What's All This Then?

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Monday, November 17, 2008

In most democracies, campaigning for public office ends after votes have been counted and the winners declared. We are one of those democracies - or at least we used to be. But apparently not any more. No one is challenging the declaration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States - and while he has yet to announce his intention to run again in 2012 - the campaign for that election seems to be well under way. And there’s still 64 days before Obama is sworn in for his first term!! And who are the pundits talking about as a possible candidate four years from now? Sarah Palin!! She who started out as a gimmick to try to boost the already doomed to failure candidacy of John McCain, is being spoken of as someone to be taken seriously as the future face of the Republican party. To which all dedicated Democrats are parroting and paraphrasing the departing president - "bring her on!!!"

The rest of the world, while applauding our selection of Barack Obama to lead us for the next four years, must think we are nuts. A nation with a split personality. I prefer to think of it as a joke being perpetuated by television talking heads who are looking for something to replace their lead story of the past two years. I can’t believe that these pundits who continue to interview, talk about and focus their cameras on the lady from Alaska are serious when they talk about her as being a serious future player on the world scene. Not when she continues to write dialogue for Tina Fey. What could the comedy writers add to this for a comedy routine? Sarah in one of her endless post election interviews about herself
"I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door. And if there is an open door in ‘12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door."
On the other hand, we’ve already had a leader who went to war because God told him to do so - so maybe the thought of divine door opening isn’t just something for Tina Fey to make us laugh about - but something to give us concern. If a Michelle Bachman could get reelected to Michigan’s sixth congressional district after revealing herself as someone at least two card short of a full deck during her appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, you have to believe that anything could happen!!

I mean, what have we come to folks? We’ve just had a chance to breathe a few sighs of relief that the election campaign - otherwise known as "The Silly Season" is finally over - when it begins all over again with a cast of comic book characters. We should be having serious discussions about the problems facing the nation and the world and how Obama will tackle them - and we’re seeing and hearing Sarah Palin on our television screens day and night. And John McCain isn’t making it any better. One minute he’s relaxed and joking with Jay Leno and people who have known him for years are smiling and saying the old McCain is back. The next thing you know, he’s saying how proud he is of his running mate and urging the reelection of Saxby Chamblis to the Senate from Georgia. . That’s the same Saxby Chanblis whose 2002 campaign ads in his race against Max Cleland McCain called "worse than disgraceful."

I know that all is supposed to be fair (or unfair) - in love, war and politics - but at a moment in history when we have made history - when we have shown that we have finally matured as a people - have reached adulthood if you will - we have one of the principals in the just concluded struggle acting like a child, egged on with words of praise from the defeated Republican candidate and with our media presenting her antics to us as though what she is saying and doing should be taken seriously. I know that Democratic strategists - and perhaps even Obama himself - are salivating over the ridiculous possibility that the Republican party will try to resurrect itself using Sarah Palin as its linchpin - but I will be astonished and more than just a little worried about the state of our national sanity if the fascination with Caribou Barbie as a possible future president extends beyond Thanksgiving.

Maybe after November 27 we will have had our fill of turkey and turn our attention to the serious business of repairing the damage done to our country over the last eight years.