Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reality and the Unthinkable

Bubblehead: If you made comments that did not appear on Morialekafa I’m sorry, but I assure you it was not because I refused them . For the past couple of months, perhaps a bit longer, I simply have not seen any comments so that I could either refuse them or not. I don’t know how this happened. My computer skills are so primitive I could not have arranged this change, unless I somehow did it accidentally and was totally unaware of it. One possibility is that someone else did it. Other people occasionally use my computer, especially my wife and my son (although they do have their own computers). Another possibility was a visit at about that time of a somewhat shiftless brother-in-law. But I can’t really blame anyone as I have no idea what happened. I did not want to inhibit any comments other than spam or those too obscene even for me . For anyone else whose comments did not appear I also apologize. Anyway, I hope it has gone back to the way it was. I truly enjoy the comments even if I sometimes do not agree with them.

Somehow our political system has strayed farther and farther from reality in recent years. The current Republican slate of candidates for President would have been unthinkable not too many years ago, except perhaps for one or two of them. This is, I suppose, at least partly due to the fact that there are no formal prerequisites for the position. But I think there is more to it than that although I can’t exactly point out why. It seems to me that most usually throughout our history candidates for President were chosen by the Political Parties from the ranks of known and seasoned politicians, those who had served in Congress or were well-known Governors, Generals, or the like. It was not the case that just anyone or everyone who wanted to run was allowed to do so (or at least were not taken seriously). This has changed and there are now candidates who are clearly not viable (or perhaps even serious) candidates.

The reality is, the United States is still the largest economy on earth and indisputably the most awesomely powerful militarily, with weapons and responsibilities almost beyond imagination. There is an unbelievably complicated web of relationships with virtually every other country on earth, as well as a population of citizens numbering in the billions that must be protected and nourished. As a result of this the President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world, responsible at the moment for virtually all the people on the planet, as well as their well-being. Not, then, a job for just any man or woman. I submit for one reason or another none of the present Republican candidates is truly suitable for, or up to, the job.

Does anyone (reasonably sentient) seriously believe that Sarah Palin, for example, could be President? It seems obvious to me she cannot be accepted as a candidate for the most powerful position on earth. It is true she was a Governor (at least for part of a term), but she also revealed herself to be virtually dimwitted when it comes to world affairs and is also a religious nutcase. Much the same can be said for Michele Bachmann. It’s true she has served in Congress but, like Palin, is a religious extremist, and, in fact is considered even only borderline sane by some. Donald Trump as a candidate for President is beneath contempt. Herman Cain, too, cannot, in my opinion at least, be considered a serious or viable candidacy for the Presidency. He has revealed an awesome ignorance of world affairs as well as even local political realities, and being a successful businessman is not of itself a qualification for the job. Ron Paul, another senior Congressperson, has a small following that seems very loyal to him, but his ideas appear to come out of the dark ages and very few even now take him seriously. Rick Santorum is a somewhat sad case of essentially a one issue candidate, the issue being Gay marriage, certainly at the moment not a winner for anyone. Then there is Newt Gingrich, thrice divorced, known hypocrite, pompous blowhard, disgraced former Speaker of the House, chronic liar, and self-proclaimed savant. I believe it is entirely fair to say that even 30 or 40 years ago none of these candidates would have even been considered seriously for the Presidency, certainly not Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, or Gingrich.

This leaves us with three former Governors that at least have the apparent credentials for candidacy. But two of them are Mormons who even now face considerable opposition just on religious grounds alone (however unfair that may be). The third, Rick Perry of Texas, ought, by all means, to be considered a viable candidate, but has shown himself to be not only an ignoramus and a religious nutcase, but also a flop as a debator and a student of world affairs, not, as they say, suitable for the “big time.” Huntsman, the only candidate with any significant Foreign Affairs experience, has failed to connect with the Republican base as he is apparently too honest for them, and Romney has proven himself over several years to be a man with no permanent principles. I do not believe that even fifty years ago any of these current candidates would have been considered acceptable, nor would they have received the media attention they have.

I would attribute this rather strange development to several factors. One of them I think is just plain ignorance on the part of the electorate. When you have relatively large numbers of voters who think the President should be just like themselves, someone you would like to have a beer with, this indicates to me ignorance of reality on a truly grand scale. Another factor has to do with the control of the media by a few corporations who apparently don’t care who the President is, as long as he or she does what they desire. Third seems to be the fact that if someone can generate enough funds to run, or have enough funds of their own to run, it doesn’t matter if they are truly worthy candidates or not, the very fact they can raise money seems to indicate they are desirable candidates. Fourth, the Party regulars, partly because of the media, no longer seem to be in control of the selection of candidates, having ceded their previous authority to the fringes of the Party and the media.

What this seems to indicate is that although previous experience, such as being a Governor or Congressperson, or even a celebrity, may be a necessary condition for becoming a candidate, it is by no means a sufficient condition. A candidate cannot be regarded as either dishonest, wishy-washy, an extremist of some kind, or a religious nutcase, and must have that elusive appearance of appearing Presidential. I do not believe any of the current Republican candidates meet the test. It doesn’t seem to matter as one of them will no doubt get the nomination anyway (and will probably face an ignominious defeat). Although I do not agree with or approve of some of President Obama’s decisions I believe he has demonstrated Presidential qualities. Charges that he has not been a leader I think are totally bogus, you cannot be a leader when large numbers of people have announced arbitrarily they will not cooperate, no matter what. I think Obama SHOULD win in a landslide in 2012 (but I am more often wrong than not).

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.

Groucho Marx

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