Thursday, July 03, 2008

What does thinking have to do with it?

Has thinking been a completely lost ability in the U.S., especially as it relates to elections? If you watch the MSM, or read the major newspapers, you would have to conclude that thinking has vanished from our human repertoire. Take the recent flap over General Clark’s comments about McCain’s qualifications for President. Did anyone, or does anyone, believe that being shot down and incarcerated as a war prisoner is a qualification for being President? I should certainly hope not. A second’s thought would be enough to dismiss that as utter nonsense. But some are still carrying on about it as though it has some importance. Take today’s flap over Obama’s pledge to bring our troops home in 16 months. Apparently those who are incapable of thought believe that Obama meant he would literally bring troops home in precisely 16 months no matter what. It is completely thoughtless to believe that he meant that. It would be like someone saying, “I’m going to kill myself on October 10th,” and then finding out on October 8th or 9th their health had improved or they had won a 10 million dollar lottery. Hey, you said you’d do it on October 10th, what are you, some kind of flip-flopper? Does it really require any deep thought to know that when people say things like that they mean, if nothing intervenes in the meanwhile that would lead me to make changes in my plan, I intend to do so-and-so by the xth of y. If a politician states that he/she is going to change the tax code, are we to understand they are going to do that no matter what. That is, what if they run into very strong opposition and are unable to change the tax code as they claimed they would do? Does that make them liars? Flip-floppers? Come on, use your brain, that’s supposedly what it’s for.

Now that Obama is clearly the Democratic candidate, and the campaigns are moving forward, he is coming under increasing fire. Some are apparently already having buyer’s remorse. Not me, although I do question some of his recent positions. Take his FISA vote. I didn’t like it and I would have preferred he just vote no. But he has explained why he did it, he has a point, and I appreciate the fact that he actually explained his position. Did you ever hear anything like that from Bush or Cheney? Similarly, I am personally opposed to any faith-based programs, no matter how they are administered. But for Obama, at the moment, I think his planning to extend them is probably brilliant. And if he follows through on his promise of no proselytizing and strictly watching how the money is spent I can live with it. Furthermore, it is a really cheap way to gather a lot of support from that particular constitutency. Although I don’t like it, it probably will do no harm.

Where I violently and absolutely disagree with him has to do with his plan to expand the military. Expanding the military, when we already spend more than all the rest of the world on military, is to me an idea so completely absurd that I have apoplexy just thinking about it. Indeed, I firmly believe the military budget could be cut by a minimum of 50% and we’d still have more than enough security. If Obama, or anyone else, is worried about not having enough troops for Iraq and Afghanistan, I say okay, let’s get the hell out of there, we don’t belong there in the first place, and there is no way we can ever “win.” I know Obama cannot appear to be “weak” on national defense, and I know the military/industrial/political complex will encourage him to spend even more so they can continue their greedy production of useless armaments, but I wish he would just tell the truth: we are spending way to much on absolutely senseless military projects and it is crippling our nation. He should also question why we have military garrisons in some 70 or more countries. We do not need an “empire” in order to get along in the world. In fact, we’d get along much better without it. Realistically, the increasingly powerful Chinese and Indians, and the already powerful Russia and Japan, to say nothing of the Europeans, are not going to allow an American empire in any case. Let’s get out before we are forced out. Our tail is already a long way between our legs, thanks to Bush/Cheney and their megalomaniacal dreams of empire. Think. It’s not really that hard to do.

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
Soren Kierkegaard

No comments: