Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lessons Learned from Palin and Giuliani's RNC Speeches Tonight through a Black Woman's Eyes

I listened to Rudy Giuliani tonight and realized that Republicans believe that the only service to country is through war, that working for social justice as a community organizer and fighting for people's right to vote or fairness for families whose breadwinners have been laid off, or standing up to banks that take people's homes after suckering them into loan-shark mortgages is not worthy to be categorized as service to country.

I saw that Republicans do not applaud people who fight for social justice but instead ridicule them. (Did you see/hear them laugh when Giuliani said Obama had been a community organizer? He pretty much belittled everything Obama's ever done.). If you don't understand what it means to be a community organizer, then please consider that the greatest movements in the world have begun with community organizing. You can not be a good community organizer without also being a good leader, a good strategist, and a warrior.

The Civil Rights Movement was essentially begun and sustained through community organizing. So, while I commend John McCain for his wartime service, I submit that there are others who've fought for me and they did that through community organizing and standing up for justice. Of course, since John McCain at one time thought little of Martin Luther King, Jr., I can understand how McCain and his supporters would laugh at and belittle community organizers.

Consequently, it is true, I surmised after listening to both Giuliani and Sarah Palin tonight, that to be a Republican is to care for no one but people who have made it already and not for people who struggle financially or who are so poor they don't have the boots with the straps needed to pull themselves up. To be a Republican, I learned, is to distort facts, which is why they have such a love affair with Fox News, I guess . Republicans, I discovered after listening to Rudy Giuliani, don't really believe in "justice for all" but that "might makes right" and "every man/woman for him/herself."

They reminded me of Nazis. I know that sounds harsh, and people will dismiss my instincts on this comparison because it sounds over-the-top. But every time they started chanting anything, with their stiff hairdos and monolithic group appearance, I could only think of Nazi Germany rising, possibly decent people being led to commit horrors because someone pushes the right emotional buttons, nationalistic and religious buttons, in a warped view of what it means to be patriotic. (If anyone's interested, I've voted for a Republican before so I'm not a die-hard Dem.)

This country is in real danger. We have a Republican nominee for the presidency who jokes about bombing Iran, and a Republican VP nominee who frames the war against Iraq in terms of being a God-ordained war. Is it possible Palin thinks the war in Iraq is a "holy war"? If so, in ideology, she's no different from the Muslims who believe God calls them to kill people in the name of Allah.

Whenever people in a Democracy rise up and start saying it's good to do violence in the name of God or that their country, specifically, is called by God, you know we're in trouble. First they target those people over there, and then they target the folks at home who question the validity of that so-called "calling." (I consider myself a Christian, btw, but I do not believe in Dominion Theology, which is sort of the thinking you get when folks start declaring wars in the name of God. I suspect that Palin is a proponent of Dominion Theology, however. Dominion theologists do not believe in separation of church and state for America.) The more I read about Palin, the more I think she's wrong for American democracy. I mean, this is a woman who believes in banning books.

Did you get Palin's "always proud of America" swipe at Michelle Obama tonight? This whole thing that you can't find fault in the country and yet still fiercely love it disturbs me. And really, how can any so-called Christian claim that this is what love's about? To truly love is to see faults and love in spite of faults. And to live by truth is to not live in denial of errors. Can you improve yourself or a system if you won't admit there are moments of fault, that there are times that we should not be proud of our behavior? This belief that America can never be wrong and it's unpatriotic to admit America has faults is tied to the belief that America is God's chosen nation, to question country is to question God.

I love God too, and I know there are liberals who think anyone who believes in God is stupid. That's their problem not mine. Nevertheless, I say God was pimped out tonight by Republicans not glorified.

What I really loved during Palin's speech is her brining up the character issue. She said John McCain says the same thing about others when they're listening as well as when they're not listening, unlike Obama, she suggested, who expressed that some white working class people cling bitterly to guns and religion. I guess Palin doesn't know or doesn't care about McCain's character issue when it comes to what McCain had to say to a woman even while reporters were listening. (Oh, wait. He didn't insult all women, just his wife.) Perhaps McCain calling Cindy McCain a "c*nt" is just fine with Palin. After all, Palin she laughs when men belittle women.

And what's with all this getting weepy about special needs children? Isn't this the party whose current president vetoed SCHIP? That's not important though, right? Palin's special needs child has health care coverage.

I believe the Republicans are hypocrites who denounce Affirmative Action, for instance, but to win an election just did the "mack daddy" of Affirmative Action mambos, hustling tokenism galore. They did the worst form of it too, pushing an unqualified person to the front of the line for display purposes only. Palin's nomination is not about balance, it's about playing to the emotions of women who mourn Hillary's campaign and the religious right that's lukewarm on McCain.

In addition, Republicans idolize a misogynistic candidate yet call others sexist who ask legitimate questions about Palin's record and credentials. If you suggest Palin's a puppet, mouthing a speech that was posted in advance, then of course you only think that because she's a woman, right? As though men have never been accused of being pawns and puppets. Republicans are attempting to label people who don't like Palin as sexist, while they refer to this VP nominee as "cute" and "hot."

Yes, I've got issues with Palin, but I guarantee you my concerns about her being on the ticket have nothing to do with either her womanhood or motherhood or her daughter's pregnancy. I've got issues because the entire nomination smacks of hypocrisy and she's carrying enough baggage (Trooper Gate and more) to be the sister line of a slow train to Arkansas.

Nevertheless, I'll give the Republicans props. They know how to spin a message and how to manipulate the part of the masses susceptible to nationalism. They are masters of flipping the script, too, while pulling emotional strings. Have you noticed that Palin, a strong woman in the eyes of Republicans, is not a bitch but another "b" word, barracuda (and, yes, I know the name comes from her basketball years)? This ability to flip scripts, appear to embrace what they actually demean, this knack of redefining people and concepts--such as redefining Affirmative Action as "Reverse Discrimination"--or claiming that they're pro-higher education while painting a well-educated, Harvard law grad who's from a working class family as an "elitist" is both a skill and a talent. This ability is also an effective weapon in mobilizing people who are driven by emotion and are weak in critical thinking.

I have observed that like most religious fascists, Republicans tend to glorify conformity, quash dissent, and pummel or avoid people who question their decisions and agenda, as we can see by McCain canceling his interview with CNN. America, take a long look at these people. If we elect the Republican ticket this time around, get ready for a very bumpy ride. In the past Republicans have won by pushing fear, and now deftly push Americans, like Disney's lemmings, toward a fascist nightmare.

PS: Campbell Brown seemed to go overboard tonight praising Palin. I guess McCain and CNN management have her running scared.

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lilalia said...

Wouldn't it be marvelous if that vast community of people you speak of could spur on a grass root movement and speak out loud to all the McCains and Palins of the world, with one big "no thank you"? If you could turn get all people of the community who never voted, out there voting and saying, "I'm here and I'm real". I know it is necessary to hear both sides of the story, but I must confess I just churn up inside when I listen to any of the Republicans speak. Give me a moderate, an intelligent knowledgeable speaker... I just don't get how their drivel works to inspire. Thank you for writing the post.

Suzanne said...

I got goosebumps when I saw that last night reminded you of Nazis also. At some point during the crazed chanting of "USA! USA!" as the camera panned the audience, I turned to my husband and said, "This reminds me of a Nazi rally." As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I rarely find it appropriate to compare anything in the US to the Nazi movement. Yet it was how I felt, and it made me sick.

This is a wonderful, thoughtful post, as always. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Caveat said...

I said the same thing about the chanting and arm-raising to a friend last night.

I said it sounded like 'Sieg, Heil!'

This is a very different crowd from the one at the DNC. The leaders are shamelessly manipulative and the followers don't seem too swift. That's a dangerous combination. Fortunately, they are a minority.

Obama needs to get out there and kick a$$. Tomorrow. No more Mr Nice Guy.