Well, this has certainly been an …interesting campaign season, hasn’t it? Two weeks ago, I thought there was a good chance Obama was finished. Last night, it’s looking as though McCain is toast. All of it — “suspending the campaign,” Palin’s foreign-affairs cram course (which, unfortunately, brought the “Caribou Barbie” image home — world leaders and colorful native costumes sold separately!), the Letterman thing — makes him look desperate and weak, and that’s a very bad thing to be when you’re running for president at a time like this.
(“The Letterman thing,” I realize, makes me sound like one of those “low-information voters” who votes based on who did better with Ellen and Tyra, but the truth is, no one has aged into his Jack Paar elder status quite as gracefully as Dave. Doing the late-night chat shows is as important as doing “Meet the Press,” and McCain should have known that.)
Today, though I know the chat about this will be lively, let’s try to give one another a break. One reason I’ve come to hate the four-year election cycle is how easily I allow my buttons to be pushed, how culture war pushes everything else to the side. Deb spoke yesterday of yelling like a crazy lady when she sees a McCain yard sign, and I know exactly what she’s talking about. I’m grateful there are so few signs of any sort on my block, because I really don’t want to start doing the same thing. For a while when the war was going very badly, one of the houses in the next block had a sign in the yard that was phrased as a command: SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH AND OUR TROOPS. I had to avert my eyes. I didn’t want to put a human face to the house. I wanted the social lubricant of neighborliness to remain intact as long as possible.
I bring this up because we’ve already had a player carried off the field here, our old pal Jeff the Mild-Mannered, who wrote me last night:
I seem to be provoking more unpleasantness than is my preference, and it isn’t a position i’m used to occupying; that, and at 47 i’m already on lisinopril, and don’t need to up my dosage, so i’m just going to gracefully bow out through the election week. When i’m tempted to be extremely un-mild mannered in response to others, it’s a sign i need to pause and reflect and (forgive me) pray.
Others have written similar thoughts, and have taken shorter time-outs, and surely others have simply stopped commenting and reading without announcing it. One of my conundrums as a blogger has always been how I might “monetize” this site, and it reminds me of how I was always told to monetize my career when I was a columnist. People would say, “You need a niche, a cause, something people will associate with you,” but I could never do it. If I made this site all about politics I would doubtless pick up more outside linkage, and traffic, and maybe 35 more cents in my Google Ads account at the end of the month, but I’d hate doing it. I’d rather keep this blog about a lot of different things than one big thing, and attracting people who are interested in a lot of different things and like to comment on them.
One thing I like about Jeff is his willingness to take unpopular positions here, and I’ll miss him. Even though he’ll be back in six weeks or so.
Let’s keep talking about the events of the day. Let’s just try to remember that the other guy is not necessarily the enemy.
If you need to, when feeling overheated, you can play this video, and repeat as needed:
Puppies! All better now.
A little bloggage:
“Mad Men” fans, take note. Emma turned me on to this Flickr set of an artists’ images inspired by the show, but did you know this same artist has a shop at Zazzle? I’m getting the Betty-smashes-a-chair T-shirt as soon as I hang up with you.
Amy Welborn, Catholic blogger, left Fort Wayne earlier this year and has written about her impressions of her time there. You Fort people might like it. Or might not.
Gym-bound. Back later.