Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time for Republicans to Wear American Hats

AP Headline: Republicans Suspend Most of Convention Activities Monday. Story: With Hurricane Gustav heading toward the Gulf Coast, Senator John McCain announced that Republican Party activities on Monday in St. Paul would be suspended except for necessary business. He called on his party members to "take off our Republican hats and put on out American hats." Comment: Despite his likely intention to say this is no time for campaigning, it still begs the question, aren't Republicans also Americans? Is party affiliation so different a role that it must be cast aside when one is called on to behave like an American? Is party affiliation so distinct from being American as to cast its members into a partisan haze where responsibility and unity require temporary suspension of business as usual? Doesn't it seem like he's inadvertently admitting that business as usual is the bullshit express? Can't Republicans go into hurricane mode in their Republican hats? "Okay gang, we're going to have to be Americans again for a bit, do you all remember how it goes? Don't worry, here's a bunch of scripts to follow in case you forget. Actually best just to memorize it and don't go talking in your own words. You might say something off message and blow the whole thing. I do it myself sometimes when I forget who I'm working for, so be careful. "
If our corrupted and highly flawed two party system would ever allow our elected leaders to stop campaigning and actually lead; work together to find compromises and solutions instead of playing Rock' em Sock' em Robots year after year, maybe things would be a little less desperate and vicious. We're constantly at war with ourselves never mind other countries. Do we all really disagree about that much? It's no different than the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Red States and the Blue States, and it should be VERY different. All these hats and colors and over-simplification and exploitation of flash-point issues just drive the divisions that much more insidiously into public acceptance. Us and them. "It's all part of the game," as the cops and the dealers both say on the superb HBO series "The Wire" and when the game is on, it stops being about life and ends up being about money and power. People tend to say it's all too complicated to understand, but I think it's a matter of how you look at it. Through your own two eyes or through the lenses that are in front of you so often you forget they're there. Who am I to say any of this, as it's not a new idea and it's all been said far more thoroughly by others, but this hat comment just struck me as revealing. It was a "tell" as they say in poker. In the meantime, here comes Gustav and the wind is decidedly non-partisan when it comes to blowing hats off of heads and "knocking your block off"...the map.

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