Here's where I am this week.
How can we possibly reward the Republicans with four more years of governing? Really, how in good conscience can anyone do that? There seem to be two key reasons people still support the Republican ticket.
1) Lower taxes. Somehow these R's have convinced everyone that they won't raise taxes. They believe that life will be less expensive under Republicans. Even George41 couldn't keep his "Read My Lips" promise after the Gulf War. Do you really think this new administration won't have to raise taxes to pay for a war that has cost us 10 BILLION dollars per month? There will be taxes. There will be new taxes. And both Dems and Reps will vote for them.
Additionally, let's look at the "tax rebate" from Bush this year. If you take into account the gas price hikes, the foreclosures, the job losses, the creeping inflation, how far does $1800 for a family like ours go? For other families? The Republicans may pretend they have your financial well-being at heart, but they are responsible for the horrendous mess we're in right now that makes the cost of living too high and the stakes too risky. Lower taxes in the form of inadequate rebates are unhelpful when gas prices make your pay check shrink every week.
Even more, why are we so fixated on taxes? The Republicans pretend that they care about the Middle Class - yet they haven't even mentioned the middle class by name once in their convention so far! I phone banked last night and the anger and outrage by disgruntled Ohio Republicans was palpable! One lady basically yelled for twenty minutes about how she felt taken advantage of by the R's for her Christian beliefs... and that they couldn't care less about her currently in-peril job at the Ford plant, the fact that she's going into debt to pay for gas to drive to work and that she is literally one pay check away from foreclosure. Near tears, she couldn't imagine how she could vote for McCain yet she's voted Republican her entire life.
Which brings me to my second point:
2) Being Prolife.
Final comment of the disgruntled R caller: And I'm pro-life so what am I supposed to do?
The real problem for these Republicans who feel betrayed by their party is their fidelity to the pro-life commitment. They have been so deeply influenced by the arch-conservative leadership of their churches and party that they literally feel they are breaking with Jesus and will be destined for hell to vote for a pro-choice candidate. I understand this. This is how I voted Bush instead of Kerry last time, making my decision IN the voting booth itself. I couldn't bring myself to pull the lever for a Democrat.
But let's talk about what it means to be "pro-life." Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis and Rick Warren all talk about being "whole life." This is not just "fetal" protection, but genuine care for human beings from start to finish. The Republicans have successfully scared voters into voting "pro-life" as their wedge issue for thirty years while virtually doing nothing about it.
Legislating against abortion will not happen this cycle either, even with Supreme Court Justice picks. That's because the country is not ardently pro-life. The idea of putting a 16 year old girl in jail for attempting an abortion will not sit well with Americans. Criminalizing abortion when there is still vigorous debate over what constitutes the start of life will only exacerbate the culture wars, not resolve them.
Remember Sandra Day O'Connor, selected by Reagan, to be our "conservative" justice who would help overturn Roe v. Wade? How did that work out? Don't bet on Mccain whose record is pro-choice, not pro-life, to pick arch conservative justices. Not going to happen.
Creating a compassionate, more just society where unwed mothers can find the services they need to have their babies is the way to curb abortions. Becoming an advocate for whole life (pregnancy, birth, maternal and childhood healthcare) is how mothers-to-be can face the demands of child-bearing and rearing without anxiety and fear.
Now is not the time to reward these Republicans who think they can pretend that the liberals are the problem with Washington when they have been in power for 8 years!! The cheek!
We can't vote on money (whether we are taxed more and by whom) and we can't vote on abortion (because neither side will actually bring legislative change). Both of these issues have been grossly misused by Republicans to convey power to themselves. They have little respect for the Americans who put them in office.
It's time to put them on notice. They have to earn our votes, not just count on them.
And what did I think of Sarah Palin's speech?
She's got panache, spunk. Love the accent. I don't have any idea what her views are on, well, anything. I was expecting her to go over the McCain platform. I don't mind hearing what she did as governor, but she made misstatements. She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. She left her town with millions of dollars of debt after she left it. She has used lobbiests to get earmarks for Alaskans. I don't mind if she changes her views. I just wish she'd say so.
I hate cheap shots politics and I especially don't like sniping by a virtual unknown in the political world. She spoke as though she and Obama knew each other and she could offer some kind of window into his soul. McCain can do that. She shouldn't, imho.
I do think her family is beautiful-looking and that she will appeal to small town families. I don't know how that qualifies her to be vice-president.
We did find on the phones for Obama last night that suburban moms in my city don't like the Palin pick and can't relate to her at all. That was startling. Didn't expect it. Also discovered that the couple of Hillary supporters we talked to are offended by the comparison of Sarah to Hill and they are now breaking for Obama. And then, of course, we had many McCain supporters (lifers in the Republican party) who wouldn't talk to us. :) That's West Chester for you.
By the way, my favorite comment on the speech last night came from Rick via txt message this a.m. (woke me up!): She jumped the shark.