Denouncing Extremists While Touting ‘Mavericks’

This is cross posted at Huffington Post.

When I endure a really, really bad movie – I like to watch the director’s commentary on the DVD. I do. It’s my way of looking for an explanation of why total crap is made, marketed and landing in my DVD player. Call it morbid curiosity. In extreme cases – I look for an apology.  “I’m sorry I made this movie and I’m even sorrier that you watched it. Forgive me.”

This is how I watched the Republican National Convention. I sat there night after night looking for someone to say, “Wow. Did we ever leave some children behind or what?” Or, “Sorry about all the looting. Our bad.” Or “When we said ‘God’ was in the White House…yeah we really regret that.” Or “We did misunderestimate George Bush, sorry America.” Or even, “Look, it’s not our fault that Kerry was a dud. Okay? There are some things that are on us – that is not one of them.” Just a little contrition. Something.

Instead, I saw a bunch of white people dressed like bedazzled community cork boards chanting “Drill Baby Drill” reacting enthusiastically to speeches about ‘change’. No, “America is awesome. Everything is great. We’ve been in charge. Yippee” speeches. Change?! Barack Obama was talking about change. He is, after all in the opposing party. So, the Republicans decided that if speaking out against the last 8 years was getting some traction for the Democrats – Republicans should do that too.

The trick is –  talk about change but assume absolutely no responsibility for spurring it. That takes some maneuvering. Cue word play:

“ Change is coming.” McCain said to the sea of cheering supporters during his acceptance speech. The same sea that happily voted for George Bush twice. The same sea that happily had the most powerful executive branch in history. The same sea that’s endured few compromises these past years…which could account for why they are so happy.

Change is coming? Okay, they ruined the word change. Change is change. Changing the change. Not climate change (of course), but change. Sparring change. Sparing change. Change. They’ve muddied the meaning. They’ve run ‘change’ into the ground where it has now lost all significance. Like the surge of patriotism and unity after 9/11; Republicans have warped change. One person’s reformer is another person’s progressive – but still this is ridiculous. McCain used Obama’s exact buzzword?

Does no one at the McCain camp own a thesaurus?!

They have also forever tarnished the word ‘maverick’. Maverick used to be a term for a rebel. For someone that didn’t fit in. Someone that bucked the system. A motherless calf. Madonna started a record label, Maverick records. Madonna is a maverick. Ron Paul is a maverick. Lyndon Larouche is a maverick. My cousin that can’t keep a job because he thinks ‘rules’ are ‘lame, dude’, is a freaking maverick…Man. McCain is a military man and career politician. His version of ‘maverick’ is everyone else’s version of total conformity and doing everything that you’re told.

But the Republicans love to say McCain and his veep choice Sarah Palin are mavericks. They’re mavericks because they said something against their own party. Ooh edgy. They’re critical of politicians. Oh stop you nonconformists. Next they’ll say the system that they’re offering to fix is broken. What won’t you rebel against?!

Besides, the Grand Old Party – the party of traditional marriage, traditional values and traditional skin tones embracing their nominated candidate as a maverick is bizarre anyway. You can’t denounce ‘extremists’ and tout ‘mavericks’. That’s akin to denouncing hoagies while endorsing po-boys. It makes you look nuts.

“We’re going to nominate this guy that we say doesn’t do what we say because we know he shares our values.” Blink.

The Republicans don’t want change. They want to remain in power. Which makes them say anything, including the word ‘change’.