Sports Politics Fans!
So here we are on day two of the Democratic National Convention. And I have a few thoughts and hypotheticals for you:
First, as I watch the pundits on all three cable news networks talk about the "fluid" positions of senators John McCain and Barack Obama, I wonder how we draw the line between changing one's mind and flip-flopping.
I've heard both men change their positions on everything from drilling for oil off the coast of Florida to how, when, and whether to conclude the Iraq War.
And I'm still trying to figure out when they've simply changed their minds about something because they've been enlightened, or when they've changed their minds simply for political expediency, with the latter essentially being flip-flopping.
Do you know the answer? I'm just cynical enough to believe that since it's election season, then any time a politician in the hunt drastically changes his mind in the middle of a race he probably hasn't been enlightened. He's probably flip-flopping.
Second, if you watched Michelle Obama's speech last night, did it alter your opinion of her, pro or con? I've read a lot of comments - many on this blog - from people who strongly believe that her strong personality is going to be a liability to her husband's run for the White House. I've also read comments that she's a terrible person who hates America, because of her comment way back when that "for the first time in (her) adult life, I'm proud of my country," and because of the thesis she wrote in college suggesting America was a mean-spirited country.
I've never understood the vehemence behind the criticism of Michelle Obama, especially the strong woman part. Take your party affiliation out of the equation and look back over the history of this country. And tell me when we've had a weak First Lady. Never. We've had some who were more outspoken than others. And we've had some more reserved in their personalities than others. But pick a random First Lady and read a history book about her. They've all been strong, not a pushover among them. As for the proud thing, I don't know what to tell you. Again, taking political persuasions out of the equation, if I were judged on the occasional stupid things I say, I'd have been shipped out of this country on a slow boat to China a long time ago. I don't know the woman, so I don't have a problem giving her the benefit of the doubt that she actually meant she was proudest of this country, as her husband won his first primary race for president. And let's not forget that John McCain was quoted on Fox News saying "I really didn't love America until I was deprived of her company." He didn't say he hated America. Not even close. He simply suggested that he didn't fully appreciate the U.S. until he was forced to live as a prisoner during the Vietnam War. Sometimes things come out in ways we don't intend. And please, don't anyone cite the fact that Cindy McCain has always been proud of America. I salute her patriotism and business acumen and so on. But I have a handful of very wealthy friends - some of whom inherited it, others who earned it from scratch. Maybe it's coincidence, but those friends who inherited have nothing but pride boiling over for their country. But by their own admission they haven't experienced many, if any negatives in their country. My humble opinion? You can love your country without always being proud of it, just like you can love your kids without always being proud of their behavior. I know my folks loved me as a kid (they still do, I think), but I know that while their love never wavered, there were times I disappointed them with my behavior.
As for the whole America is mean thing, I don't know what to say. In college I thought for a semesterthat I was a revolutionary. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder, talked conspiracy theories with classmates - theories that usually speculated about evils the biggest governments of the world might be considering against the little guy, and used stupid words like proletariat and exorcised my demons with frowns, overpriced coffee, Vans, and short-sleeved T-shirts over long-sleeved T-shirts. Someone will give me a tongue-lashing over this stance, I'm sure. But we have bigger issues to worry about in this country than a college term paper.
Third, I'm seeing a lot of pop culture "icons" - and I use that word loosely - taking shots at John McCain for being older, white-haired, etc. Again, take your political preference off the table when you think about this one. I don't like those criticisms. The same people who are cracking jokes about McCain's wrinkles, or his thinning hair, or what they consider to be his less-than-perfectly fit conditioning, would go bananas if Republicans started cracking jokes in the media about Obama's complexion or the texture of his hair or something else superficial. Don't like McCain, if you don't want to. Don't vote for him. But keep it even. If race and skin color - two incidental, superficial qualities - are off limits, then age-related appearance should be off limits too.
Finally, speaking of things that are good for the goose being good for the gander, over the past few years a couple of conservative TV and radio pundits have made it a semi-regular feature to go after the rapper/actor Ludacris for his sometimes profane and/or sexually explicit lyrics and song themes.
At least one of those pundits even successfully pushed Pepsi into dropping Ludacris as a spokesman for the soft drink.
Most recently the pundits were outraged over a short song Ludacris recorded, voicing loud support for Obama and at the same time slamming Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Ironically, McCain's age was one of the things Ludacris took aim at.
But I digress. After the song was released, the pundits about which I write, speculated that Luda's support for Obama would hurt the candidate. And they suggested Obama should make a statement by denouncing Luda, not just for the political song, but because his songs in general are so suggestive.
So I wonder if those pundits are going to call on McCain to denounce Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican-born Reggaeton rapper, who announced yesterday that he was backing the Republican senator's bid for the White House.
If suggestive lyrics are the standard by which a musician is deemed a credible supporter or not, then, as Newsweek pointed out, someone should tell the pundits that DY has many sexual songs. And his biggest hit to date, Gasolina, really isn't about cheaper, more efficient fuel.