Some campaignin’

So last night and the night before, the Williams and I watched/listened to the Republican National Convention, paying the most attention to Palin and McCain. During Palin’s, David and I both had wretched headaches, so I admit we were rather snarky. As a presenter, however, she did fairly well for being unfamiliar with such a large audience and important occasion. I will have to say, though, that all of the Republican speakers I heard were rather bland—even the audience was subdued compared to the DNC. The Democrats are much more dynamic and fun to watch. The most exciting thing during the RNC was that not one, but two protesters made it in during Palin’s and McCain’s speeches.

During McCain’s speech, I said to Sarah, “Well, if he becomes president, I’ll do what I’ve done with Bush: I’ll read his speeches instead of listen to them, because I keep tuning him out.” As I’ve read through the transcript of his speech, I like his rhetoric. It is straightforward and is personable (in writing, at least). I appreciate his sentiment even if I don’t agree with all that he’s saying. But I don’t agree with all of Obama’s words either. It really is a struggle for me, as I’ve developed an increasingly “moderation in all things” mindset, to choose a candidate to support. And it is especially awkward because in ten days I’m going to be an ex-pat. In some ways, I feel as if my opinion doesn’t really matter, since I won’t be living here, but at the same time, because I am an educated thoughtful citizen, I know it is my duty to vote.

At one point McCain said, “I will ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me.” Will he really? I asked this aloud to Sarah and David, and none of us can be sure. McCain spoke of how the American people have lost faith in their government and in both parties. He’s right. I don’t know whether I’d trust either candidate to do what they say they will do, or to be willing to put the nation’s interests above their party’s. “Why can’t they both be president?” I asked only half-jokingly. “Yeah!” Sarah replied. “Then they’d be a whole, complete person.”

I admit that I’m not a gung-ho supporter of democracy. It is an ideal, a wonderful ideal that I wish I could support wholeheartedly, but one that I am also dreadfully cynical of because it will only work if everyone participated, and if everyone who participated was educated. I recognize my obligation and my privilege to participate, and so I will. Yet it still seems that the more widespread public education becomes the more apathetic our citizens are. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s made it through high school has taken Government and American History. We should be having much higher voter turnouts than we have over the past few elections (when I’ve been alive/aware enough to notice). I’m curious to see if this year, because of the Obama appeal and the fact that no incumbents are running, it will be higher. We shall see.