I lied.

I allowed myself one, tiny peek at email tonight and there found a message from a Republican relative describing all the ways she loves Sarah Palin. And so crumbled my resolve to shirk all political news and views for the weekend.

As Palin, in her speech Wednesday, gave no mention of women's rights, the one line I found personally most offensive was the strange zinger about Obama being a community organizer. Looking online tonight, I was ecstatic to see the growing backlash against what had started to become a theme on right-wing radio. Like this short essay by Jim Wallis. And even this story in the mainstream press.

But my favorite was the selection of T-shirts like this one that hit Internet shelves almost immediately after Palin uttered those unfortunate words. If I still lived in the south, I would actually wear one.

(A note to email readers: You may or may not be able to see the links embedded in this post. If not, go to www.rageisgood.blogspot.com and it'll make more sense.) :-)



Just to say. I'm sitting by the window, before sunrise, wrapped in the heaviest wool sweater I own (smartly saved from winter-clothes storage). Outside it smells like fireplace. The dog and cat have started sleeping with their bodies smacked up against us, so as to siphon off our body heat.

Over the next 10 days, we'll be lucky when our high cracks 70. Where my brother lives, several states south of us, the temperature right now, in the early morning, is 81. They'll see 104 degrees before the day is done.

Yesterday it rained on my way to work, and the roads were sloshy with water that hadn't yet seeped into the ground. For the first time in four months, another kind of precipitation came to mind. Driving in snow still terrifies the Texan in me.

I keep telling myself we have a while yet before we'll need to worry about that. Last year, autumn barely managed to slip through the small crack between the end of our hotter-than-usual summer and the Thanksgiving snowstorm that marked the start of our sudden, severe winter. We tried to go apple-picking exactly once (they didn't let you actually pick from the trees, though), but it happened to be tank-top weather that day. Otherwise, my favorite season snuffed itself out without much fanfare.

I can easily let go of the hot summer days. But this year I'm determined to relish this in-between, orange-tree'd, wool-sock weather. This year, we have good cause--sort of an autumn alarm clock, in the form of our vegetable garden. You can't accidentally miss the fall with a dozen pumpkins bulging on the vines, or rows of a last-minute, fall crop of greens anxious to be eaten, or earth to ready for its winter hibernation.



We just finished watching the creepy, Republican chest-thumping for a second night in a row, which involved a lot of cringing and disbelief and feels like it should qualify us for some kind of award.

We watched as the people jumped to their feet and clapped like maniacs and broke out into pseudo-impromptu (and disturbing) chants of "USA! USA!" and "Drill, baby, drill!" Yet again, I realized I really, really didn't get these people. When McCain mischaracterized Obama's health care plan (if only it were so liberal!) and supposed opposition to off-shore drilling (if only he were so smart), I shouted at the screen, despite JK reminding me that no one there could hear me. But I clapped hard for the protesters.

I don't know whether to take heart in the fact that conservatives shake their heads with the same degree of disbelief when they encounter large groups of Democrats. I only wish the Democratic ticket were as radically left as McCain's new pal Palin is radically right. Republicans already characterize Democrats as a bunch of hippie leftists, so why not actually BE hippie leftists? If they're going to label what Democrats want as single-payer health care, why not actually support single-payer health care?

That's the biggest sting for me--the Democratic leaders who the GOP accuse of being so far to the left are, in reality, in the dead center of the page.

Thank goodness JK's parents are coming to town tomorrow. I'm giving myself a three-day reprieve from Googling "Sarah Palin" or "RNC arrests" every 10 minutes. Also, I'm so glad we don't live in Alabama right now. I think I might implode.

Last night (or, Why Are Those People So ANGRY?)

JK and I gathered around our computer monitor last night to watch the streaming video of the Republican convention. Three things that struck me:

1. The way the crowd failed to clap for Abel Maldonado, a California state senator, son of a migrant worker, and one of the very few Latinos who've spoken at the convention so far. At the end of his six-minute talk, Maldonado raised a fist in the air and shouted into the microphone, "Que viva the immigrant story! Que viva immigrants like my father! Que viva John McCain!"

These obviously were meant to be applause lines, and in between each one, Maldonado paused for audience response. But the crowd sat there silently and looked to be squirming uncomfortably in their chairs. It wasn't until Maldonado, with his fist frozen in the air, finally ended with, "God Bless America," that the audience started clapping.

If you're going to the trouble of trotting out a handful of People Who Are Not White to prove that you aren't The Party Of Scared, Racist White People, at least go through the motions of pretending like you give a damn when they take the stage. Either the crowd was unhappy with so much praise for immigrants (this is the party that wanted to make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to bring their kids to the emergency room), or their English-Only brains were befuddled by all that Spanish talk.

Either way, they came off looking like the kind of people who like "diversity" as long as it doesn't move in next door or try to date their daughter.

2. The strange lampooning of community organizing. I was really glad to see the people at Daily Kos started talking about this almost before Sarah Palin left the stage. At least three speakers, including Palin, ridiculed community organizing and made it sound about as challenging as playing with a declawed kitten, apparently in an effort to paint Obama as the radical black man who worked with (gasp and shudder!) poor black people.

I've worked with community organizers in Texas, D.C., and Maine. It's not all games and street fairs. It's long hours and low pay and requires a deep commitment to actually making the world a slightly better, more equitable place. Unfortunately for Republicans, it often means talking with poor people about social issues and registering people of color to vote--two things the Republican Party probably would like to outlaw.

3. The bloodthirsty anger. When Rudy Giuliani whipped the crowd into a frenzy, chanting, "Drill, baby, drill!", I thought to myself, "These people could be convinced to kill their own mothers." There was so much anger in that room. Strange, desperate anger. Their guy's been in the White House for eight years. In that time, the country's been jerked even farther to the right. What do they have to be so angry about?

I wonder whether it's part of their strategy to appear so publicly nasty, or if it's just part of who they are.