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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not Really Political

I just have to mutter a little.  I stated a long time ago that, as a communications teacher, after hearing Obama give his Iowa acceptance speech,  that I felt relatively certain that he would be the next president.  That didn't give me any thrill since I really don't feel good about him as president.  Since that time I have received Emails that would imply that I have been a rabid Obama supporter, and some of these Emails had really unkind things to say about my character, my ancestry, and  a variety of other characteristics.  That's Okay.  I have been a teacher who posted grades outside his office, and students have occasionally made comments within my hearing that make the ones on my Email seem tame.

My point is that election vitriol is spilling over onto me.  This is possibly because this election has been one of the most vitriolic in my memory, (and I am an oldish sort of coot) and that concerns me.  I am used to election rhetoric that deals antagonistically with policies advocated with the other side, and even with the intellect, personal habits of opposing politicians but I sense a level of hate in this campaign that is disturbing, and, I think, dangerous. 

Right now it looks like Obama is ahead and that his coattails may sweep a lot of Democratic Politicians into office behind him.   It is pretty clear that McCain has some possibilities as well (he has my vote) but the point is that one or the other is going to be president, and the supporters of the unelected one are going to have to live in a country rippling over with hatred.  This does not bode well for either the governors or the governed.  This kind of hatred seeps into  all kinds of relationships and  can result in contempt on both sides.  If the new administration come into power with hate and contempt for the losers the government runs the risk of slipping into the kind of slop we waded through after Vietnam.  The anger about Vietnam left a wound on this nation that has not completely healed and the emotional baggage of the current campaign has the possibility of adding a new wound that will be slow to heal at best.  I think that our freedoms as spelled out in the Constitution could be endangered by this wound as almost never since the end of the Civil War.  Think about it.


At 9:35 AM, Blogger Michael Nielsen said...

Whether or not I agree on which of the two will be the best choice, I agree completely that the winner of the election faces an uphill road to climb if he hopes to bring some reconciliation to the vitriol. It is disheartening to see debate devolve into sound bites and attacks on character.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

This has been the most hate fill election I have ever experienced. Worse yet it has been the longest and most media driven. Like a Greek tragedy, I have found no humorous relief in any of what we have had to endure. Your comparison to the Vietnam era is a good one. I believe this campaign has been more vitriolic and divisive. Hard to stomach. I am very afraid for our nation and the future my grandson will face. In my opinion, we have seen how powerful the media is in sculpting our culture. Very, very frightening. I feel like I am living in very dark times.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I think that the British have a good idea, requiring that national elections fit within a limited period of time (eight to ten weeks, if I remember correctly, but I don't remember anything with precision.)

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

One more comment. I completely agree with you in recoginzing Obama's incredible oratory skills. His speaking ability is superior to any leader in recent history. It is the message he is delivering that is bad. Unfortunately, I think that most Americans are not listening to the message. Another sign that our educational system is a mess. Critical thinking needs to now be included in the history books.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

P.S I completely agree that a limit on the time for campaigning is something that we should push for now.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I don't know about where you live, Richard, but in my neck of the woods there won't be any vitriol - except maybe a little bit in the local newspaper and even that is subdued compared with the big papers and TV.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Norma said...

The other night I was watching PBS analyze the current campaign, and it reviewed the 2004 speech that brought him to fame. Interestingly, they said it was the same stump speech that he'd given in Illinois in small black churches which they didn't find particularly exciting. The aide (I think) who was interviewed about that speech said he could practically give it from memory. Yet it had the whites in tears.

I don't look for any reconcilation--I think he's said awful things about his countrymen. I resent his implication that we're broken and he can fix us. But also, I've read some of the accounts of earlier elections, and they all seem about the same. What's different is the length and TV, and now the internet bringing it so close to home.


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