September 2008


Entering the Danger Zone

Really, there are times it’s great to be an American and times it is a royal pain-in-the-ass.

Right now it’s one of the later.

It’s so bad that I have gone on the offensive, and when I’m in a group where I am the resident American, I’ve taken to asking the question first: What do you think about the American election.

For some reason everybody I encounter, whither I go, wants to know what I think, so the fact that I get them to tell me what they think first is usually fun. Most of the comments revolve around non-Americans inability to believe that George W. Bush could have ever been elected and that Sarah Palin could even be remotely taken seriously as a Vice-Presidential candidate.

To her credit, Sarah Palin has raised more questions than Terri Schiavo and Senator Larry Craig combined, and why wouldn’t she? Terri Schiavo was a case relatively easily understood by Europeans; it was her poor delusional parents that were the subject of scorn on this side of the pond. Meanwhile Larry Craig was merely engaging in behavior that Europeans understand happens; they just wanted to understand why one could get arrested for such behavior. However the concept of a bear hunting, pro-life, and anti-gay Governor is fascinating and beyond comprehension.

I bring this up because I was ambushed, so to speak, in my German class today.

Usually my weekly German class consists of two students—this week the other student was out of town, so it was just me. Consequently I thought it would be fun to meet my German teacher at the Coffee Shop in Jena, just to get out of the office environment—really the most I see of Jena is usually the walk between the train station and my office. The rest of the city, of late, is a mystery to me.

After we ordered our drinks and settled down at a table, her first question to me (in German, naturally) was, “What do you think of the vice-presidential candidate for John McCain?”

It’s hard to give an exact answer to that question, because, in part, I don’t.

Adam with a cardboard Dan Quayle

Adam with a cardboard Dan Quayle

Think of her, that is. She’s the biggest piece of fluff on a major party ticket since Dan Quayle—who, despite the constant jokes, was not a total and complete idiot.

Meanwhile I was left to try and explain Ms. Palin—so I couched it in terms of evangelicals and the fact that she appeals to people who think the two most critical issues facing the United States today are abortion and same-sex marriage. These are people who think God will soon call us home if we do not stop these two horrific and dastardly deeds from happening. These are people who think that Iraq was directly responsible for 9/11—and that President Saddam Hussein was personally training and assisting the terrorists every step of the way.

Meanwhile if the United States was serious about going after Osama bin Laden, they wouldn’t be dismissing gay Arabic speakers translators from the military; over and over (26 times) again.

My German teacher and I talked for more than an hour and a half, and fortunately our conversation drifted away from this aspect of American politics relatively quickly—and while I am usually proud to be an American, thinking about all of this put me in a melancholy mood—American can be a great country. America should be a great country.

It is not important whether the candidate has a vagina; whether the candidate wears a flag pin; or whether the candidate was a POW, what is important is a vision for the future and the ability to restore global respect for America.

Barack Obama can make the change the US needs.

And I will remain on the offensive, asking my friends what they think about the US election before they can ask me; it’s easier that way.

9 comments to Entering the Danger Zone

  • Ed

    That’s a good name for her Sara Pain-in-the-Ass. I don’t mind her being a Bible thumping born again holier than thou Christian but I do object to her trying to force her views into becoming the law of the land for everyone.

  • At least I got my burgundy covered ticket out of this place (USA) if this ticket gets elected.

    Oh, who am I kidding. I probably won’t leave, but it’s nice to have the option. They can’t corral me, I can leave.

  • LB

    Well put.

    And I had no idea about the U.S. dismissing gay arabic speakers. That’s terrible in so many ways.

  • I tried this approach with a friend last weekend – asking her first what she thought before I got nailed with it.
    She didn’t want to talk about it and just complained about her news is filled with American stuff right now.
    So, I ended up just coming off like some American-centrist jerk who thinks everyone should give a shit about my country. Oops.

  • @Ed: Most people cannot tell the difference between their own religious beliefs and good public policy. Usually the two do not mix.

    @CQ: Options are always good.

    @LB: There’s a huge disconnect between the military saying they want bin Laden and the military (under Republican George W Bush) actually getting bin Laden. I will admit Clinton put the policy into place and that it wasn’t ideal, but it was better than what came before.

    @CN: ack! I haven’t had that happen to me yet. I am just tired of being asked the question first…

  • Here in the trenches, deep in the middle of a sea of red, I have to tell you she appeals to those who think that Hussein wasn’t training terrorists, that abortion is a bad choice, and that Bush did a bad job.

    But, they believe, she’ll do better. Or at least, she’ll sell it on Ebay.

  • jen

    “It is not important whether the candidate has a vagina; whether the candidate wears a flag pin; or whether the candidate was a POW, what is important is a vision for the future and the ability to restore global respect for America.”


    i’m fairly scared for this election and for our country. more people seem to be attracted to a candidate with a good “story” than one with actual ethics. not to mention most americans are still racist and just don’t want to admit it.

  • @Domoni: Eeek… how is she different from Bush? How?!

    @Jen: Danke! I hope that she some how implodes before the election. If she doesn’t implode before the election, she will surely implode after the election–hopefully not as VP-Elect.

  • I face that whole debate everyday. I also go on the offensive – It really grinds my gears when europeans feel like they know more about the political process than I do. I had people asking me if Barack or Hilary would win – *not the nomination, the presidency*