Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some reasons I am afraid

I can only marvel:
Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

Palin: Well, let's see. There's, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ...

This wasn't an evasion. It was an attempt at an explanation and it was gibberish. I'm not picking on Palin. I am stating the obvious.

I want to be "fair" and not treat Palin as a joke, partly because I made that decision to try not to be a jerk, but also because this is serious. It is elitist to just laugh at her and what's more, it's a mistake. People do like her and it's important to understand why. She should also not be underestimated. Just because she garbles sentences doesn't mean she's an idiot. And don't forget that this country elected George W. Bush twice.

I realized earlier today that she scares me, and this is a good reason why I can't just ignore her.

Right now, I'm struggling for words. I can admit that (but I'm not running for office). I had thought that with the nomination of McCain, we were finally putting the ascendency of the religious right behind us. I truly believed he was a man of the middle, hawkish indeed, but not one to put justices like Scalia on the Supreme Court. Finally, even if there was a Republican in the White House, the forces that are pressuring this country to move towards fully embracing the idea that we are a Christian nation would recede.

But no, McCain picks Palin, who is anti-choice and believes that creationism is a theory as good as any science. These are religious opinions, not political ones.

So, why should this scare me? On a personal level, it will affect me not at all, for I neither have children or the spector of an unwanted pregnancy. Now, people ask me that; why I should be so bothered when it won't affect me, and I feel that shows a terrible view of how we live in this society. I do believe "it takes a village to raise a child" and what affects one of us affects us all.

Besides that, I would have to say that being a non-Christian has much to do with all of this. I am of Jewish heritage and grew up amongst people who had been survivors of the Holocaust. And even if there had been no Holocaust, my ancestors had been driven from their villages or killed for generations. I heard (and not just from my family) of how even those who had left religion behind, who lived in Vienna or Berlin, were scientists and intellectuals, well, both public and personal history has shown us what happened. One day you are living a decent life and the next you are considered scum and sentenced to extinction. And though I am painting this picture with a very broad brush, what was the reason? The economy was lousy and Christian morals were being flaunted in the cities of the elites.

Sound familar? That is why it scares me. It sounds altogether too familiar to me. Do I believe that a Hitler will rise again here in America? No. But I do believe that the movement we've seen towards a soft theocracy is a real danger.

I'll leave it at that. Earlier today, I was asking myself "Why can't you be more fun?" I was looking at Elizabeth's Dougherty's new book "Amigurumi!: Super Happy Crochet Cute" and her photos on Flickr. In the last few days, as I've perused many knit and crochet blogs, I kept encountering page after page of happy, colorful and productive people and their projects. A voice inside my head was yelling "What's wrong with you? Lighten up!"

Well, I can, but it's getting harder each day. This country is in rough shape. The whole world is. I can't pretend it's not so. I suppose it could be seen as hip and ironic to produce such cutesy fun stuff in the midst of all of this, and perhaps it's even healthy (and I bet it is, come to think of it), but hell, I suppose it's not in my genes. Seriously.

Addendum: I had meant to include this: Thinking about the last post, where I ruminate on Palin's inability to name even one magazine or newspaper that she reads, I realized that my reaction was very much due to my upbringing. I was brought up with one good belief - that education, and an end to illiteracy and ignorance would usher in more progressive and enlightened behavior and beliefs. I was told, in jest, that I should never trust the residents of a book-less house. And the thing is, I don't. And I certainly don't want a vice-president who is as uninterested in informing herself as Bush Jr. Both show disdain for readers, in fact. I know plenty of hunters who are also intelligent and informed people, who do, in fact, read.
Image note: This is one of Elizabeth D's amigurumi. These things really are a lot of fun to look at. I want to make one, but I think I'll stick to knitting and spinning my plain Jane natural wool.

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