In the past year, I've been lucky in that I've made several new friends. One of them invited us to his home last night to watch the debate. Actually he was kind of insistent. I think he views it as a patriotic duty to watch the debates. So my husband and I went over and watched.
Ordinarily we wouldn't have seen the debate. We don't have any network tv in our house. We only watch movies on dvd. My opinion of the debates differs from my friends. I think the debates are an exercise in propaganda. I do think the study of propaganda can be useful. It can tell you things about what direction the powers that be are moving. It also can be helpful in political organizing, to know what the people around you are being exposed to. But I'm so busy that I don't usually have time to add that detail of knowledge to my schedule.
In the back of my mind, I knew I'd need to write about viewing the debate here, on my blog. Driving to my friend's house I was thinking about what irritated me most about the Republican message, especially in regards to Palin's speech at the Republican convention. What bothers me the most (and believe me, that's a long list to be at the top of) is the meanness.
Let's be honest, that's what really stood out in her convention speech, what was the most appealing in a sick backward kind of way. As a former defiant bad girl, I found myself responding to her tone of tell-it-like-it-is sassy-girl hostility even though I knew what she was saying was a misrepresentation. And I was disgusted. And I was worried. I thought she was showing a remarkable ability to induce people to bypass the frontal lobe, higher level, logical part of their brains and stay in the atavistic, more primitive region. She looked sincere. Her body language was sincere. She hit the right notes. I feared the Republican party would be able to do something with that.
The Sara Palin we saw last night was very different. Most of her speech patterns sounded as if she was reciting memorized passages. And that was the the better part of her performance. When asked questions at the end of the debate, questions that were not so easily predicted in advance of the debate, her answers were gobbledy-gook (to use early childhood terminology). And it seemed to me something was terribly off in her body language. I can't put my finger on it, but her body language gave me an uneasy feeling.
In watching the debate, I wanted to just let my emotional reactions emerge and try to gage how the rest of the nation might be reacting to the performances, instead of analytically listening to the words. I've always had the tendency to take a strong emotional reading in any given situation. Lately I've started to wonder if maybe I can use that tendency as a strentgh instead of bemoaning it as a weakness and struggling to keep up with my uber-analytical husband (not to mention other rising family members, I think you know who you are or which ones you're raising).
I know that the greatest influence on most people's decision-making process is emotion. And I know that as social creatures, humans are very sensitive to body language and tone of voice. Under that criteria alone, poor Sara didn't do too well, did she? And add to that the fact that she was up against Biden, who is clearly a master political debater, I feel bad for her. She's way over her head.
My prediction (lol), Obama wins the election by a healthy margin. The American public realizes that meanness is sooo over. We usher in a new era of kindness and respect, while fighting the good fight for a new New Deal in a good way. We are all much happier.
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