The Two Americas
I've been reflecting on John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention for several days now, studying the punditry to see where my assessment stands compared to more knowledgeable types. I watched it on CNN and was appalled by the ongoing commentary by Republicans pretending to be objective journalists, e.g., Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff. Will Democrats provide the commentary at the Republican convention? Will they openly make jokes about being "inside enemy territory" and repeatedly draw attention to their towering chutzpah? Of course not. To me it seems that we are two different tribes forced into common territory, all references to singular Americanism aside. John Edwards is not wrong when he says there are two Americas, but they are not just two socioeconomic Americas. There is the America of fear and destruction, which aches for fascist control and an ending of all difference, and the America of hope and idealism, languishing and intimidated by the boldness of the End-Timers who are now in power.
Overall, I trust John Kerry more than I did before. He was more forthright in his criticism of the Bush administration than I expected he would be and fairly pointed in describing how he would do things differently. Many a blogger has leveled a critical gun on him, so I'll not address what I felt were his deficiencies here. I am repulsed by George Bush's frat-boy machismo and much prefer a more thoughtful and reflective type in the White House. Give me a patrician intellectual over Top Gun any time when it comes to understanding and defending our nation's principles. I long for a First Lady who is more than an adoring handmaiden or Campaign Barbie. I prefer John Edwards's lawyerly charm to Dick Cheney's Slime-Shady. The thing is, they have all been reduced to caricatures by a populace that demands simple story lines and uncomplicated personalities. In general, Republicans are probably not nearly as evil as I imagine them, nor are Democrats likely to defend my progressive, liberal America in the ways I hope. The difference I see is in how the Republicans seem to revel in the politics of fear and loathing. Their single note seems to be hate, and their list of targets is endless: the Clintons, "libruls," poor people, gay people, dark-skinned people, non-Christians. When I hear people like Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan or Ann Coulter, I find myself wondering What made them this way? Bush is especially mystifying to me. How can anyone who has had so much handed to him be such a failure? How can the Cheneys, whose daughter Mary is an out lesbian, actively work to make her a second-class citizen? How can this army of self-proclaimed Christian soldiers be so out of touch with the teachings of Christ?
If I was not a Democrat before now, I would certainly have no choice but to become one this year. If I believed before that there was no difference between the two parties, events of the last three years have made it abundantly clear that there are, and they are stark.