In his acceptance speech for the Republican party nomination for the presidency, a mild-mannered John McCain promised to, for one, "change everything."
It was like watching an old relative, one who shows up at the local library to read at kid's hour. He cracks a few jokes, tells a little story about his life meant to humble, then reminds us that it's nice to be unselfish on the playground.
McCain, and just about every other speaker at the convention this week, reminded us of his personal journey dramatically centered in a dank prison cell in Viet Nam. In spending a considerable part of his speech re-telling this, he reconfirmed that he's flat out cornered the market on suffering for his country. And by way of this classic three-part story he's earned the chops to lead us, the pompous rogue who goes to war, looks death square in the face, resurrects, and returns with a selfless mission: "Country first."
That is his story.
No American can out-hero him. Nor can we out-suffer him with our puny humdrum sufferings - schlepping to work and back scared out of our wits that we can't afford the drive.
Yes, installed in the White House, McCain's primary mission is to show us how to better appreciate America, blessed by god, from sea to shining sea.
But we already see that. Even us whiners. What else have you got, McCain?
Simultaneous with taking a broom to that stinking lot of despots on Capitol Hill, "Republicans who have fallen prey to temptation," McCain promised to "end partisan rancor."
Nice notion. But pissing on the party of which you are a member (why not cut the apron strings and just start your own, Mr. Maverick?) while attaching to the ticket a tenacious sled dog in Right Wing Sarah Palin, is an alarming move in the exact opposite direction.
Country first? Nope. It's still all about him.
If McCain lets Palin pull a Cheney in the White House, which he will, since he likes everyone to have fun at the party, he'll have brought the hatchet down across a complex cultural divide in America and ignite a war not unlike a religious one -- fueled by the ire of irreconcilable differences born of unwavering core belief. America is going to be glaring entrenched over invisible fences, or, engage in a never-ending fist fight with itself. Hate will blossom.
Stirring the hornet's nest, like now-distant pal G.W. Bush, is what is most alarming about McCain's off-the-cuff decision-making style. He's an adventure junkie, and that won't change, no matter how avuncular he appears in giving a speech that brings tears to patriotic eyeballs.
So, America, if you're not up for the the roller coaster ride we're in for, worried that Team Obama just can't make a winning enough case against Jesus, a POW and a hockey mom, it's time to think about moving somewhere that remains mired in the creaky familiarity of steady-as-she goes bureaucracy, like a tax office in France.