Friday, October 3, 2008
Polident vs. Pollyanna... Thoughts on the Vice Presidential Debate by Barb McKone
Well, there's one thing I can say without question regarding both Vice Presidential candidates, post-debate. They sure can smile. Blinding, beautiful smiles that span the generation, or two, between them. Biden is the handsome, white-toothed Senior Smile that lights up an auditorium. Palin is the sassy, sexy Supportive Mom Smile that lights up a sports complex. Oh yes, there, folks. It's Polident versus Pollyanna.
Okay, she's not really a Pollyanna. I just liked the way it sounded. No, I'm pretty sure she's genuinely concerned about the free-falling economy. I don't know. She didn't answer the question.
I'm pretty sure she's got great ideas for saving us from the sub-prime mortgage debacle. I don't know. She was too busy "you betcha"-ing to answer the question.
I'm pretty sure where she stands on benefits for gay and lesbian partnerships. I don't know. She only kind of, sort of answered the question.
I'm pretty sure she... well, you get the picture. And when my new hero Joe Biden dared to broach the "Bush" subject, he was accused of living in the past. Hey, Sarah- it's not considered "the past" if we're still living in it. As Biden so beautifully put it, the past is but a prologue. The scary thing is, he's absolutely right.
I actually thought Ms. Palin did pretty well- much better than I expected. I'm glad. She seems like a nice person, despite that horrible killing-the-wolves commercial, which, in my opinion, is too violent for prime time and should not be on the air. Y'know, she's Josie Six-Pack. Fun at a football game tailgate, if you just stay away from talking politics. Nice as she seems, I can't get over my frustrations about the questions not answered with anything more than a wink and a smile, a snappy comeback or a cheerleader's "yea America" one-or-two-liner. I'm a cheerleader type. I understand the mind-set. If you've got that in you, you just can't help yourself. But, see, I'm not running for office. If I were, I'd answer the questions before leaning toward leading the crowd in the "U.S.A." chant. Who knows? Maybe that's what they want.
I couldn't help standing and cheering when Biden finally silenced all that "maverick" talk by explaining why John McCain wasn't one. And God help the poor person sitting next to me on the couch if I ever, ever hear the word "maverick" again.
But for me, tonight's debate came down to one word. Nuclear. Not nucular, NUCLEAR. I know it may sound trivial, but, it's just not. Not anymore. I don't consider myself to be a language snob at all; I make as many mistakes as the next person. But, I'm not the President of the United States. Or the Vice President.
I cannot be expected to sit idly by and listen to another administration mispronounce such an important word. It's a big word. A scary word. A word that should be handled, and pronounced, with care. I agree with my friend Judy. I want my President to be smarter than me. I want to see the photo of the White House and know that a very smart person is sitting at the big desk. It's just reading. Sound it out. NU-Q-LAR? No. NU-CLEE-AR. I believe that Sarah Palin is smart. Very smart. Do you think she pronounced it that way because she doesn't want to embarrass George W., or because of the 8-year lapse in correct pronunciation is it now considered acceptable? Seriously, I'm wondering. Thanks, George. Another little gift you've left us.
As an American, I've never been scared for my safety a single day of my life. I take for granted being free. I've rarely felt insecure about my country's decisions. (Except for an eight year period in my twenties that shall remain nameless) I've always been proud to be an American, shmaltzy song or not. This has been a bad year for those feelings of pride; they're harder and harder to find. I was proud of Joe Biden tonight. Really proud, and it felt great.
So smile that big Polident smile, Joe, (Is it okay if I call you Joe?) and win one for those of us who need someone who answers the questions. And correctly pronounces all of the words.