Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Conventional Wisdom, Part II

Missed the first part of the convention last night by having to go pick up Oldest from her play rehearsal. I found out that not only does she have the lead, but she’s the only freshman in the whole play. Pretty impressive, I think. I hope she does good.

ANYway, got home as Bill Frist was about in the middle of his speech. Eh. More of a mannequin than a man, with all the scintillating emotion of a telephone. A politician of the bland, smooth, pressed, creased, molded, and tissue-wrapped variety. Which is what you need as Senate majority leader, I suppose.

Secretary Rod Paige up next, talking about education. Seems like a good man, and one who seems to understand fully that line about the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations.’ He’s of an age when if you were a Negro, and you wanted to be thought of by society at large as being even halfway decent, you had to dress better, talk better, act better than any comparable white person had to in the same position. You might not have the best car, but you kept it clean. You might not have a new suit, but the suit you had you wore with pride. Your children were dressed, and they minded their manners, and they did their schoolwork. Because in the face of institutionalized racism, such an example was important. Such a double standard was--is--wrong. No American should have to go to such lengths simply to be seen as marginally equal. But that double standard got replaced with one that lowered the bar to a point that it no longer meant anything to cross it. Well-meaning people felt that because of the circumstance of social situation or the accident of birth, certain kids just couldn’t make it. Which is, of course, garbage. And holding them to a lower standard does them no favors. Although poverty and ignorance make learning more difficult, all kids can learn, and can achieve. I think Mr. Paige realizes this.

Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele--another good one. Nice to give a nod to Obama’s speech, but this one was an equally vigorous defense of the Republican party on a variety of topics. A few gratuitous swipes at Sen. Kerry that were a bit stale, but overall he was plain-spoken, personal, warm, and full of spirit. Good speech.

Mr. Schwarzenegger--HEY ARNOLD! You get the idea he loves America. That’s a good thing--some folks way yonder on the left who SAY they love America, love it only in the way a boxer loves a speed bag. Then again, they’ve always had everything and always been free. Sometimes the hopes and expectations of what America means philosophically aren’t so apparent until you hear someone express them having seen life through the prism of fear and isolation. Some people just don’t want to believe how good they have it here, and want others to share their anger. But until you’ve lived without the blessings of democracy, it makes it hard on some folks to really understand why you’re so enthusiastic. Interesting that he became a Republican because he wanted to be like Nixon. I’m sure there was an audible tightening of chests when he mentioned Nixon, but in the context, it did okay.

[…] I finally arrived here in 1968.I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon and Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend who spoke German and English, translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism which is what I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting government off your back, lowering taxes, and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, "What party is he?" My friend said, "He's a Republican." I said, "Then I am a Republican!" And I've been a Republican ever since! And trust me, in my wife's family, that's no small achievement! I'm proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan and the party of George W. Bush.

To my fellow immigrants listening tonight, I want you to know how welcome you are in this party. We Republicans admire your ambition. We encourage your dreams. We believe in your future. One thing I learned about America is that if you work hard and play by the rules, this country is truly open to you. You can achieve anything. […]

Yep, that’s America. Also dug the Jeff Foxworthesque ‘…You Are A Republican’ sort of riff. And Maria still needs some cheeseburgers, stat.

Jenna and Barbara--Sit down, shut up, and smile pretty. On the surface that might sound sexist and hateful, but it is some sound advice. GO WITH YOUR STRENGTHS, girls. I’m not sure who wrote that Teen Choice Awards crap they mangled over the teleprompter, but whoever it was should be dipped in caramel and nuts and thrown in front of Michael Moore. Absolutely the most excruciatingly lame scene on television since Al bussed Tipper. And the reason is the same--it rang hollow and false. Because it was. I think both girls are capable of better, and their talent is being squandered by someone in the campaign who thinks young, rational people will dig their rap. Man. One of the things that I detest is the idea that somehow government would be better if juveniles were involved. Sorry--big people business means that if you can’t articulate your ideas in a cogent and coherent fashion, you still have to sit at the little kid’s table with your snot-nosed cousin. Wanna sit at the big people table? Learn to use the silverware. And don’t let other people try to write comedy for you--always remember, “dying is easy--COMEDY is hard.”

Mrs. Bush. She seemed ill-at-ease in some parts, and maybe tired. But my God, how I love that woman. Even more than her mother in law. Because despite her obvious lack of speaking talent and her refreshing lack of political ambition, what came through was a woman with courage and steel, who has seen a face of the President far different from that the press presents, that his associates know, or that his enemies mock. She sees a man, and she sees a man worthy of her.

Good enough for me.

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