Sunday, September 7, 2008

Obama vs McCain

I just spent nearly an hour this morning watching the appearances of both Presidential candidates at the AARP meetings and listening to their opening comments and answers to some member questions.  I thoroughly enjoyed Senator Obama's segment.  His ideas were, I thought, considered and moderate with specific examples and possible solutions.  I had a head ache and was seriously disgruntled after listening to Senator McCain.  Senator Obama stayed focused on the issues AARP opened up (health care and social security).  He answered viewer questions concerning the future funding of Social Security, the problem of health care/insurance cost and availability, and the gridlock in Washington succinctly, with focused attention, and with specific proposals.

Senator McCain, however, was entirely different.  He reminded me of a scene from the old Isaac Asimov novel 'Foundation.'  In that scene Salvor Hardin, Mayor of Terminus City, and the Chief Encyclopedist discussed the recent visit of an Imperial Emissary.  That Emissary spent several days talking about the security problems Terminus had with the rise of local, unfriendly, and covetous powers and the Empire's guarantees of protection.  Hardin remarked that he, at first,  thought the Emissary was an unmitigated ass but had since changed his mind.  A friend who specialized in a form of linguistics closely examined all of the Emissary's utterances reported back to Hardin that during all that time and talk the Emissary had made not one single, reliable promise of support.  Every statement was either so convoluted, conflicted or outright contradicted that it was meaningless.  Senator McCain's utterances were of the same nature.  He said nothing specific.  Much of what he said veered off onto other topics several of which were unrelated.  Often, at the end of a non-answer we were left wondering what the question had been in the beginning.  In the end, he has promised nothing and cannot be held accountable if he delivers nothing.  He promises change but doesn't define what that change would be.  Does merely, physically, replacing George Bush constitute change?

Rain at Rainy Day Thoughts has an interesting post today.  John McCain has, indeed, been making, for all of his career in politics, a case for his candidacy based on his status as a bona fide war hero.  I was about to ask if we are really becoming a nation of hero-worshiping idiots.  But then, having read a good bit of history, I had to remember that we so often have been.  For nearly fifty years after the Civil War both parties nominated high ranking Union officers.  Most of them were non-entities.  Ulysses Grant presided over the most scandal ridden Presidency of the last half of the 19th century.  Though he was not himself seriously implicated he did have an unfortunate tendency to find sleazy friends.  I hope this election is about the issues and not about the hero.  Otherwise we are no better than some of our ideological enemies of the Cold War with their serial cults of the hero each succeeding the other.  Or, perhaps, we will find ourselves living in another novel, '1984,' with Big Brother watching us while demanding our adulation and slavish obedience.

One of the bloggers I drop in on regularly had a post I can't find now and wish I could so I could link to it.  It concerned Sarah Palin's (you know, the Republican candidate for Vice President) sad lack of historical knowledge.  She had been asked about the words 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance and responded that 'if it was good enough for the Founding Father's' it was good enough for her.  The first point my blogger made is that the Pledge was written in the 19th century and the 'under God' phrase only added in 1954 to underscore how different we were from our Godless Communist adversaries. The Founding Fathers knew it not.  The second was that the Founders meant it when they wrote about the separation of church and state.  One of the readers noted in the comments that the Founders were greatly concerned about the interference of government in religion not the other way around.  That is an interesting comment but I have to ask: is there a point at which religion in government becomes government in religion?  Although the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion by the government,  what would our society look like if the precepts of a specific religion were made the basis of our laws?  We had something similar with blue laws and temperance laws (dry counties and states).  I think we should be concerned about the religious values of those we elect and how far they would go to establish those values for all of us whether we share their religion or not.    Otherwise, we may find ourself with an undeclared state religion imposed on us on the sly.  And don't get me started on the malarky concerning the Pilgrims and their search for religious 'freedom.'  They meant their freedom to worship correctly not the freedom of others to worship otherwise.  It wasn't only witches that were hanged.  Quakers, among others, were also.  

1 comment:

Rhea said...

I watched the AARP videos, too. I am perplexed as to how Obama and McCain are in a dead heat right now. Obama has got to win. I think it is possible I was the person who wrote the Sarah Palin history lesson thang.