October 29, 2008
I Helped Pay for That, Too, Senator McCain
By Mary Lyon
The piece of film that just made the biggest impression on me on this particular night, when Barack Obama aired his half-hour TV special, was not anything Obama presented. It was the sour grapes John McCain squeezed in reaction.
He complained about all those sinister mystery contributions, the suspicious credit card funding that's poured into the Obama campaign coffers. Not on the up-n-up. Something's undoubtedly fishy here (probably because all that money hasn't been raining down upon McCain).
Okay, Senator McCain. Wanna make something out of it? I helped underwrite that film. Me, Mary, with my piddly little credit card donations that I've inputted on numerous Obama campaign contribution forms online. You gonna set your running mate on me now - and accuse me of "palling around with terrorists"?
Well, go ahead (I'm sure you will, anyway, without the need of any prodding or double-dog-daring from me). As a matter of fact, let me introduce myself to both you AND that new gal you've been parading around on your arm lately (the brunette, not the blonde). Mr. Senator, Madam Governor, I'm one of those many people you've slapped in the face as frequently as you've gone after Barack Obama and Joe Biden. My name is Mary. I'm a wife and a mother. And, Senator McCain, it might interest you to know that I'm also an adopted daughter (for whose sake MY father would have shaken the earth in my defense, and actually did, a few times, when somebody years ago ruthlessly attacked me).
I'm a woman of faith (lifelong Catholic), semi-retired after years spent toiling in various newsrooms large and small. I put up a manger scene and a decorated tree every Christmas. I teach kids to put together red-white-and-blue toilet-paper-tube "firecrackers" for the 4th of July, and I make a ridiculously mean chocolate chip cookie. My husband and I have been together for more than three decades, in a marriage stable enough not to be threatened if Ellen and Portia or Adam and Steve decide to get married, too.
We have two kids - both of them well-adjusted and eager to vote in the upcoming elections (although our son isn't quite old enough yet). Our daughter was taught in great honesty and full detail about how not to get pregnant - both from us and from her school - once her class was deemed old enough to handle sex education (Catholic school, too, mind you). Our kids were in the Brownies and Cub and Boy Scouts, and I helped with crafts and served juice boxes and snacks at every den meeting. I was an art teacher and a room mother, and my husband a musician and a Boy Scout pine car derby car builder. I am the proud member of a family that's not afraid to talk science and evolution, analysis and logic with our kids, even while we've taught them about Jesus - AND given them as full a working knowledge as we're able - about Mohammed, Abraham, Buddah, and the mythology of Native American tribes, among other faith/belief systems.
You may question our patriotism because we lean liberal and won't vote for you, but my husband and I are both the proud children of World War II veterans. Funny enough, neither of them EVER dropped bombs on anyone from the safe, antiseptic distance of miles overhead. Neither of our fathers raised a single weapon against his fellow man, something of which my dad, who flew photo-recon in the Air Force, was immensely proud. And my army doctor father-in-law served in a field hospital trying to stitch up the broken bodies of soldiers who'd seen the hideousness of war far more intimately than you did, Senator McCain.
I was born in "fly-over country" as were both my parents and my in-laws. I'm sure that doesn't qualify me for salvation from your partner, Ms. Palin, even if it's in the Midwest, because I was born in a big city. According to her, only the small towns are where you find REAL "Americans". So that makes me some sort of accursed political heathen, I'm sure. Never mind that at least two of my cousins and their spouses and children still live in the Midwest - on small family farms. A couple of the men among them look like they might be ready to go have a beer with your friend "Joe the Plumber", although they're far too informed to vote like the low-information voter he sadly is. Nor are they now racing to hire publicists to manage their "image" or get them book deals and recording contracts, much less spreading a lot of misinformation around to other gullible, low-information voters.
So now you know a little bit about me, and about my family, too. There, don't say I never gave you anything. We're obviously among the many "terrorists," terrorist-fraternizers, and unpatriotic, godless, anti-American vermin with our "secretive" and evidently suspect credit card Obama contributions - whom you and your snide, mean-spirited attack-dog running mate are so quick to denounce. That's me - and those I love - whom you both are insulting and insinuating shadowy doings. I'd ordinarily hope that you and Ms. Palin are only dressing up as character assassins for Halloween.
That's okay. I'm used to it by now. I've been demeaned far worse, and even threatened, by a lot of the same people who fanatically support you now, ever since 2002 when I started protesting the idea of unilateral and unjustified military intervention in Iraq. I've been condemned as a baby killer merely for insisting that I have the last word over what happens to my body. I'm smeared as a filthy "Commie" or socialist because I believe in government as a force for good, and the obligation we all have to help those less fortunate - with our tax dollars if it's beyond our capability as individuals and the need is that great. You know, that "least of My brethren" thing that the Jesus - Whom you and your understudy worship - tried to teach everybody. I can only imagine with a fair amount of horror what some of them might yell at me if I were dark-skinned.
Could it be, Senator McCain, that you're just a wee bit jealous that it isn't you raking in all those hundreds of millions of dollars? If it isn't for your benefit, then it's automatically suspect (particularly when it's for "That One" instead)?
Could it also be that I am sick and tired of being on the receiving end of this kind of intolerance and derision? I don't know which is worse - your campaign speeches stirring up the rabble or the outbursts of your angry, intolerant mobs and pathetic stunt-pullers that give you cover, justification, and spur you onward. They're bringing out the very worst in you and Ms. Palin both, and you, in turn, in them. I've asked here, before, Senator McCain, if this is really how you want to go out, if this is how you want to be remembered. I can't fathom how you'd want that, even while your behavior says you do.
Yes. I helped pay for that extravagant half-hour Obama commercial. I contribute as much as I can afford. On the other hand, the price you are paying, Senator McCain, is far more dreadful. It will be exponentially higher for all of us if you should somehow manage to win.