““I believe in hope, not fear.” “I’m a leader, not a politician.” “It’s time for an American leader.” “America’s earned a change.” “I before ‘E’ except after ‘C’!” It’s the fortune-cookie candidacy! These are important thinkers, and understanding them can be very useful and it’s not ever going to happen at a four-hour seminar. When the President’s got an embassy surrounded in Haiti, or a keyhole photograph of a heavy water reactor, or any of the fifty life-and-death matters that walk across his desk every day, I don’t know if he’s thinking about Immanuel Kant or not. I doubt it, but if he does, I am comforted at least in my certainty that he is doing his best to reach for all of it and not just the McNuggets. Is it possible we would be willing to require any less of the person sitting in that chair? The low road? I don’t think it is..” — The West Wing
I was a little hooked on that program, but first step to recovery is admitting you have an issue, but that quote keeps coming back to me.
So, you found your candidate. Congrats! Not for nothing, now hush. Go read. I’ve been avoiding the bulk of the “discussions” on Facebook as they pretty much all are really stupid. People are forgetting everything but the most current zinger. Reading social media about the presidential election is a dizzying and nauseating idea. Everybody seems to be in the spirit of crapping all over the ideas they don’t immediately agree with, it’s like the whole campaign has come down to clever memes and easily forgotten double standards. It gave me pause reading through some of this stuff as my oldest friend and I probably don’t agree on much of this, but he’s still the best drinking bud I’m ever going to have. He’s never derided me nor I him. It’s a crazy notion, I know, respecting principles and all. Hell, having principles is tough enough. I say this because he is a smart fellow and informed and doesn’t browbeat anybody for their choices. I try to return the favor.
Everybody seems to be out to scare and frighten, paranoid of ideas that aren’t in lockstep with their own, clinging to words that barely make a meme as a position, intolerant of any facts, you know, those pesky things we studied before facebook status updates. I started writing this some time ago, and I was worried about focus. And then came the “no fact checking” headlines for the presidential debate and the quote about appeared in my head. We’re arguing over stupid things and not paying attention to what truly matters. “You can’t trust her” some wag posts on facebook. “He’s gone backrupt 4 times” posts another. “Her husband’s fooled around” “He’s on his third marriage.” Hey, guess what?
None of it or other non issues matter. Congressional leaders came out in 2008 and stated that their number one priority was to make sure the Obama administration failed. There have been email server issues since there has been email. There were 8 different Benghazi like incidents during the Bush administration and nary an investigation or question for that matter. One candidate has insulted gold star families, actual war heroes, handicapped reporters, advocated violence, shortchanging social security, wants to change freedom of speech so he can sue the media that doesn’t agree with him. He lost a billion dollars one year and got twenty years off from tax payments. That last part is legal, so I’m a little concerned about the losing a billion dollars in a year. That sounds like something out of Brewster’s Millions. She made Obamacare look good in the early 90s, promised New York state 200,000 jobs that never materialized, screwed up on NAFTA and was less the reverent with classified material. I mean now that Johnson and Johnson has said their insulin pumps are prey to hackers, perhaps we should let that go, but in light of all the mansplaining that has been going on, I miss Tim Russert. He wouldn’t take any guff from either side. The debates aren’t changing anything for anybody unless you are a meme-designer
Fact of the matter is that I’m with her if for no other reason that I prefer public service, to self service. There is nobility in the failure. The futility is in not trying. I’m under no illusion. Neither candidate gives a rat’s behind about my fortunes. That I spend part of 2015 unemployed isn’t an issue either candidate is going to address for me. You don’t get to profit from a system and complain it was rigged at the same time. That level of hypocrisy doesn’t work for me. You can’t have it both ways. George Carlin was right. It’s a big club, but they don’t want us in it. You do have to play the cards dealt to you. I know I’m working through lunch on the day of my funeral, but I want a grown up at the wheel, not somebody prone to twitter rants at 4am. I am making my choice based on the candidate who will reach for the whole thing and not just “Settle for the McNuggets.”
You don’t a President to bring us together. Officeholders don’t embue you with your humanity. If you post hateful things online or in newspaper columns, that’s on you. My folks put a premium on just being informed, knowing what is actually going on. That can be sometimes tough as every outlet seemingly has an angle and the supposed tough questions aren’t always getting asked, but I’m glad to see my kids are reading and digesting information from multiple sources. because these are complex times. It’s a strange thing where a white billionaire can say “America isn’t great” and have masses blindly cheer, and a black millionaire athlete can say the same thing and get a decidedly different reaction. We seem to be for freedom of speech until somebody actually uses it. It’s like we are looking to complain. While the candidates continue to bicker, I continue to hope they, like anybody running, would focus on what they would do on the job. Until that happens, debates are meaningless and skits like the Saturday Night Live debate parody contribute more to the conversation and raise the “Level of Debate”
In the meantime, the country we carry in our hearts is waiting.