Monday, February 04, 2008

Nobody likes him?

I have heard several times now, or read several times, that no one likes Mitt Romney. Why? Maybe it has to do with the fact that he is tall and handsome and looks Presidential. He is well-dressed and immaculately groomed and has nice hair. He speaks well and is filthy rich. The problem here is, he is a "goody, goody, two shoes." I suspect this is reason enough for people not to like him. But then, there is also his lying, about lots of things, like hunting and Martin Luther King. And he wants to double Guantanamo. He thinks Bush has done a fine job. He insists we stay in Iraq until we "win." He has flip-flopped on more issues than almost anyone in history. He is an opportunist and always looks at which way the winds are blowing. I don't know if he wears the Mormon underwear or not, or if he thinks it is sacred, he doesn't really talk about his Mormon faith much (I suspect for good reason). He also has a speech problem so that under even light stress he tends to say Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, Reagan. However, I think I heard the real reason today why no one likes him. He eats fried chicken with a knife and fork! (aaagh). At least I think that's what I heard that supposedly was coming from Mike Huckabee. Now I would think that if you were a candidate for President and no one liked you that might be a problem. On the other hand, did anyone like Nixon? I think Romney will be finished soon. Being an astute businessman, he probably won't want to invest good money after bad.

I know someone who thinks it is terrible that Muslim women have to wear burkas. It is the "have to" that has caused me to think about this. I don't know much about the Koran but I do know that it enjoins both men and women to dress modestly and cover themselves, especially their genitals. This is obviously a cultural practice that has a very long history. In some Muslim countries some women have managed to give up wearing burkas, in Iran and Egypt, for example. But it is true that the Taliban insist women must continue to wear burkas and are severely punished if they don't. But how is this much different from what happens and has happened in other countries. For example, here in the U.S. women only wore dresses for a very long time. When some switched to slacks there was a bit of "to-do" about it, but eventually it changed. In fact, fashions in both male and female attire seem to be constantly evolving, in some places faster than others. But traditions are resistant to change and it always takes time and creates a bit of a problem. It must be misleading at best to assume that fashions in dress are dictated by males and that women are forced to wear what males tell them to (aside, perhaps, from the current Taliban). In the New Guinea Highlands women always wore little string aprons and went bare-breasted. When, after European contact, they began wearing mother hubbards and such I don't think many men objected. How much of a problem was it when women stopped wearing hoop skirts or girdles. I don't think the question of the burka is the basic problem that bothers western-Europeans. It is, I think, more the infringement of individual liberties and freedom that is involved, just as with the idea that women should not drive, or be educated, or vote, or whatever. The burka and headscarves are trivial compared to this greater infringement on human rights. American women were not forced to wear bikinis. But they are forced to cover their breasts, even the slightest glimpse of a nipple seems to throw some people into a frenzy of moralizing. American culture is weird, in fact, a culture of the absurd if you examine it closely.

I have been looking forward to super tuesday, hoping the selection would be finally over. Now I am told that it cannot possibly settle the nomination as neither Clinton or Obama can possibly get enough delegates to wrap it up. Damn! We have to go on with this ridiculous busines for months more. There ought to be a law, no politics until a month or two (at most) before the election. But like I say, a culture of the absurd. I like Lewis Black's suggestion: the winner of American Idol is blindfolded, throws a dart at a map of the U.S. A monkey is flown to that location and parachuted out. He lands and the first person to hold his hand is the President. Not much more absurd that our present system, and a whole lot cheaper.

Have you heard about Bush's latest budget? Surprise! He wants to increase military spending and cut domestic programs. He and his Brafia friends are sick people and require medical attention, preferrably psychiatric. But nothing that a good impeachment wouldn't help.

"Who knows when some slight shock, disturbing the delicate balance between social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities toppling?"
Richard Wright

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