Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

I'm sorry Doc Searls got sick, but if he hadn't I might not have been reading his blog every day for the last week or two. To me he's an ubergeek polymath who puts out more than I can ingest at one time, but today's post comparing Obama with Reagan is an inspiration. Go read.

This Onion Clip is not representative of Doc's point, but he made passing reference to it and it's too good not to grab.

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

As the Obama bandwagon rolls along I am slipping into a fantasy world that has been on hold for nearly forty years. Ever since the murder of Camelot I have been in a political funk. Every time a candidate came along that got my blood hot he either fell to the wayside early in the running, dropped out for some other reason or got killed. It was a sad day when Bill Bradley retired. Barbara Jordan was taken too early by a degenerative disease. McGovern and McCarthy got put on the shelf. Paul Tsongas got cancer. Every season, it seems, brought another disappointment.

Well, the Obama machine has the remnants of the Kennedy heritage behind it, including Ted Sorensen himself. Paul Tsongas' daughter is on the team. Bill Bradley is behind him. It looks to me like all the right people I have followed the last several decades say he's okay.

I know he's gonna break some hearts. They all do. That's the nature of politics... the art of the possible. (Hell, he cut his teeth on the Chicago machine and I think everyone knows what that might mean.) And he may break mine as well. But unless it's something horrible, I forgive him in advance because I understand it won't be from lack of trying or not having his heart in the right place. He's saying all the right stuff and I think he believes it.

Whatever happens -- even if McCain by some twist of fate become our next president -- the curtain is falling on one of the worst chapters of modern American history. When I was growing up, young and idealistic, I really believed all that stuff about freedom, democracy and high-sounding principles. As the years passed I became aware that in the world beyond our borders it was US policy to sleep with dictators, kings and tyrants of various stripes because there is a difference between principles and interests. And in the world of international diplomacy, those do not refer to banking... except in the most corrupt sense of the word.

In the world of diplomacy, interests trump principles. One of the last remnants of patriotic pride I clung to was that despite the many ways that we bent and twisted principles, at least the US did not openly have political prisoners. At least not until recently. That was a phrase aimed at truly corrupt regimes that made no pretense of honoring rights we held to be self-evident. But beginning with Iran-Contra my confidence in the integrity of our highest elected official began to deteriorate, and the extablishment of an extra-legal entity at Guantanamo has been icing on the cake. Political prisoners are now so much a part of US policy that the term has vanished from everyday usage. (Similarly an explosion of unwed mothers has resulted in the disappearance of the word "bastard" as it was used just a few years ago. Perhaps. Some of us primitive enough to connect morality with principles see a connection. But that is another discussion.) Thankfully, court decisions in the last couple of weeks suggest that even appointees of neoconservative stripe are not ready to betray some of the bedrock ideals of our legal traditions.

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