What if they threw a convention and a funeral broke out?
I'm sitting here watching the Republican National Convention. Joe Lieberman is droning on and on, natch. Everyone's favorite candidate, Fred Thompson just got done giving the verbal equivalent of a slasher movie speech, packed full of accounts of broken bones, teeth broken off at the gum, people burned beyond recognition, last words before death, fire, death, blood, guts, and more violence and death, all told as though it were one of the cheesier John Wayne flicks. (all while noisily clearing his throat a total of 70 times by one count. Maybe those who obsessed about Gore sighing a couple times during a debate might enjoy that tidbit.)
Some people get revved up and inspired by hearing about our country living up to it's promise of freedom, equality, and opportunity for all, and the idea of Americans looking out for each other.
Others apparently, get the same thrill by listening to tales of gruesome death and tales of thousands of young men being killed in the most horrid way imaginable. And they get extra sweaty I guess by hearing every gory detail of being tortured and brutalized. Yep. Romanticized tales of sudden death and massive violence really gets some people pumped full of pride.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
Even more odd is that both tales of gore didn't involve any sort of accomplishment or achievement whatsoever.
The first involved the most horrific accident ever to occur on a U.S. aircraft carrier, the Forrestal, where a rocket on a plane suddenly launched, striking McCain's plane on deck. Then there was a massive chain reaction which resulted in the wooden decks burning through, ammunition stores exploding, resulting in 132 grisly deaths.
All due to an accident which never should have happened. Yet McCain was heroic for somehow avoiding dying I guess.
And of course, the second is apparently McCain's greatest accomplishment, the experience which he's chosen to use as his entire identity. And that's of course his 5 year term as a P.O.W. after getting shot down and captured after landing in a lake in the middle of Hanoi. Though many P.O.W.s were held in the same prison for many years longer, and without the benefit of being the son of an Admiral, McCain survived 5 years of captivity in retched conditions.
But neither helped the American cause in the slightest. Actually, the Forrestal disaster was a collossal loss, both in terms of lives and an aircraft carrier destroyed. All due to a freak accident.
But to hear Republicans tell it, McCain pretty much won the Viet Nam war single-handedly.
This is particularly rich when you recall how they mocked John Kerry, who actually served IN COMBAT and under fire at close range as the commander of a small swift boat in the rivers of South Vietnam. They mocked and dismissed his combat wounds, and said he didn't deserve the decorations and commendations he recieved. They ignored the testimony of those under his command, and instead launched the slimiest well-funded and dishonest attack by a phoney group of people who weren't even near Kerry in combat.
They literally mocked Kerry's service.
Yet, Kerry served under combat conditions and was wounded more than once.
McCain flew a jet at thousands of feet, got shot down and captured.
One is a phony sissy, the other a super-hero according to Republican logic.
Go figure, eh? What was the difference between their service? One fought the enemy literally face to face, the other never even saw a Viet Cong, and got captured.
Maybe some Republican can explain why they've built an entire campaign around the latter's supposed "heroism" and service, yet they absolutely denigrated, mocked, and belittled the former. Don't all speak at once.
And as long as your hear, good Republicans, here's another thing you could really help me out with.
We're hearing a lot of talk about "reform", especially in the wake of the utterly baffling pick of Sarah Palin as VP.
Could ANYONE please explain to me what this "reform" entails? Do any Republicans know just what kind of "reform" McCain is offering us?
Surely it isn't just a bunch of baloney. Certainly at least one Republican can tell us just what sort of reform we can expect with a McCain administration. Just what sort of "reform" is McCain proposing? Heard anything? Hell, it's all the rage in his campaign. Can't be hard to come up with one example of this "reform" we're hearing about.
And remember, doing essentially more of the same thing with some meaningless tinkering around the edges, or maybe coming up with a new name for it does NOT count as reform.
But as I sat watching the speakers at the Republican's party, uniformly paunchy, lumpy, deadly dull, old, and as white as rice in a fresh snow, (except for the blotches) the thought was inescapable. This is like a funeral for the Republican party. At least the one we've known for the past many decades.
The white power structure is in a panic, left flaily around wildly with nothing to rely on but myths and appearances, stagecraft, smoke and mirrors, and electronic flags waving in perpetuity.
They seem so eager to keep the myth going that the highest honor a young man or woman can achieve in this life is to go get themselves torn to bits at the direction of a (Republican) president. Doesn't matter if the cause is just or even legal or done primarily for profit. No matter. And if not that, then the only really American thing to do is to work your ass off, never complain, never make demands, and to always support whatever government policies benefit the wealthy and to regard any government programs that help those like you as unfair, vaguely communistic or socialist (even though you have NO clue what they even mean.) and more than anything, means that it means your taxes are going to help some group or another that you know nothing about and therefore fear and despise.
Don't get mad at the millionaires who are sucking up billions of your tax dollars, while paying a smaller part of their income in taxes than you do, get mad at those Godless Democrats who want to take away the tax windfalls and corporate welfare from those that own your company. If they haven't laid you off already, that is. And if they say they're slashing your benefits, don't complain. That's being a whiner, and you should die before being accused of that. They're only slashing your benefits for your own good. If you make too much fuss, they'll ship your job overseas. (and they probably will no matter what. The Republicans give them tax breaks to do it.)
Just remember what the Republicans tell you; any effort by the government to give you a hand is bad for you, even though it would be good for you. Now if they want to bail out your company after risky decisions run it into the ground, or if they want to subsidize worker training, pass out no-bid government contracts with obscene profit margins and no accountibility, THAT'S just fine. Just try not to notice that it's your tax dollars that are going into their bank.
Once that myth gets a few dents in it, the people who run the Republican party are sunk. And they know it.
Watching the convention is like watching the last vestiges of the elite in some South American banana republic, talking about the good old days and taking pot-shots at the young rebels who want a better future than what these elites have allowed to trickle down on them. They're trading on nostalgia and manufactured patriotism to keep you in line, even as they ship their profits and jobs overseas and have long since abandoned any pretense of "patriotism" where profits or the welfare of the American worker is concerned.
They're nervous that what they're selling, people ain't buying, and it shows.
Patriotic myths are not inherently bad. They're useful, and in many respects they're necessary. Sometimes they're even honest. It would be much easier to have a sincere pride in our country if it weren't run by such greedy and obscenely selfish, not to mention people whose position at the top of the heap for so long has given them some decidedly unrealistic views and the belief that they can pretty much do anything and get away with it. They don't have to sweat the consequences. If it feels good, and it'll make a lot of money for people like them, then do it. Analysis is for sissies.
How bad could it be? THEY'LL always come out smelling like a rose. It's the peons that will pay for their mistakes for generations to come. Not a problem.
But before we're lectured by a bunch of out-of-touch white millionaires and their surrogates about how if you don't support their party, you're not a patriot and don't "put your country first", maybe they should realize that even with all their hired shills and compliant media owners, people just might stand up and call bullshit some time soon.
George Bush even got the assembled white folks fervently wanting to lead us back to the 50's in a frenzy by saying that not even the "angry left" would stop McCain from doing something or other.
Imagine. People being angry after 8 years of Bush. The NOIVE!!!!
Hell, I guess if I was sitting on top of a couple hundred million with hundreds of millions more in government no bid contracts, I'd wish people would just shut up and keep quiet too. After all, Republicans would rather stick a flaming ice pick in their eye than have their superiors think they're "angry left". So that's all it takes to keep them in line. It's almost too easy.
But those of us on the "angry left" really do cause them to have that third scotch. We're not that easy to manipulate. But we put our country first too. These folks truly don't "get it".
To borrow a phrase from Dick "Dick" Cheney, it looks like this gang is in its "last throes."
I thought the other night that some of you boys and girls might like to play a little drinking game that's so popular with the kids.
It's simple. Every time you see an African American or minority in the crowd at the Republican National Convention, you take a shot. (and it has to be a DIFFERENT one each time. The cameras will no doubt resort to showing the same one over and over again for obvious reasons.
But then I realized. If the point of drinking games is to get a little festive, this would be hopeless.