Last night, I took the night off from staring daggers at my fantasy football draft prep and the non-hitting Yankees on my fantasy baseball team to watch Barack Obama take the Democratic nomination. (This is the big cue for those of you who don't share my politics to either dig in and suffer or scroll down. You've been warned.)
Over 70,000 people braved what must have been the security detail from hell (according to the reports I've read, waits of five hours were common) to watch a black man get closer to the Presidency than any black man has ever been.
Even if you are a Republican, you've got to be OK with that, at least out loud. And then he spoke for 40+ minutes, in a speech that he more or less wrote himself (hey, a literate President! Me likee!), and gave me about everything I could ask for.
Today, in response, the Republicans announced that their nominee to be vice-president would also make history, in that they chose a woman for the first time in their history. The partisan in me wants to note that she's a creationist with 18 months of experience being a governor (of Alaska), and that it smells a little desperate to me, given that no one imagines she would have gotten the job if Hillary Clinton were the Democratic nominee...
But I'll leave all that aside and focus on the positive. Sarah Palin is the kind of pro-life person that I respect... in that when the money was on the table, she didn't have her fetus at 44 years old tested or aborted, and consequently will be raising a child with Down's syndrome. She's also an ex-athlete and beauty pageant contestant who has made her reputation by fighting against corruption in her own party. Quite a resume, really.
What does get my goat, in watching the coverage of these things, is the wild glee that the cable channels have over this whole thing. We might cover politics like they were sports in this country, but they aren't. If your team beats mine, it has no real consequences to my life; we don't go fight a war over it or change the tax codes.
So, um, no... a close election and wild poll swings and smackdown debate moments and crafty negative ads are not panaceas and just good clean fun. No matter how much they may make you feel like they are.
They are sideshow distractions, carnival nonsense, designed to distract you and me from the things that matter when it comes to making a decision.
In a better world, you wouldn't need to speak as well as Barack Obama to be a Presidential nominee. You wouldn't need to be as ready with a quip and press-friendly as John McCain, either.
But that's not the world we live in, or the media we have.
Which doesn't mean that it's got to be that way, or for you.
So in the months to come, when the inevitable nonsense comes up about who is running the better campaign or what it all means when there is some gaffe, etc., etc...
Well, vote for a better reason. Please.