I’m in the gym tonight, jogging away on the treadmill (going on two months smoke-free, woot woot!!! I can JOG!!!) and I have my iPod on and I’m blasting my music, but the guy running next to me has the TV tuned to CNN. And I can’t hear anything they’re saying, but they’re obviously talking about Sarah Palin. And they’re just showing clip after clip after clip of her hitting the campaign trail with McCain. Smiling, waving, holding her baby, embracing her daughters, looking sisterly with Cindy McCain, and I’m trying to get to the bottom of something that is bothering me quite a bit right now: This woman stands opposed to everything I believe in, so why do I like her? Why am I not filled with rage and fear every time her bespectacled, grinning face shows up next to McCain’s? Why am I drawn to this woman who’s been thrust into the national spotlight after spending a lifetime fighting against the things I fight so ferociously for?
And then it hits me.
Barack Obama’s spent the past eighteen months offering this country change.
John McCain, now, is offering us a mother.
McCain is no political novice, and I figured he had a damn good reason for choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. In retrospect, I can’t believe it took me so long.
Barack Obama’s a brilliant orator, a charismatic leader, clearly an erudite man and a voice passionately preaching Something Better that we can rally behind in this time of Very Serious Issues. And John McCain simply cannot fight him on those points. He’s painfully outmatched.
But isn’t it always a time of Very Serious Issues? Haven’t we just endured eight draining, tragic, gut-wrenching, traumatic, blood-filled years of Very Serious Issues? It’s been horrific and it’s seemed endless. And maybe, now, before we get back to the Very Serious Issues, it would be nice to go home to our mothers and put on our PJs and slippers and have her make us a nice warm bowl of soup and we can all curl up on her couch that always smells vaguely of her perfume and wrap ourselves up in the blanket she knitted four Christmases ago and watch Brady Bunch reruns on Nick at Night while we munch on her oatmeal cookies. And then maybe after that we’ll get back to the Very Serious Issues, but not yet. Right now, regardless of what we may claim to value in a candidate or an administration, we’re all exhausted, and we just want to be taken care of, tucked in, kissed goodnight and told that everything will look better in the morning.
Sarah Palin is, at first glance, what Hillary Clinton could not work into her own image no matter how hard she tried: she is a nurturer. And, right now, this country needs a nurturer. We didn’t even realize it until it was offered to us. And it’s a political strategy that’s never been attempted at this level, and it’s the right time and the right place and the right candidate and it hit me, tonight, that this is absolutely fucking brilliant.
It’s why you’re seeing Independents flock to McCain right now, and it’s why, IMHO, he’s got a damn good chance of winning this election now. Because it doesn’t really matter what gets said at the debates or where anyone stands on the issues. I wish it did, guys, but it doesn’t, not really. We vote from our hearts, not from our heads — especially at a time like this. Americans may have thought they wanted some abstract notion of change, but that was before they realized they could have a mother instead. World issues are scary. Mothers are not.
I’m not saying it’s the right way to win an election — and I’m in no way endorsing the McCain/Palin ticket — but I’m gonna go ahead and bet it’ll prove effective.