That said, I am feeling something akin to battered spouse syndrome in this election:
"I know I said I'd give you health care before, baby, but this time I really mean it. I'll never lie to you again baby. I love you. I do. Don't give up on me. This time I really will respect you and your rights."
And did anyone notice the music playing when Kerry took the stage? That's right, Springsteen's "No Surrender." I suppose the idea was to emphasize the verse: "There's a war outside still raging. You say it ain't ours anymore to win." But of course, the refrain repeats over and over again "Well we made a promise we swore we'd always remember. No retreat, baby, no surrender. Like soldiers in the winter's night with a vow to defend. No retreat, baby, no surrender." So which is it—we can't win the war or we'll never retreat or surrender? What a perfect rallying cry for the candidate who wants to be understood, at once, as a decorated veteren and an antiwar protester.
Here's our political quiz for the day: What other presidential candidate used a Springsteen song in his election bid? Think "Born in the USA"...that's right Ronald Reagan. I admit I was having a sort of PTSD moment last night with the Springsteen in the background and all of that flag waving in the foreground. But at least Kerry (or his handlers) seems to have understood what the song is about, as opposed to Reagan whose inability to comprehend basic rock lyrics should have been a giant red flag. The man thought "Born in the USA" was an unproblematically patriotic song and the Beach Boys shouldn't play on the mall because they "attracted the wrong element."
You know, it's hard to believe it was twelve years ago already when I stood outside for three hours in Madison, Wisconsin waiting to see Bill Clinton on his campaign trail (when he finally arrived he actually admitted he was three hours late because he stopped for burgers in Milwaukee). The music playing when Clinton took the stage was Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now," on the face of it a good anthem for regime change:
Right here, right now
there is no other place I want to be
Right here, right now
watching the world wake up from history
The song, however, is really about the fall of the Berlin Wall, not necessarily the event Clinton would want to evoke.
How about a candidate that plays Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" or Leonard Cohen's "Democracy":
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Maybe then I could muster less ambivalent enthusiasm.
All of that said, I was going to write that I would vote for a trained seal if it was running opposite Bush, but then I realized, the seal would not, in fact, need to be trained to get my vote.