Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Post No. 4: THIS THING IS BIGGER THAN REV. WRIGHT (ISN’T IT?)

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

This will probably be the shortest article that I will ever write. That’s because I am at an absolute loss for words. One of the reasons that I started writing was because, for virtually all of my fifty plus years, I’ve been saying to myself, “People can’t possibly be concerned about this, or care about that…”

But having some minimal appreciation of reality, I have reluctantly concluded that people do, even thought I may not. Am I really that far out of touch?

In my first article, I revealed my difficulty in comprehending the enormity of the emotion expressed in connection with Michael Vick’s treatment of dogs, as compared to the relative paucity of outrage, almost to the point of indifference, expressed by our citizenry in connection with the treatment, on many levels, of our returning Iraqi war veterans. (We did not even get into the Vietnam discussion.) Folks are serving time for the dogs; yet, as of this date, I am unclear as to whether any charges… Well, I won’t go there.

After receiving numerous comments from you, I ultimately concluded that domesticated dogs were viewed as helpless creatures, which were involuntarily placed in harm’s way. (For those of you who feel that I should have used “who” instead of “which,” immediately after “creatures,” the spell check feature would not allow me to do it.) Additionally, dogs can provide what many consider to be “unconditional love,” or “obedience on demand,” depending on your perspective. I imagine that, in the eyes of many, it’s far more complicated, involved, and thus difficult, to love and care about a human being who is brutally injured and disabled.

To maintain my sanity, I’ve moved on past the public’s response to the dog issue; but I’m still having difficulty with this Jeremiah Wright thing. Of course, I understand how those individuals, with an agenda, might manipulate and place a spin on the issue. What I do not understand is the reaction of those of us, who are not associated with the leadership of either party, and who do not regularly appear in the media. I’m referring to you and me, the regular folks. After all, we’re all caught up in this argument. Everyone has an opinion.

I just heard on the news that the Wright issue is progressively affecting the attitude of more and more voters about Senator Obama, to his detriment. Let’s assume, purely for the sake of analysis, that all of the criticism leveled against Rev. Wright is warranted, and that we, as a society, are in agreement that he is a “really, bad human being.” In fact, let’s pretend that we are dealing with a modern day Rasputin.

Are we, as a populace, really that concerned about the effect or influence of one man on another? Is the Senator so young that we consider him to still be impressionable, and thus subject to the influence of an older individual? I realize that there was a close relationship there, but while in office, I would suspect that any responsible leader would listen to the views and advice of a larger number of advisors. Do we have any evidence to the effect that would not occur? (Eehh, I might concede that perhaps we do.)

Are we concerned that the influence of a spiritual leader might outweigh, not only the influence of the President’s Cabinet, staff, and other advisors, but also the other two branches of government? Is our Constitutional form of government incapable of withstanding the influence of a Rasputin? Should have all the meetings, between the Rev. Billy Graham and our former Presidents, been open to the public, so that interrogations could have been conducted? Should all candidates be required to “disclose” the views of the religious leaders with whom they have been associated during their lives? Should such a disclosure requirement apply to relationships over 10, 20, or 30 years? Should there be a different disclosure requirement for those spiritual relationships formed between ages 6 and 20, as opposed to 21 and 40, as opposed to 41 and 60?

We often judge others by the company that they keep. Should we disqualify, from running for elected office, all individuals who have a relative, close friend, or associate who committed some criminal offense, or engaged in some morally repugnant conduct? (Hmmm, what about adultery? Is that morally repugnant enough?) What about politicians with children who become substance abusers? Should they be required to step down from office? Should we conduct depositions of all individuals, including parents and relatives, who have had a significant influence on any individual desiring to run for office, to ensure that their personal views are in line with what the nation wants? Should this also apply to friends?

Many have argued that the Senator’s continuing relationship with Rev. Wright reflected poor judgment on his part. Let’s say a candidate’s daughter is a “call girl,” and the candidate knows it. Should the candidate (and the candidate’s family) disown her, or simply not run for office? Does the current discussion mean that it should be considered “good judgment” to jettison friends, with whom we have had lengthy relationships, when they make statements with which we disagree? How many statements, with which we disagree, are required for termination of the relationship? 3, 4, 5?…

I don’t know. I’m confused. (I’d appreciate someone admitting that they are just as confused as I am.) I can’t figure out the standard to be applied. You folks have obviously figured it out because the spiritual leader issue is having an effect on your opinion of the candidates. (Did I pluralize that?) However, for the far less sophisticated ones of us, I wish that someone would poll or survey the American people so that we could all get on the same page, and establish a standard. Prospective candidates would then be aware, before they file to run for office, of the standard to be applied, and we would all know how to think about the qualifications for at least the Presidency. Why didn’t someone think of this before the current campaign?

Additionally, I’m still not sure whether this inquiry is also applicable to other federal elected positions, as well as to state and local officials. (I can see how the inquiry would be appropriate for those running for dog catcher.) Despite my protestations, something tells me that a standard is not going to be established.

But I am more concerned about this national paranoia. What has happened to us? I know that these are troubling times, with the economy, terrorism, and all. But is there anyone worthy of being President of the United States? Can anyone pass muster? Maybe we can function without a President. Should our economy deteriorate further, or should the war on terror hit closer to home, should the scrutiny, of the spiritual leaders associated with our candidates, become even more intensive?

“Somebody help me!” I know that I am not particularly bright, but I just don’t understand! Where are we? It has to be something bigger than what I see.

This is wild… I really did think that this was going to be short. Don’t worry. I’m just venting. I know that nothing that I’ve said makes any sense… Later.

3 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm with you. I'm not as concerned about the Rev. Wright as I am the influence that Karl Marx has had on Obama and his democrat pals. Karl would be proud that Obama thinks the state can provide better than free enterprise. Note his recommendations:
    1. Limit private company profit. (Oil companies in this case, but what is to stop the demonization of Walt Disney, Wal-Mart or other major companies and limit the earnings for their owners.) You want to lower gas prices – increase supply and lower demand. Unfortunately ours and world demand continues to increase faster than alternatives can be developed. So drill in the USA baby! Build refineries – but I don’t see these solutions being considered – save the blue nosed cricket instead!!

    2. The state is in a better position to help all citizens equally.
    (As we have seen through history this actually works - it makes all equally poor and limits opportunity - go Karl)

    3. Raise taxes on the rich to fund the state’s programs.
    (This has the effect of managing profits, but just who is rich? According to factual sources all those making over $85,000 per year in income pay 99.6% of the federal tax burden. So giving tax breaks to the poor will save 0.6%???) Just who is the middle class? When you look at incomes over $150,000/ year the percentage of tax burden only drops to around 5%.

    We have seen how successfully the state manages itself and provides services. Perhaps the state under Obama will take over oil production and delivery, airlines and mortgage institutions. Look they have done such a terrific job with Amtrak, Social Security, Education and Disaster Relief. The state's solution for poor results due to poor management is more money! (Higher Taxes)

    That's what we need Karl, er Obama more Government Bureaucracy and more attacks on Capitalism!

    I’m not even going to start with his vision for protecting Democracy around the world. (Hint: Fund the UN with a massive influx of taxpayer money and let them do it.) When you dems start wearing your little red berets and blindly following this "change we can believe in", I'm heading for the exit.

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  2. O.K. Coop, exit stage right. Your comment doesn't strike me as what the Blogger has in mind for his blog. I don't think calling Democrats Marxists carries forward a productive conversation about problems in the U.S. If this Blog turns into a toss of epithets from right to left, it will be more of the same. Coop, you say you don't want government to manage the solutions to our grave problems. So, why not describe the government you'd like to see, so that we can understand what you really want and can opine about the specifics of your vision for the country? After all, you can't be serious that Obama is a Marxist, so let's get beyond the sensationalist labels and really find out what you want. Sincerely, Prof. Kooperrider

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  3. Ok maybe labeling a Marxist is a little strong, but a socialist for sure. My vision of government is one that is less intrusive, more supportive of free enterprise. Our founders did not intend for the industry of professional politics. Now our politicians are groomed from early on to become professional elected officials. With lawyers representing over 70% of our elected officials, we have lost the concept of representative government from all walks of life. (Perhaps term limits might remedy this in congress and judicial branches)

    “The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.” H.L. Mencken. He also said: “The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.” Unfortunately, this is a humorous take on a very real and serious dilemma for Americans. Washington and to maybe a greater extent our local governments are broken, ineffective and inefficient. Suggesting solutions formulated, implemented and resolved to a completion by government is a pipe dream.

    In the early 90’s, I lived in Hong Kong and was taken back by how easy business flourished, how unobtrusive government bureaucracy was and how it was thus possible that this small city state became the beacon of free enterprise in Asia. I see our government trying to create solutions rather than incenting free enterprise (which historically has always been the source of solutions to problems). I see a judiciary trying to effect social change rather than interpretation of law made by elected representatives. I see ineffective legislators more concerned about keeping their jobs or getting elected to the next level than doing their jobs, unnecessary laws (in many cases the only purpose is to make it easier for lawyers to make money) and the constant “gotcha” activity. I see news media that has lost its link to truthful journalism and more on extending a political view to help realize their vision for the country. Educators that have lost their bearing as well. Indoctrination is more important than education. Student rights are more important than safe learning environments. Challenging, interesting classrooms have transformed into dumbing down curricula to the lowest common denominator.

    If you have ever lived outside the country, the lack of quality news in this country is a travesty and may partly be due to our lack of interest.

    Ok, perhaps I was a little hard on Obama. He is still a socialist, but so is Hillary. And McCain may be no better. So once again we are left with the lesser of evils.
    We still live in the greatest country in the world and need to focus on facts that lead to solutions not rhetoric that lead to platitudes.

    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
    Sir Winston Churchill

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