Monday, November 3, 2008

New Wings and Glass Ceilings

This election has been the screwiest event in American history in decades.  Lots of twists and turns, unexpected pratfalls, brilliant maneuvers and disastrous missteps.

I think in the end, this election will be about the shattering of glass ceilings. Strangely enough, this crashing was done as much by Palin as Obama and Hilary.

McCain’s decision to bring Palin onboard  as his vice-president was a stunning misstep that his already shaky campaign never quite recovered from. I will be very interested in learning (if McCain loses and the finger-pointing begins) whose idea it was, in the first place. It seems like it was pure McCain from what we know at this point. We shall have to wait for Palin to write her “tell-all” when she returns to Alaska.

If true, it speaks volumes about the potential problems the McCain presidency would have. It appears that his choice was merely an attempt to draw the disappointed Clinton supporters from the Obama camp. It backfired for two critical reasons, one, Hilary Clinton is not merely a woman, or just any woman. She stands for an idea and, whether you like her of dislike her, you cannot deny that she has a very specific and rational position on most topics. Nobody can say she is not well-informed or serious.  Did McCain think Palin was the conservative Hilary Clinton? Seriously? Verdict, out of touch with reality. Inability to listen to his advisors- I certainly hope at least person in his camp said..”Huh? Who?” If not, then he was in trouble anyway. lack of judgment about the long term implications of critical decisions.

Two, it appears to be a decision based on impulse and short-sighted indeed. Did he consider the very real possibility of his death or incapacitation in office-(think Woodrow Wilson)? In this case, his vice-presidential choice was absolutely vital and yet, for the sake, of the possibility of snagging a few votes away from his opponent, he was willing to take the first in a series of steps that could have led to a frightening possibility- having this woman, with a dangerously limited knowledge of.. well everything about politics except ambition and power of stirring up resentments.. running a superpower. There have been first ladies with more credentials and intellect than Palin.. As a matter of fact, McCain would have had a much better chance of winning by selecting Laura Bush. 

If Palin had really had the nation’s best interest in her heart, she would have stepped down after the Couric interview. However, by clinging by her toenails and a new wardrobe- at McCain’s expense (when the campaign already had very limited funds) she proved that she was running NOT for the good of the country but for the good of Ms. Sarah Palin. In the end, being a woman did nothing for her, perhaps initially but it was an incredibly short honeymoon. Verdict: another ambitious politician with a dangerous lack of capacity and intellect. (We don't need any re-runs of the last 8 years. Have pity on this great nation.)

The shattering of a glass ceiling has as much to do with bad examples as good ones. The American voters will decide in the end but either way it goes, Obama is not just a black man. He has a substance about him that transcends the color of his skin. Palin is not just a woman. Her character  transcends her gender.  Judging by her qualifications, her ability to handle difficult situations, and the sense of power and responsibility of your words and deeds, she should not be vice-president, especially to a man of McCain’s age and dubious health.  Worst of all, I think, is her lack of understanding and respect for the seriousness of the position she has applied for. (Her giggling inappropriate lack of formality when speaking to the “fake” Sarkozy last week was a moment of high comedy that upon more sober reflection, should worry all of us.)

After this election, whatever the outcome, a man of color and a woman of any ethnic background will be judged on the same standard as we have been judging all the white old men that have been in charge. The question of color or gender will now and forever take a back seat to  greater and more important criteria. I suppose it was necessary for the desperate neo-cons to stir up, hopefully, for the last time, all the evils in the mud, bring them to light so that this nation can move forward.  The fear of the black man, the fear of the Moslem, the fear of the Socialist, the fear of the terrorist, the fear of higher taxes.. tomorrow we shall see if  fear is stronger than hope. 

In any case, and whatever happens tomorrow, that once far away dream of Martin Luther King has become our reality that men and women will not be judged by the color of their skin  (or their gender) but by the content of their character. Whatever happens tomorrow, whether Obama wins or loses, or Palin and McCain pull a major upset, this single but  monumental change cannot be reversed. Hopefully, it is not too late. Fingers crossed, the voters will make the right decision.

I really feel that American is undergoing some great test, a examination of our national character by Destiny. We seem to be at the edge of some great canyon and we cannot turn back now, we can either plummet to the bottom or try out these new wings of many colors.

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