Monday, August 18, 2008

Democratic Party to NASCAR nation

Okay, maybe it isn't very important in the scheme of things, not like who the next leader of the free world will be but honestly, I think we're screwed no matter who wins so I've switched gears. I have become a member of NASCAR nation - go Jimmie Johnson!!!!

Now, instead of Meet the Press and "The Best Team in Politics" (CNN) and George Stephanopolous and "The Place for Politics (MSNBC) and yes, even occasionally Fox News Sunday, my Sundays are filled with ESPN and SPEED T.V. Now instead of pundits and talking heads, I concentrate on men in firesuits and 3400 pound monsters of American muscle roaring down a track. Now instead of rooting for my candidate, I root for my driver.

After being a lifetime Democrat, I was furious at the Democratic leadership during the primaries because I believed, and I still believe, that they put their finger on the scale to ensure that their guy, being Barack Obama, was going to win no matter what. If they had to play with caucuses and use Michigan and Florida as chess pieces and lean on Super-delegates and wax indignant over racial politics while ignoring sexist politics, then, by God, that's what they'd do and what they did. And it was just too bad if more, or at least as many people voted for Hillary and it was just so sad if she won the big, blue collar states that Democrats need to prevail in the general election because they'd decided on Barack and they were the "deciders" (sound familiar?) and that's the way it was going to be. And if we old, racist, blue-collar types didn't like it, well, we are no longer the heart and soul of the party, are we? ("Appalachian"being media-speak for ignorant, bigoted hillbillies). Now its all college degrees and young people and African-Americans and cheese-and-wine folks who the Dems are pinning their hopes on. They basically told me to get the hell out, and so I did, although now, lo and behold, I'm getting beseeching letters wanting me to join, and of course, donate to, the DNC and Obamanation. Yeah, like that's gonna' happen.

So now, I'm not even sure I'll vote in the presidential election after spending decades of my life lecturing others about how it is absolutely, positively their patriotic duty to vote. Now, I say the hell with it - let Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean and John Kerry pull it off if they can.

There are a ton of variables in NASCAR racing and NASCAR controls the rules start to finish but at least if the team you support builds the best car and has the best driver and figures out the best strategy at each track and if his pit crew throws those tires on in 13 seconds and gets him back racing and if no one smashes into him sending him spinning across the infield or he doesn't have a blow-out and lose a whole lap or or if he doesn't speed coming out of the pit and get penalized, well, then he has a chance of winning and at least, within those parameters, they all have an equal opportunity. Big Daddy Howard and Big Mama Nancy aren't sitting there pulling the strings deciding who will win.

I got interested in NASCAR, or at least decided I had to get interested enough to do research, because I wrote a novel in which my main character is a NASCAR driver. First book I got at the library was Sunday Money, by Jeff MacGregor. I put off reading it for a while, then finally picked it up reluctantly, not something I wanted to do but something I had to do. If the proof of a terrific writer is being able to take a subject a reader is uninterested in and make it thoroughly fascinating, then Jeff MacGregor is that writer. I loved Sunday Money. I knew I'd want to read it again so I bought my own copy from Amazon. I can't recommend it enough, even for non-NASCAR people.

And I started watching the races on Sunday. Now I sit glued to the set, watching for the blue and silver Lowe's 48 car, driven by Jimmie Johnson. (And, honest, I chose Johnson as my driver even before I knew he was drop-dead gorgeous)! At this point, I'm more concerned about JJ leading at the finish line than I am Barack doing the same.