Elephant In The Room Last Night Not GOP Mascot

Rudy Giuliani spoke so long I dozed off before he finished his speech. By the time I woke up, Sarah Palin’s family was on stage. Luckily, I had my trusty “REWIND” button, but since I didn’t record the action at Wednesday night’s Republican National Convention, it only went back about two thirds of the way into Sarah Palin’s address.

The camera had stopped at Bristol Palin, the unmarried pregnant teenage daughter of the woman speaking on stage. Was that an elephant in the Xcel Center that I heard rustling around? Or was it the awkward, stilted cone of moral exemption that had descended around the teenaged Palin’s pregnancy?

Sarah Palin looked good, with the kind of well defined cheekbones and clear skin that were made for high definition television. Her delivery wasn’t as energetic as the Sarah Palin I’d seen on clips from past engagements, but it was more than adequate when contrasted with the rest of the speaking slate last night. Most of all, she looked more comfortable the longer she talked, her eyes beginning to flash as she started tearing away at Barack Obama.

The thing that lingered on my mind, though, wasn’t Palin’s voice, but a picture I’d seen earlier on another website. Two teenaged looking girls, one white, one black, were shown side by side, both of them in despair as their at-home pregnancy tests shoed them positive results. The adjectives that were superimposed over the white girl’s image were some of the same ones used this week to describe Bristol Palin, the pregnant 17 year old daughter of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. I saw this picture every time the camera swung to Bristol’s face during the speech, wondering how morality had now become a "situational" premise.

I pushed the “LIVE” button and S. and I watched the recap by the old faithful at CNN. I flipped to Leno on NBC when the roll call voted – the only real reason we were up this late was to see Larry King Live.

Leno's observation, repeated several times, that the audience was practically all white, was something the mainstream news media was studiously trying to avoid mentioning. “The reason why Governor Palin looked so comfortable on stage was, when she stood behind the podium and looked out where the audience was supposed to be was because it was all white - she thought she was back in the snow in Alaska.”

Leno deftly used another comedy bit to illustrate why this image looked so yesteryear when he flashed the picture of GOP entertainment from the old days. But that didn’t have my attention as much as the elephant in the room did. I could hear her rustling around, could feel her ponderous bulk as she kneeled down.

When Leno’s jokes petered out, I flipped back to CNN, where they were just getting Larry King’s show on the air. As we sat there, watching the people on the Larry King panel make comments, I turned to S. "I just put my finger on what Palin’s speech reminded me of. It was the student council conventions I used to go too. We knew the text, we sounded enthusiastic, but the speeches themselves sounded like we were saying someone else's words." The women on the Larry King panel – all white, all middle-aged, all Democratic Party supporters – had quite a bit of fire in their eyes. But to a woman, they all stayed well clear of Bristol Palin, circling their wagons around the stance Sarah Palin took on the issues instead.

Sarah Palin, it appears, doesn’t seem like she's going to be a real problem for Obama. Until McCain picked Palin, a lot of his party faithful were on the fence about him. So far, she is basically shoring up his support among the people he was supposed to already have, with limited avenues to appeal to anyone who does not share her views. For all the hoopla over Palin, both parties are still wrestling over who will get a bigger percentage of the sliver of undecided voters and those voters who are apt to change their minds. Registering new voters may be more labor intensive and and sound less exciting than the latest soundbite, but in November, its the number of fingers pushing those buttons that will count the most

All this time I was thinking this, though, that damn elephant was still bothering me. Maybe, I said to myself, this is a trained elephant. Maybe trained elephants know how to take up less room. Maybe they have mastered the art of being light on their feet. And maybe they have a special place on their trunk that you rub to make them kneel down behind you before you give your mother’s new boss a hug.

Maybe that’s what young, black, unmarried teenaged mothers need, I mused to myself – their own elephant trainers.

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Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I feel sorry for Palin's daughter Bristol and still am not sure what to believe re: rumors about Trig being her son or "truth" that she's allegedly five months pregnant. I wonder if she'll be subjected to a shotgun wedding or if it's legit. Of all her family members, she looks the most connected to the baby in the family, maybe b/c she feels as helpless has he is.

McCain's speech, as one writer said, effectively through a wet-blanket on Palin's well-done presentation the night before. I'm not sure who will win this Election. If he does, we can assume that the clock of progress was never as advanced as we thought it was, plus JM will set it back further.

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