...late at night, after hockey practice. I can never sleep after training, I'm too wound up, even at one in the morning. My best bet is to sit on the couch with a cup of peppermint tea and watch BBC News 24 until sleep just grabs me. I don't fight it.
So the other night I'm drifting in and out of consciousness, on the couch with a hot water bottle on my back, and I open my eyes long enough to become aware of my surroundings to see John McCain droning on at me with a 27-inch head. Why, I wonder, do all Republican presidential nominees have something so undeniably of the monkey about them? In the cold light of day -- well, I say 'light', but this being Sheffield, there's actually not much of that around at the moment -- I realise its some sort of sublimation, an unconscious acknowledgement on the part of Bible-wielding Republicans that yes, Darwin was right, and we'll prove it to you by offering the world endless opportunities to examine glaring evidence of man's lineage.
But what was even scarier, the other night, was the whole performance of the convention, where we were presented once again not only with irrefutable proof of natural selection (and that it doesn't work in the US), but that there is an undeniably . If anyone had any doubts of America's Imperialist credentials, last week one Presidential candidate -- the nice, lefty one, at that -- stands before Roman columns and addresses his followers in a toga and crowned with a wreath of olive leaves. (I might have dreamed some of that.) This week, we get a funny little man standing before a crowd hysterical with adoration, all being seduced by inflamatory, hate-filled rhetoric and supporting all sorts of right-wing policies that promise to make a Once Great Nation great again by going to war.
Ok ok ok. A cheap shot. And not a very original point. And I'm realising that it's hardly a point I need to make. Because the RNC doesn't look like this, does it? But, in the twin-cities of St. Paul-Nuremberg, we are getting to see the Republican-American version of this sort of nationalism -- a laissez-faire fascism. (You like that? I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with it. Any more authoritative citations would be appreciated.) The policies, the hate, the fear, the penchant for fetishism, while decrying others' 'deprived' sexual practices; the crowd's cheers are all very America uber-alles (USA! USA!). But, this being America, of course there's no one forcing anyone into this compliance.
It all reminds me of that scene in The Life of Brian, you know?
I love that. Anyway, I particularly wish to applaud that man a few rows up, waving the placard that read: 'Peace Through Strength!' Alas, he must of been standing in front of the man with the 'Truth Through Lies' sign. And an honourable mention to the 21-year-old university student I heard interviewed the next morning on Radio 4 who, when asked why she supported McCain, responded 'Because he shares the values I hold most dear: protection for the unborn, freedom...' at which point she ran out of steam. Maybe she forgot the rest, but really, what more did she need to say?
Sorry if I'm not accompanying this rant with some intelligent analyses. I would cast my psychoanalytic-eye over the lot of them but well, I'm too busy at the minute to go out and buy a new throw for my couch.