© 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.
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