for me there was never any contest. Perhaps I am cheating here, since mine isn't really a moment, but a more of a series of unfortunate events. No, I am not talking about the tone she used to deliver her speech, the tone of that one teacher in your middle or high school who was just sure that she was the best educator for miles around, and who wasn't ever going to let anyone forget it or question it, and, consequently, always spoke to the students in this most condescending of tones. Nope, not that.
In college, I spent a fair bit of time doing theater or a mix of standup and theater. So I know a lot about enunciating and projecting, a good deal about referring to current events in your script in a way that includes a punch line the audience will still be talking about when they get home, a fair bit about set design, costumes, and props, a respectable amount about sound, and even something about lighting. So I feel qualified to say that the people who worked on all these aspects of Governor's speech were, clearly, professionals. Sometimes very mean-spirited professionals, but professionals nonetheless.
And that is also why I feel that the Governor should have summoned some of her fabled moral fortitude complete with some of that unfailing politeness and used the "thanks, but no, thanks" line every time set designers, prop masters, or writers brought to her yet another way to exploit her children. Though it's not like this was new hat for the Governor-- she started the week by announcing her daughter's pregnancy in order, as the campaign said, to defend her against the big mean bloggers saying things about her last pregnancy. Right, because there is no better way to save your hide than by throwing your child out there instead.
So let me ask you, Governor. When they told you to exploit your son's imminent departure, possibly doing something illegal, and certainly ill-advised in the process, did you try telling them it didn't seem right to you?
Of course, since no reporter is allowed to subject her to the unthinkable scrutiny of, you know, asking her a question these days, I don't expect she would answer one of mine either. But I am going to pose a few more anyway.
What I really want to know is why did they bring the baby to the speech. It seems like in any time zone the shindig was way past his bedtime. I don't suppose the answer is that they couldn't find a qualified and properly vetted babysitter on such a short notice. No, I get a sinking feeling that it was so that they could show him off, to say "look, this is the baby with Down Syndrome I decided to keep" without saying it, without bringing up the unfortunate fact that in deciding to keep this baby Sarah Palin exercised the very freedom to make a choice that she would take away from the women of America.
"And children with special needs inspire a special love" Sarah Palin says, and I, predictably, bristle. Because what, my children only inspire the stale, unspecial kind of love? Actually and more importantly, Governor, can you explain to me how exactly is your love for your youngest son special? Because there was that pause in your speech, right around when you uttered this particular phrase, where the way you were triumphantly looking around, I could've sworn you were expecting your medal (for being so awesome and keeping the baby) to arrive at any moment.
And it irks me, a lot. Maybe it's because I believe that I had my children for a very selfish reason-- I thought that my life would be better if I had them, and so I went for it. Whatever happened along the way, I don't think I deserve any accolades. And I don't think Governor Palin does either. See, he is either a child to you or proof of her pro-life credentials. And if he is a child first then all of this is unseemly. IMHO, of course.
But, of course, this wasn't the extent of the little Trig's star turn as a prop. Did you see the Palin family make their way into the VIP box a speech or so before she spoke? I did, and let me tell you, I thought it was unfortunate. Not only was Bristol, Palin's pregnant 17 year old daughter carrying Trig, but suddenly the boyfriend (whose MySpace page explicitly states that he doesn't want children) was by her side, and there was rather a few empty seats around the young couple. Made for TV, anyone? Look how good we look with a baby. Aren't we just fit to be on the cover of some magazine or other?
You know what I realize? The campaign asked everyone to respect family's privacy. I realize that I would love to. As soon as the candidate herself starts to do the same.