Apparently John McCain doesn't take this presidency business seriously. First he injected Paris Hilton and Britney Spears into the race, now's he's injected Sarah Palin. Gail Collins has a good piece on his decision and her qualifications, but a friend of mine had the better line: "It shows his respect for the office has been subordinated to his desire for the office."
Meanwhile, Barack's acceptance speech, before 38.4 million people Thursday night, was about nothing but the serious business of getting us out of the serious mess we're in. I had friends call me from California and Minnesota to talk about the speech. They were pumped.
Here's the part of the speech that resonated with me:
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.
Amazing. He talked about bridging our divisions and then gave concrete examples. And not just any concrete examples. He gave examples involving four of the most volatile issues in our country: abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage and immigration. And I agreed with every example. This is a serious, common-sense response to the absolutism that has infected our country, not just over the last eight years, but over the past several decades.
For my brother-in-law, Eric, who is deeply involved in community projects, this was the big moment:
What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you. It's about you. ...You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.
Both excerpts hearken back to why Obama originally appealed to me. Unlike 99.9 percent of the politicians out there, he's not saying, "Here's what I'll do for you." He's saying, "Here's what we can do together." I think that's hugely appealing. I don't know anyone who doesn't want their life to have more meaning, and Barack is offering a path to that. He's all about unity, no matter how divisive the issue. He's all about what we can do when we work together. He's a serious man for a serious time.
John McCain? I'm sorry, but he feels like a clown in comparison. Trotting out the same old divisive B.S. Sputtering the same old tired catchphrases. Injecting the same old fears. Focusing on everything that doesn't matter: Britney, Paris, Sarah.
There's no doubt who's taking this presidency business seriously. The big question is: How serious are the rest of us?
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