My family and I trooped up to Perkasie, Pa. to hear John McCain speak. I wanted my children to experience this part of the political process, and I wanted to hear John McCain speak. It was inspiring.
We drove up to Pa. because McCain isn’t going to speak down here. The Soviet Republic of Marylandistan is solidly in comrade Obama’s camp. If this country is going to be saved from the disaster that Obama represents, it’s going to be in the battleground states. Pennsylvania is one. To my shame, my beloved Maryland isn’t. We got there about 1:30, McCain was scheduled to speak at 2. We parked semi-illegally and walked to the venue. It was an airfield, which I thought was brilliant. McCain had been in Virginia early in the morning, this gave him the opportunity to fly right in with no fuss and no muss. I think this obvious advantage was lost on the McCain campaign because he was several hours late and when he arrived, it was by bus. I understand the tremendous pressure he is under timewise, trying to appear everywhere he can possibly appear to garner support, but still I think he missed the obvious.
So, we all stood around for a couple hours waiting. Jimmy found another 3 year old named Sean and they had the most fantastic time just playing. They ran around, and waved pom poms at each other and just chased each other around for hours. I’m glad he was able to enjoy himself so completely.
Matthew also enjoyed himself. He found another teenager his age to hang with, and they went off and got gloomy angsty at each other or ogled girls or did some other damn thing together. He surprised me, however, on the way home. He told me that he was interested in how people in groups interacted, whether it was politics or religion, and that he wanted to study that more. I rag on him all the time because he’s…well, he’s an idiot. He’s 14. This was the first time I saw him taking an interest in something larger than anime or cartoons or whatever, and it encouraged me. He’s a good kid. If his mother and I can keep him from sercombing to being a happy idiot, he’ll move the world. This was an encouraging step in that direction.
My wife was bored and angry. She’s Canadian, and while she prefers McCain to Obama, she can’t vote and our long, drawn out election cycle bothers her. In Canada, an election is called, politicking goes on for 6 weeks, then they vote and it’s done. There’s something to be said for that. She also had somewhere to be back home, and McCain’s delay really put a crimp in her personal plans for the day.
Me? I was interested. I met a reporter from the local Perkasie paper and gave an interview. She said I was the person who had traveled furthest to be at the rally that she’d met. I was cognesant of my wife’s desire to get home in time to meet her friends, and if McCain had been on time she would have been, but I also really, really wanted to hear McCain speak. He finally arrived. I put Jimmy on my shoulders to see McCain, and I was gratified to hear him chanting “John McCain!” with the rest of the crowd. (I’m not a fool, if we’d have been in a different crowd, he’d have been chanting O-bam-a along with the rest. He’s 3. Still, it was nice to hear him chanting the right thing)
So, John McCain finally ascends the stage and begins to speak. He was really, really good. He spoke forcefully and encouragingly about what he believes in, about why we should vote for him. Almost everything he said resonated with me. And I also noticed a big difference between what he said and what Obama says. Granted, I’ve never heard Obama in person, just on video, but I was struck by the difference between the content. John McCain speaks about the greatness of America, and how we can achieve anything we put our minds to. He speaks about leaving Iraq victorious. He speaks about government getting out of the way of us Americans. He speaks about cutting government spending. He speaks about the value of hard work and how any American can achieve whatever they are willing to work hard for. Obama speaks about the mistakes America has made, and how we need the government’s help. He speaks about leaving Iraq regardless of the consequences. He speaks about how government exists to take care of us. He speaks about increasing taxes for the always nebulous “common good”. Obama says that hard work is a fools gambit, we’ll all “work” together and split the benefit. The differences between the two are starkly clear. What I don’t understand is how McCain isn’t up 20 points in the polls, just on content.
On the stump, McCain was good, DAMN GOOD. I left the event with one thought foremost in my mind: Why the hell didn’t he bring this passion and delivery to the debates, particularly the last debate where they went head to head? He would have destroyed Obama. I’m not a huge supporter of McCain the candidate, but I am a huge supporter of him as the lesser of two weasels. I would have charged hell with a bucket of water behind McCain at the end of his speech. If he gave that order, I am confident that he would be right in front, leading the charge. Obama? He’d send me charging towards hell with my bucket while he was back at home, safe and contemplating how he could use my death at the hands of hell’s minions for the “greater good”.
And that makes all the difference in the world.