Everyone who knows about the Peanuts comic strip, and Charlie Brown and Snoopy, or who has read a crackling pirate story, recalls the expletive of choice for the characters: “Aargh!” It is indeed a great expletive, since it is in general socially acceptable and yet wonderfully expressive.
Well, ‘aargh’ pretty well sums up my feelings about the political process for the last several years, and especially right now.
Putting aside one’s political preferences, and mine are safely aside and well-known, it is as shocking as can be expressed to observe the causes and effects of the GOP nomination process this time around. Now debate and dissent can be very healthy processes to help define and understand positions on politics, the economy, personal values, etcetera. Unless debate and dissent are simply used like hammers and tongs to damage opponents. But none of that is new. One only has to read David McCullough’s book, John Adams, or any other history of our country to know that political campaigns are as close to mud-wrestling as educated men get.
But here is what I simply cannot comprehend. The polls are going back and forth like wind-shield wiper blades, back and forth constantly, depending on what the utterances du jour are. That indicates, at least to some, that choices are going back and forth like … well, wiper blades. And how is that possible? In this day and time, when candidates’ biographies and histories and what they say out of their own mouths are easily obtained on television, on the Internet and in the newspapers, and in national magazines, what could any candidate possibly utter that would transform them one day into a hero and the next day into pond scum?
Mr. Obama is our candidate, has been our candidate since he won the nomination back in 2008. There are a lot of things we admire him for: his steadfast calm, at least in public; his sense of humor; his refusal to pull out a bull whip when certain members of Congress act like remorseless fools; his intelligence and determination to get the facts before decision, even in the face of horrific criticism because he doesn’t act as fast as and in the manner that even many of his own party think he should. And not least of all, that grin he can flash, either when he’s having a really good time, or when someone has just done something really stupid and he is being politely silent. But aside from all that, we personally have taken the time to examine, as much as we are able, what has been done for the country in this administration. In other words, we pay attention to what has been said and done, and not what we are being told to hear and think by the folks who run the wiper blades.