Friday, October 31, 2008
"We owe it to the world to vote Obama. It's a gift, an apology and a promise in one gesture."
I posted that message on Twitter a few weeks back and got some great feedback, but this note from Jonathan was the most remarkable response of all.
What he had to say brought a tear to my eye, so I wanted to share it here:
I'm a South African, and I've just gotten back from a trip to San Francisco, and I'm busy writing it up, which reminded me of this tweet that you made.
That was one of the most awesome things I've read in a long time - not just perfectly worded, but a lovely sentiment to boot. I just wanted to let you know that the rest of the world is watching, and holding thumbs, and cheering you on, and that we know and appreciate that you don't all fit the stupid-irrational-and-close-minded stereotype that America has been saddled with.
Anyway, just wanted to say that. One more week!
Friday, October 03, 2008
I concur with those who thought Joe Biden getting choked up during the VP debate was the highlight of the night. Here's a link with a transcript excerpt and video clip.
So why was that such a moment of truth? Because Biden was clearly overcome with unrehearsed emotion and spoke so compassionately about his family, his history and what the American people long for, throwing into sharp relief the alarming fact that the smiling, winking Sarah Palin brand is a heckuva dangerous, buzz-word-driven work of fiction that would only further the damage that the Dubya thugs have done.
Americans have had eight years of folksy talkin' that dropped its G's as easily as it dropped its lies. The Bush brand was built on W's Texan-ish drawl and sixth-grade level vocabulary (e.g., "hard work" and "bad people"). That kind of talk helped disguise one of the most sinister agendas of any White House, leading our nation into a war as costly in dollar signs as it's been in human life and global stability. Yes, we've had our fill with just one cowboy shootin' from the hip. The last thing we need following in his footsteps is a self-anointed maverick with seven houses and his six-packin' helicopter huntress masquerading as everyday folks. We're onto ya, GOP, and, gosh darn it, the act's just not cute anymore.
Even McCain's "Straight Talk Express" has derailed in depots as lowbrow as The View, where he sat on a couch with Whoopi and Joy, pointing an oily finger at Obama over the lipstick on a pig analogy. More like lipstick on a red herring from a campaign desperate to disassociate itself from the fact that McCain voted with lame duck Bush 90% of the time.
What a relief that post-debate polls showed that undecided voters weren't swallowed up by "Sarah being Sarah" in their living rooms. People are now seeing past the hockey mom moxie and realizing that this woman with her ill-informed worldview and right-wing beliefs would turn America into an international joke.
I have to admit, when Biden was announced as Obama's running mate, I felt lukewarm to the idea. Personally, I would've liked to see a Obama/Clinton ticket, but realize that too many people hate her for that match-up to win. But the more I hear from Biden, the more impressed I am. He's smart, seasoned and sincere. Once again, Obama proves his instincts are true.
In the final anaylsis of the VP debate performances, despite some word fumbling early on, I think Biden did an admirable job representing himself, Obama and the Democrats' platform against Palin's flash card flashdancing and false eyelashes.
That said, I also appreciated my friend Matt's critique of Biden in the one and only VP debate of '08. Matt, I think you're on to something with this "You can't have it both ways" refrain. The Obama/Biden staff should take a note from you:
"Did Biden not miss a huge opportunity to put the dagger in last night? I know they're saying he 'won' and I understand that he has to guard against being condescending and 'insider' and all that, but I don't mean mock her. I mean, call THEM out on what THEY would call 'flip flopping.' Since these exercises aren't debates at all but topic starters for canned speeches, why can't he turn to the camera and say:
"Are the people, like the Governor here, who do nothing but talk about smaller government, deregulation and the power of free markets REALLY going to police a runaway and reckless Wall Street? You can't do one thing all your life and now, when it's opportunistic, say another. You can't have it both ways. Are the same candidates who lead chants of 'Drill Baby Drill' today really going to take the climate crisis seriously and harness the power of renewable energy sources for the future? You can't have it both ways. Is the party that won't put timetables on withdrawal from Iraq and says we'll have bases there 'for a hundred years' now saying that a victory and end to the war is just around the corner? You can't have it both ways.
"Is the party that prides itself on conservatism—that is, holding onto the way things are—making 'Change' THEIR campaign slogan? You can't have it both ways. These guys will say anything to get and stay elected. Yesterday's 'Compassionate Conservative' or 'Mission Accomplished' is today's 'Country First' and 'pair of Mavericks.'
"The American people are in a tough spot and they need strong, wise and focused leadership to galvanize them to get out of our current situation. They're buying bread, they're buying gas and they're buying homes. What they're not buying is a Republican platform in 2008 of peace abroad, regulation at home and clean energy for all. I'm not buying it and the American people aren't buying it either." -MG
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Part of the reason "Alexandra Leaving" is my favorite Leonard Cohen song is because of the way I was first introduced to it: Under the spreading leaves of oak trees on an autumn night in Topanga Canyon while Michelle Shocked and another woman held hands and sang it to each other with only acoustic accompaniment. That breathtaking moment was part of an amazing Cohen tribute concert hosted by Inara George.
While a web-savvy friend once said it's lame to post lyrics online, I disagree. If I hadn't posted the lyrics to Rosie Thomas's "Wedding Day" years back, I never would've met the wonderfully warm and witty Dave of Denver who Google'd the song and stumbled upon my blog.
Another reason it's my favorite Cohen song is that it reminds me of a couple of ex-boyfriends who tended to self-sabotage when it came to love. It's what the marketers call "relateable."
Don't let the fact that it was written in the '90s dissuade you. The pain in his wizened poet's wisdom is pure and potent.
by Leonard Cohen
Suddenly the night has grown colder.
Some deity preparing to depart.
Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,
they slip between the sentries of your heart.
Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,
they gain the light, they formlessly entwine;
and radiant beyond your widest measure
they fall among the voices and the wine.
lt's not a trick, your senses all deceiving,
a fitful dream the morning will exhaust---
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving,
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.
Even though she sleeps upon your satin.
Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
Do not say the moment was imagined,
Do not stoop to strategies like this.
As someone long prepared for this to happen,
Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.
Exquisite music, Alexandra laughing.
Your first commitments tangible again.
You who had the honor of her evening,
And by that honor had your own restored---
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Alexandra leaving with her lord.
As someone long prepared for the occasion;
In full command of every plan you wrecked---
Do not choose a coward's explanation
that hides behind the cause and the effect,
You who were bewildered by a meaning,
whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed---
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.
Lyrics found on Leonard Cohen Files.