Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ya Sure

We spent last night in Fargo, North Dakota, at a luxurious, warm, dry EconoLodge. They have laundry there. There is also a TV. We got Taco John's to go and watched the second presidential debate on a big bed.

Before that we had a little time to walk around downtown. A little time is all you need; it's very small. I found a few records which I will post later. Today we're going to a big thrift store before we head west again.

There are some cool neon signs around. Why don't people use neon as much as they used to? There are tons of neon signs in the midwest. If I ever had a bar, it would have a neon sign. Or it would have no sign. But if there were a sign, that sign would be neon.

This dude wanted to show the fish he'd just caught in the Red River. His friend was not so friendly.

The light was really beautiful at sunset. We've been really lucky with the color of the trees through the entire trip so far. From here on out the light will take over.

Oh yeah, about the debate. Obama could not have been better. McCain had a good closing statement, but most of the time (I feel bad for saying it, but) he reminded me of Hank Hill's dad. The Republicans will talk about his Israel answer and how he connected with the veteran who asked it, but that guy was smiling and nodding when Obama answered his question, and I don't know if anyone noticed, but Obama stood there and talked with the guy for several minutes after the debate was over.

Another thing: the second questioner was a young Black dude named Oliver Clark. He asked McCain and Obama, "Well, Senators, through this economic crisis, most of the people that I know have had a difficult time. And through this bailout package, I was wondering what it is that's going to actually help those people out." There were a few things that bothered me about McCain's answer. First, McCain condescended in saying "I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] before this crisis." Second, toward the end of McCain's answer, he said "…we're going to have to go out into the housing market and we're going to have to buy up these bad loans and we're going to have to stabilize home values, and that way, Americans, like Alan, can realize the American dream and stay in their home." [Alan was the first questioner, a middle-aged white guy.] Setting aside the truly insane – and actually radically leftist – hail-Mary idea to buy up bad mortgages, I thought McCain's answer contained a subtle racial slight. Oliver had asked the question, but McCain told him that his plan would help "Americans, like Alan." He could have just as easily said "like you and Alan" or "like you" or just left it at "Americans;" instead, he seemed to exclude Oliver. Am I reading too much into it? Maybe. It may have been accidental, or a non-issue altogether. But the McCain campaign has thrown just about every type of dirt it could find at Obama, and it clearly hasn't stuck—so at this late stage, judging by the trajectory so far, it would not be a surprise to now see them resort to the lowest, most gutteral mud-slinging, attempting to appeal to middle America's worst instincts. McCain himself might not calculate going there – his campaign and running mate will handle the overt attacks for him – but his answer to Oliver's question seems to reinforce a sub-conscious prejudice at the very least.

Or not. I don't think I'm overly sensitive to stuff like that, but maybe I am. Who knows.
Next stop, tonight: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a big swath of grasslands in Western North Dakota.

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