Friday, August 29, 2008


Yesterday Emily and I lamented over lunch. We were gloomy. We were despondent. We, at the ripe old age of twentysomethings, were jaded with cynicism.

“He belongs on a toothpaste commercial,” I complained, dipping another chip into the homemade salsa from “La Casa de Jose.”

“I know.” She looked melancholy.

“Emily, I’m actually a little jealous.”

“That’s exactly the way I feel!” She looked startled.

We weren’t talking about men, in the “Sex and the City” sense.

We were talking politics.

Mitt Romney was being touted as the likely VP choice of John McCain’s candidacy. Pawlenty, Romney, they all had the same problem: they looked exactly like everyone else in the GOP leadership: white. male.


But both Emily and I stand hard and fast on ethical issues like abortion, so we couldn’t bring ourselves to what felt like the political version of cross-dressers: the opaque descriptors “Reagan democrats” or “Obama republicans” just wasn’t going to do it for us.

I liked a lot of McCain’s stances, especially his moderate position on immigration. What we both were feeling was fatigue with a seemingly oblivious party. “Build your platform!” encourages one GOP website that takes suggestions from anyone willing to invest the time to think up a user name and password. But all the leaders pictured on the bloggy-esque website? Male. Male. Male. White. White. White. Old. Old. Really old.

I like men. I like white men. I like old white men.

But I’m not a man. And the party leadership, in my opinion, didn’t reflect the minorities and genders that actually make up voters.

So there we sat yesterday, and as I sipped my sangria soda from Jose’s, the familiar feeling crept over me.

I was never going to get my Red Ryder B.B. gun.

Ralphie and I would be consigned to the same dark fate. What seemed like a lifetime of “you’ll shoot your eye out!” comments was adding up. Santa wouldn’t bring it. The teacher wouldn’t condone it. The parents wouldn’t risk it. On Christmas morning, we would open the presents under the tree, but the only notable gift would end up being a pink bunny suit too absurd to wear.

What a lousy time to be a Republican. Forget the elephant mascot, I may as well have been wearing a pink bunny suit with no hope in sight of getting to take it off. The other kids would get their B.B. guns. But I would be lucky just to never have to wear the suit again.

It got worse in the evening.

The Democratic National Convention may as well have been “Beijing Olympics: Part II.” They may as well have had Michael Phelps and that cool tae kwon do family. They had sushi. We had fish sticks. They had Michael Phelps. We had the synchronized swimmers. They had Tiger Woods. We had Happy Gilmore.

I went to bed with a tiny corner of my mind hoping the Red Ryder B.B. gun would be waiting for me under the tree. But I was resigned to the pink bunny suit.

Oh, the difference 24 hours can make.

Visiting for the weekend, my father-in-law was the first messenger of hope, announcing that the internet was screaming with speculation about McCain’s VP choice. A woman named Sarah Palin was overthrowing all assumptions about Romney. Her stock was up. And though ABC had announced she was still in Alaska for the State Fair, a few Alaskan bloggers wryly bounced back with the news that the State Fair had been over for several days.

The pink bunny suit began to retreat.

The rest of the morning was spent eating cinnamon rolls and listening to David’s updates as he bounced back and forth between the living room and the computer room.

What’s that way back behind the Christmas tree?

David reported that several major news sources were confirming the story, but through anonymous tipsters.

Then the phone started ringing. Mom reported that it was confirmed online. Then I started calling people.

There’s one more present?

At 11:30 we turned the TV on mute and waited hopefully for the scheduled noon announcement. Blast not having cable! Finally the reports about fires and bank robberies ceased.

McCain was grinning. Not smiling. Grinning. As he began to describe his VP, the supporters behind him on the stage listened. Apparently they’d missed all the hoopla this morning, because as soon as he transitioned to female pronouns – “she” has led this, and “her” parents did that, a woman right over his shoulder in the background swung her head around to her friends, her jaw literally dropped, mouth open. The further he continued his introduction, the more excited she got. It looked like she was going to pee her pants. I hope they feature her on all future campaign commercials.

Red Ryder B.B. gun being unwrapped…

We started clapping when Sarah Palin came forward. My mother-in-law and I immediately decided to buy bumper stickers. I started talking about making McCain-Palin shirts for the dogs.

The networks tried to “shoot our eyes out” when they dropped the coverage when she began speaking and went back to the urgent coverage of the local chemical leak, a bank robbery, and a rerun of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” No matter that they showed all of Biden’s speech. No matter that this was a historical moment. Nothing was going to loosen our grip on the new, shiny, Red Ryder B.B. gun.

My goosebumps and I looked at Joy. “Finally! A VP who wears mascara!” Take that, pink bunny suit.


Anonymous said...

You're happy about Mascara?
Well yeah, she is a stunner, but I am way more excited that she's played sports, gutted a deer, worked for a living, raised kids, fought tough battles, helped the hubby race snowmobiles, has personal difficulties she's not afraid to talk about, is happily married and doesn't seem to make a freakin issue out of being more famous and better paid than her husband.
If I weren't so happily married, I'd be in love.

Anonymous said...

What surprises me is that the macho men I am acquainted with in central Michigan (guns, hunting, fishing, etc.) are as excited about her as the women are.
(maybe it is because she hunts and is a member of the NRA)

Bob said...

First of all, I hope McCain/Palin win. I think McCain will be a leader America needs. But, Sissy, you were only about 4 yrs old when another woman was listed for VP 24 years ago. Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were running against Ronald Reagan in 1984. So, it's not a new thing, just new to the younger generation and to the Republican party. Personally, I was hoping Condaleeza Rice would let her name run as VP in 2004. Bush's legacy may have been much different.

Bob said...
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