Thursday, September 04, 2008

The 2008 Republican Convention

The morning after Sarah Palin’s speech and her acceptance of the number two spot on the Republican ticket, the associated press reported that a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan had broken away from the northern arctic. Scientists described it as a "shocking event that underscores the rapidity"of the effects of global warming.

The story is a prefect metaphor for where the Republican Party is in relation to reality and the 21st century.

If this convention is a precursor to the future of the Grand Old Party, it is destined to be one made up of predominately white males and evangelical fervored women with a radical right wing social agenda. Delegates were 93% male, 5% Hispanic and 2% black. With higher numbers than the last two conventions, 2008 completes the morphing process that began with the Barry Goldwater candidacy.

The 2008 Vice Presidential nominee is absolutely perfect for her constituency and John McCain. She denies global warming. She opposes abortion under any circumstances----no exceptions. She would ban books that she deems unsuitable from libraries and would fire librarians who balk at her judgement. She opposes sex education in schools and believes that the Iraq war is "a task of God."

The convention speeches on John McCain’s treatment as a prisoner in North Vietnam were emotionally wrenching in their tragic details. Ironically, that treatment, as horrible and repulsive as it was---- would not rise to the level of torture under the legal advice solicited by George W. Bush concerning the treatment of "enemy combatants".

Advised that he was not bound by the Geneva Convention, Bush was also advised that interrogation techniques that did not result in death should not be considered torture. The Vietnamese might well have been using the same "play book" for interrogation as the U.S. has been using on detainees----a verbatim copy of one written by Communist China and used by North Korea during that war.

Interestingly, the only voice present at the Republican Convention that has spoken out against the interrogation techniques of Guantanamo and foreign "retention" prisons was that of John McCain.

We heard a lot of stirring patriotic speeches and viewed a waving sea of "country first" signs. Implicit in its tone was that Obama democrats do not put their country first, nor share the patriotic imperative of republicans. Sarah Palin smirked that "unlike some" (presumably Obama), John McCain "chose to fight" in Vietnam. One must wonder if she is aware that Barack Obama was about seven years old when McCain "chose to fight"?

Meanwhile, as cheering McCain-Palin patriots wrapped themselves in the American flag, millions of Americans were wondering if they could scrape up enough money to pay this month’s mortgage or buy a tank of gas----much less afford an American flag.

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