Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two Down, Several Million To Go

Hello, blogosphere. Sorry I've been away for a while. The end of the DNC and the whole of last week was consumed with various pursuits and much family goings-on, one of which is the subject of this post. My dear Dad was here from the Thursday of Obama's acceptance speech through this last Sunday.

When he arrived that Thursday, he intoned "Son, you know your step-mom and I do not have plans to vote for Obama." He also made some of the obligatory republican jokes (he listens to radio; he's not one of those "email" republicans) about "Obama's Temple" and so forth. This is all during cocktail hour, prior to the speech coming on. Poor thing. I wrecked his political world.

Behold the power of Teh Awesome Google! I showed him Bush's 2004 "temple" and he countered with the "fake presidential seal" which Teh Awesome Google revealed the same use of the device by McCain and Senate Republicans. Then all I did was ask The One Devastating Question:

Why is it different in Obama's or any Dem's case than for the Republicans?

And this question is ultimately what led to fucking up his previous political views. And that's the story that follows.
He was staying at my place to use as a base to run up and watch college football games as well as practice sessions in Laramie at Wyoming, his alma mater. So there were some breaks in time, he could get a little rest from my harangues and digest what I was showing and proving to him.

The Media Is Not What You Think It Is, Dad, And Neither Is Your Party.

Which was a very bitter pill for him to swallow. See, he's of an age and tradition of what people have called "Eisenhower Republicans." His parents were very patriotic during WWII (Grandpa Ernie had a very badly fused broken ankle, so they 4F'd him, but he drove uranium shipments around to various processing plants in and around Wyoming and in 2 cases to Illinois. One of those was with Marines on-board so I have always thought "Manhattan Project." Anyways...) and found Eisenhower to be a Great Man and a Great President and Dad was a teenager during the Ike years, so that's no surprise. Dad's thought process for his whole political life was, aside from low taxes, that Republicans were Fair, thought You Should Do Your Part, and government should Butt Out. OK, fair enough. But that was BEFORE NIXON! Evolve you dumb-ass! Thus his education began.


On Taxes: I just had to show him the graphic from WaPo to show how McCain was lying about Obama's plan.

On Budget and Fiscal Responsibility: I showed him this graph.

On Growth: I showed him this Dow Jones Graph. Plug in the Dem years yourself.

Since Dad was a VP at a Fortune 500 Finance Company prior to retirement, you can imagine his Consternation that the Facts Did Not Support His Viewpoint.

But then the GLORY kicked in! The Thugs picked PALIN! And their lying started fast and furious. That's what really got to Dear Dad. Because what he never ever realized, was that the MEDIA HELPS LIARS IF THEY'RE REPUBLICANS!

He thought the media actually functioned. Because, dear reader, it used to. You have to remember his dinosaur Eisenhower worldview also included the Cronkite concept of news and of reporters that, you know, a responsibility of telling the truth to your viewers was of Paramount Importance.

Immediately after Palin's speech, I used Teh Awesome Google about that thar gul-durned airplane and showed Dad, nope. It never sold on e-bay and look, it was less than what Alaska bought it for.

Well, we were watching CNN the next day and he saw that clip of McCain saying "the part I loved best about her speech was about that luxury plane, and she sold it on E-bay. For a profit!"

I looked right at Dad and I said "You watch, the media won't counter this at ALL!" True to form, they did not. (At least immediately, and it's still soft-pedaled.) I pierced him with my gaze and said "He's got willing dance partners huh? And knowing what we know, is McCain lying, not informed or out of touch? After all, he's supposed to have checked this candidate and her positions, statements, finances, you-name-it. And we KNOW FOR A FACT, that SHE KNOWS BETTER."

A wistful shake of the head, and a confused look in is eyes is what I got in response.
You'll notice that what gets these Ike-Dinosaur types goat are the concepts of "truth" and "fairness" - I believe because it's a character issue for them and other moderate Republican types. (Yes, there are moderate Republicans; they're not all fire and brimstone breathing fundies.) So aside from the fucked up media, the other thing that will get under their skin is Strong Arm Police Tactics.

I showed Dad several videos over time; the Code Pink protester getting clocked then snatched by the Blackshirts, the chick with the flower getting repeatedly pepper-sprayed in the face, and the arrest of Amy Goodman who was just wanting to check on her reporters. Showed him the resulting trumped up charges against Goodman. He was visibly angry at the Goodman incident when I got around to that one.

I broke the tension by camping "So, you still think I'm a commie-pinko-fag?" He just ROARED! "Nope, just a fag I guess!" Dad had achieved and accepted an entirely different worldview.
The night before he left I just blurted out "So who you going to vote for?" He is visibly torn, still. He started out dissembling "Well, I can't imagine myself not voting. I've always voted." So I pulled out the shame and worked it, hard.

"Well, Bush has already saddled me and you and your 6 grandkids with a ton of debt. If you'd like for us all to pay even more, vote McCain. And by the way, McCain doesn't have to die in office for that idiot Mooselini to be the President. A stroke will do the trick. And you've seen for yourself how they lie and lie and lie. How you can in all conscience vote for such a troop of thieves and liars just because you're uncomfortable voting Dem is beyond me."

We have joked for years that we cancel out each others vote. He looked at me and said "I don't think I'll be cancelling out your vote this time. Your step-mom either once I show her all this stuff you've showed me."

I called him last night to let him know I got a final interview scheduled for a position I really want, and we chatted a bit. The news was on at his house and there was a blurb of Palin going on about the "I told congress thanks but no thanks" spiel for the one millionth time and he says to me, all surprised "They're still doing it!" I told him they won't quit doing it, and don't be surprised. Some other lie will crop up, and they'll keep going on with that one too because they are thugs.

I could feel him sigh over the phone, and he said "What is this country coming to?"

"Welcome to my world Dad."