Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Memo to Sarah

From God, upon the news that Ted Stevens lost:

Don't let the slamming door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

See Below

OK, I get that the entry just below this one is completely out of character with one below it. I'm still struggling with idealism and internal consistency.

The New GOP

Last night, as the election results rolled in and the map took form in red and blue, my friends and I discussed the future of the Republican Party. We agreed: it is unlikely to change in fundamental ways but might benefit from a new name, one that better reflects its base.

The Confederate Party, anyone?

Heck, they already have a flag.

This is America

Not us, apart from them, but every one of us.

Let no one ever say that to be an American you must fit a narrow mold: looking, thinking and living just like all the others.

Let no one ever say cookie-cutter conformity is a good thing.

Each of us brings a life history, a perspective informed by experience, a set of connections to other human beings and a dream for the future. God bless America for that!

Diversity is our strength.

And for those who fear, remember: Respect for diversity, and the rights and dignity of every last one of us, is the glue that will hold us together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bob the Plumber

My next door neighbor, Bob, is a plumber. And a lifelong Montanan.

I ran into Bob and his wife on my way to the polls this morning.

They voted for Barack Obama.

Joan explained: It was his confidence and his demeanor in the debates. He was, all in all, the more presidential of the two.

Mr. Bill Speaks

Mr. Bill is my other cat. He's shy, which is why you haven't heard from him before.

Mr. Bill wants me to remind you that he is not named after the famed Saturday Night Live character -- oooooooohhh, noooooooo, Mr. Bill (splat, as some object falls on the claymation character)! Instead, he is named after the lesser known brother of a famous baseball player: Bill Ripken. A noble tradition.

Anyhow, this morning Mr. Bill made an unprecedented request. You see, he doesn't ask for much of anything except a little taste of yogurt once in a while. But as I rolled out of bed this morning, Mr. Bill looked up at me with his soulful green eyes and he said, "Would you please vote for the black cat?"

And I said, "But Mr. Bill! Why?"

And he said, "As you know, I am a black cat and I am a uniter." (Indeed, Mr. Bill is: for more than a decade, he mediated Bessie and Harry's often tempestuous relationship!) "And," Mr. Bill continued, "I just think that other black cat, he's what we need now to unite America."

Nice to know my cat agrees with me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pity Party II

Sarah Palin got a prank phone call yesterday from Montreal's Masked Avengers posing as French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The conversation went on for about six minutes. It was recorded and broadcast around the world. The pranksters said all sort of outrageous things, and Palin did not catch on.

The conversation revealed a lot about Palin. She was clearly starstruck, giggling and gushing over the impostor. She apparently does not have a professional voice and persona for conversations with world leaders: it's Sarah the hockey mom all the way. But most off all, I noted that this woman, who rapidly rejects what she sees as offensive statements from her enemies (e.g., the media, political opponents), lacks a nonsense detector for those who seem to agree with her or those who flatter her. That does not bode well as an indicator of her judgment.

Nonethless I feel sorry for her because:
  • Her staff is so incompetent that they put her on the phone with the impostor without checking to see if the call was legitimate or, apparently, checking with the campaign leadership about it.
  • She answers her phone just like I answer mine: "Hi, this is Sarah" (except I use my first name, not hers). If the President of France called, I might or might not have the good sense to do different.
  • Despite copious clues that the call was a hoax, it is hard to imagine who would get up the gumption to contradict, challenge, correct or hang up on someone you think might be the President of France.
  • Pranks derive their humor from making another person look stupid and feel stupid about themselves, and I have always found intentional humiliation of another person hard to laugh at.

The marginal value of what we could learn from that call was not worth its price in mean-spiritedness and incivility.