I'm A Fake Virginian
Ah yes...it takes the ridiculousness of politics to put an end to my blogging drought.
Did you know that I am not a "real" Virginian? According to McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer, northern Virginia is just an extension of Washington DC and therefore not part of "real Virginia". Because after all, we just don't count. Only people from small towns who vote Republican count. The rest of us are chopped liver and are not real. The thing that she seems to be forgetting though is that we do get a vote, just like those other "real" Virginians. Watch it:
I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. … But the rest of the state — real Virginia if you will — I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.
And when given a chance to clarify her comments, she dug herself deeper:
Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.
Why doesn't she just come out and say it..."real Virginia" is any area that is predominantly Republican. If you disagree with us politically, then you are not <fill in the blank> ("a real Virginian", patriotic, "pro-America"). Shoot, a little while back McCain's brother Joe labeled northern Virginia as "communist country
"I've lived here for at least 10 years and before that about every third duty I was in either Arlington or Alexandria, up in communist country," Joe McCain said at an event in Loudon County, Va.
The thing that gets me is that this is what they honestly really seem to think. And I just don't get it. Obviously this sentiment is pervasive throughout the McCain campaign, as Sarah Palin was quoted yesterday as being glad to be visiting the "pro-American" parts of the country:
"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe" -- here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers -- "We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."
Now in the big grand scheme of things, this type of rhetoric is just silly. Are there really "anti-America" parts of the country? I think that Biden had a great response to this question. Does questioning our political leaders or disagreeing with where our country is headed make us "anti-American?" Of course not. One of the most "American" rights we have is free speech. And questioning our country's policies (such as the use of torture) does not mean that we hate our country. After all, I dearly love my children. But that does not mean that I think they are perfect nor do I overlook things that they do that are wrong.
While on the surface, this rhetoric seems silly, what worries me is the underlying theme that seems to be permeating lately. You are either with us or against us. There is no middle ground. I just don't understand this "demonizing" of political rivals. And I worry about where this type of attitude is going to take us. If we feel that the other "side" is the "enemy" then how can we come together and move forward? How can we find common ground to solve the big issues that we face? I personally believe that the two "sides" have more in common then we think if we could just get past the "everything is black and white" and "we can't show any signs of compromising" attitudes.
One of the things that I really like about Barack is that I do not get the sense that he demonizes his political opponents. He likes to discuss and debate ideas and he listens. He has a history of trying to find the things folks have in common and working from there. I also get the sense that he is comfortable enough with who he is and his beliefs so that he does not take things personally. I think this is how he is able to keep so calm and "cool." Which is something that I feel we so desperately need at this point in time.
Will he be able to succeed in uniting this country or at least bringing us closer together? I have no idea. But I do believe that he is the best hope that we have right now. And yes, I do know that he is a politician.
Because look at the craziness we have going on right now with a member of Congress calling on the media to investigate which members of Congress have "anti-American" views...starting with Obama and other liberals. Watch it:
Scary stuff folks. Makes me glad that I spent part of the day today canvassing for Obama. Something that I never thought that I would do in an election, but something that i feel that I must do, since Virginia is, as they say, "in play."
Speaking of which...here are some other Virginia political news related links:
- "A new Virginia state policy prohibits material such as T-shirts, buttons and stickers that “expressly” advocate for a candidate or issue. They aren’t allowed within 40 feet of a polling place entrance. Poll workers can ask voters to remove or conceal the material. Election officials will be advised to have material to cover up any political apparel."
- More on the ground game here in Virginia. The contrast between the two campaigns is pretty stark (just look at the official demonizing of Obama by the Virginia GOP chair...in front of a reporter no less).
- Yes, there are some challenges facing Barack here in the Old Dominion.
- It still amazes me that Virginia is a swing state.
- I have not always agreed on everything with my Republican Senator, John Warner. But I have always been impressed with his integrity and willingness to stand up for what he believes in (yes, he stood up to George Bush at times). So I am glad to see that he is not endorsing Jim Gilmore, the Republican nominee to take his senate seat. Warner is a man of integrity and does not suffer fools gladly.
Whew. Quite a post. Can you tell that I have been saving up? Only two more weeks to go...