THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 4, 2008
The Republicans have always done well in the culture wars, and the Democrats have quite often been directly responsible for the dim and dreary consequences.
But this is not at all the case during the current election season, and it has not been the case for years. The Democratic opposition has actually been quite modest in its economic proposals (much too modest, I believe) and it has retreated a bit from its isolationist and soft power fantasies (but not retreated enough). Frankly, Barack Obama is no radical but a measured and scrupulously honest liberal. (By the way, I prefer the "liberal" label to the "progressive" one which still reeks of Communist Party politics). And so for that matter is Jospeh Biden a liberal, deeply knowledgeable and deeply rooted.
Given all this, I am still reeling from last night's malign hysteria at the Republican convention. This is a rotten crowd, even the pious Christian Huckabee and certainly Mayor Guiliani and the aspiring vice president, Sarah Palin.
It was a lilly white congregation when it is increasing rare to see that in our society any longer. Virtually no blacks. It didn't have many Hispanics either. Nor, for that matter, did I notice many Asian Americans. The assembly was in a trance about a politics there never was in America.
The uglier the remark the uglier the smile on Rudy's face. If Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi had been decked out like soccer mom Sarah last night the G.O.P. would have called them tramps. Why, a hem two inches below the knee! So risque! I giver her her due: she is pretty like a cosmetics saleswoman at Macy's.
Let's face the truth: If Bristol were Joe Biden's daughter or, worse yet, Barcak Obama's, the epithet "slut" would be on everyone's tongue in St. Paul. But since she is Palin's daughter she has been treated as if she were a saint, maybe Mother Theresa incarnate. But, of course, Mother Theresa wouldn't have had a child. Now, this pregnancy of an unmarried daughter could have happened to any of us, and it probably has to many of us. We would be accused of sexually loose morals and of not bringing up our daughters in the fear of both God and ourselves. Sex before marriage, a shame and a scandal.
None of this approbation, at least in the open. So it is good to see that the Palin family didn't torture poor Bristol, at least in the open. And Levi will actually marry her girl. Good for him. For her. Still, the public celebration of a private happening repels. This premature open baptism may actually ruin all three of their lives.
Is there nothing private anymore? Why was the softly adorable five-month old Down's Syndrome baby also presented for hours on hours to the television audience, passed from Cindy McCain to anyone near and then back to Cindy?
This is not really about politics. It is about culture, private morals and honesty. They have turned the tables on us: pretending tolerance but being as phobic as it takes to win an election. Yes, please God, do bless America and rescue us from these swilly people.