I'll tell you what: if I were President, I'd make sure the subjunctive doesn't get left behind. Just look what's going on these days in the news.
A lot has been said about Geraldine Ferarro's recent gaffe. And while the pundits continue to volley this one back and forth—"She's a racist," "She meant nothing by it," "She blah, blah, blah"—I'd like to take issue with her statement on another front. I mean, honestly people, what is the deal with major politicians, heads of state and world leaders dissing the subjunctive? It's one thing for a bubble-gum pop singer to question What if God Was One of Us? but how Geraldine Ferarro doesn't know the difference between was/were is beyond me.
And here's the thing that really gets me: she missed the subjunctive not once, but TWICE. First she said, "If Obama was a white man," and then moments later she said, "And if he was a woman"¦"
Of course, if you're looking to Obama himself for some grammatical correctness, freak on this little gaffe I heard on the news the other day when Hillary's campaign was suggesting he'd make a good Vice Pres: "I don't know how somebody who is second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who is in first place"¦If I was in second place I could understand it. But I'm in first place right now"¦"
Honestly. Maybe he deserves to be in second place with such a statement?
And, hey, while we're on the subject, turns out McCain has a was/were problem, too. Remember all that hullabaloo a few weeks ago about Obama's campaign financing if he wound up getting the nomination? Look what McCain said:
"I made the commitment to the American people that if I was the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well."
My ears bleed every time I hear it. And while I'm not the biggest Hilary supporter on the planet (didn't vote for her), perhaps I should rethink my position because at least she knows when to employ the subjunctive:
"Once one of us has the nomination there will be a great effort to unify the Democratic party and we will do so, because, remember I have a lot of supporters who have voted for me in very large numbers and I would expect them to support Senator Obama if he were the nominee"¦"
Ahhhh, now that's a candidate with command of the language. If she doesn't get the commander-in-chief nod, at least there's that.
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