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Paul Reiser

Paul Reiser

Posted: September 12, 2008 10:24 AM

Yeah -- You and Whose Army?


So everyone's talking about the nasty spike of nastiness in the presidential race -- a spike brilliantly orchestrated by the Republican machinery -- and Republican John McCain takes a moment to point out that even this is Barack Obama's fault.

Y'see, all the crap being thrown at Obama -- the fear-mongering, the half-truths, the full lies -- all the character assassination hurling Obama's way, is in fact, his own doing.

"I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America," the Senator from Arizona tells us.

Am I just losing my friggin' mind? Seriously. I keep looking around the room to see if I'm living in some suddenly altered state where everything we know is now called the opposite, and nobody notices. Or can stop it.

"I wish I didn't have to take your lunch money, but you should'nt of hadda brung it."

We're in the 3rd grade again. The skinny, smart kid who just moved in to the neighborhood is getting roughed-up by the asshole bully. The kid who hits you in the head with your hand and says, "Why're you hitting yourself? Why're you hitting yourself?"

"Um, actually I'm not. You're hitting me."

"You calling me a liar?"

"No, I'm just pointing out that..." SMACK!

"Why're you hitting yourself?"

And there seems to be no one to appeal to. There're no grown-ups around when you need 'em. No one to step in and say, "Alright, that's enough now. We don't do that here, fella." And in the absence of any authority, the asshole gets to keep doing it.

"Why're you hitting yourself? SMACK! Why're you hitting yourself?"

From the few minutes of the GOP convention I could stomach watching, all I could think was that Giuliani and Sarah Palin were doing some big-person, lethal version of "I know you are, but what am I?"

America: "Well, respectfully, Governor Palin, it could be argued that you are, in fact, relatively inexperienced."

Her: "I know you are but what am I?"

"Hm? No, perhaps you misunderstood. We are talking about you."

"I know you are but what am I."

"Well, Governor, just listening to your speech, you seem awfully caustic."

"You are."

"And, frankly, a little bitter."

"You're bitter."

"I mean, where's your sense of humility?"

"I'm rubber, you're glue. It bounces off me and sticks to you."

"My God - you're... dangerous."

"I know you are, but what am I?"

Maybe that's the problem. Obama treats us like adults, and McCain's team treats us like children.

Obama seeks to inspire and raise us as a nation. McCain's people want to reduce us to infants.

Obama asks us to be deep. And courageous.

McCain prays that we're simple. And cowardly.

Now everyone is calling for Obama to "get angry." "Get out there and frown this way, curl your lip that way, and clench your fist like so." And, I don't know..... That'd be cool. Sure. But I don't think the fix can come just from him. There's only so much the guy can do. It's going to have to be us. I don't know what exactly we need to do, but I know we'll do it. I have to believe -- I mean I really have to believe we're big enough, strong enough and smart enough to reclaim what's ours. I love my children too much to let the assholes take over the school yard.