Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Name Game

This is, truly, a politically contentious age. The Common Man believes that the exchange between Republicans and Democrats grows ever more strident and discourteous, it's like no one knows how to talk to one another anymore, or how to express their opinions in a manner that won't come off as rude, insulting, or pattently ridiculous. Indeed, political speech has become stupid, and persuasion seems a lost art for most Americans.

Case in point: Mark Ciptak is a father of three living in Elizabethton, TN (site of the Kirsten Dunst career-wrecker of a movie of the same name), who works for the Red Cross Blood Bank.. At the hospital, while his wife recovered from labor and (for the purposes of The Common Man's narrative) holding their newborn baby girl in her arms, Ciptak filled out the baby's birth certificate. Though he and his wife had agreed to name the girl Ava Grace (awww, that's beautiful), Ciptak had a change of heart and, without consulting the love of his life, wrote down his daughter's name as "Sarah McCain Palin" Ciptak. "I took one for the cause," he said, "I can't give a lot of financial support for the campaign. I do have a sign up in my yard, but I can do very little."

First of all, naming your daughter Sarah McCain Palin is virtually no different than putting up a yard sign. Indeed, his yard sign probably is more effective in political debate because a) it's apparent to more people and b) it seems far less ridiculous. Naming your child after a candidate just seems weird to this Common American, and The Common Man is certain he's not alone. Not that many, many children haven't been named after political figures in the past, mind you, but rarely has it seemed so blatant and awkward, and done for such shameless political reasons (Ciptak didn't do it because he admires McCain and Palin, but because he wants to promote their flailing campaign).

Sure, this constitutes political speech, but it's not effective political speech. Aside from demonstrating one man's duplicity, idiocy, and devosion it does nothing to actively persuade undecideds. The Common Man submits that, while this is an extreme and egregious case of someone mistaking "making a statement" for "persuading others to get what you want", that the majority of Americans can think of little better way to express their opinions and bring about the electoral result they want. That's sad, especially when the campaigns are constantly looking for volunteers and would encourage any and all of their supporters to talk about the election with their neighbors.

Finally, The Common Man has to point out, without knowing anything else about Ciptak and his family (he well may be a good man, husband, and father otherwise), that this is a terrible example of fathering. First, he purposely and willfully neglected to discuss the matter with his wife. A lie of omission that he's publicly demonstrated for his other children. Second, he treated his daughter as a commodity, as something to be used for a political purpose, rather than as a blessing and as someone he loved. He saw her as an opportunity, not a person. That's selfish and unmanly. If The Common Man tried to name his next child Obama, The Uncommon Wife would make sure that no one ever found his body. As for Mrs. Ciptak, "I don't think she believes me yet," he told the Kingsport Times-News. "It's going to take some more convincing."

It may also take a great deal of convincing to keep her from calling an attorney. Good luck pal. And the American dewmocracy keeps slouching ever lower.

No comments: