Saturday, November 3, 2007

the issues are large

obama's right when he says, 'the issues are large, the politics is small.' it's the opposite, however, that wins votes in the united states, apparently.

clinton's calculated, safe responses may just be a regrettable political necessity after over a decade of living in the crosshairs of pundits. (even in a recent interview in the advocate, she had to plead--lamely--her advanced age (just 60) as an excuse for not warming up to the idea of same-sex marriage.)

the american media or the american people (or both) cannot tolerate honest, straightforward debate on the issues. we prefer the practical + the political (which often means the empty + unoffending) to the intellectual rigors of stating a clear + well-defined position on an arguable issue + then backing that position up with logical reasons + hard fact.

in the recent debacle over obama's s.c. 'gospel' tour, clearly motivated by politics + pandering to popular, faith-based beliefs + sentiments, the candidate was entirely within his rights to stand on stage with donnie mcclurkin, if he wanted to show solidarity with the sector of society mcclurkin represents. mcclurkin was within his rights to praise god for 'delivering' him from homosexuality, if that in fact is the best he could think of to say, given the opportunity. + glbt critics were entirely within their rights to cry foul. obama's camp were wrong to urge protestors to hush up for the sake of solidarity. either obama really wanted to bring two sides together, as he stated, or he wanted to give one side a platform + politely ask the other side to shut up + just take it.

it's through the honest yet respectful expression of contrary opinions about hard issues that information is shared + progress is made.

debate on the important issues of the day--real debate, not fox tv hysterics + not protesters' outshouting each other behind cordons--is no longer a part of american politics. regrettably.

more can be learned watching real time with bill maher on hbo--even though it's 'just entertainment'--than watching the democratic + republican candidates strike poses for the camera + make clever, catty, but largely unsubstantiated innuendos about each other, without brandishing the relevant evidence or even once invoking the name of reason.

i don't see signs of america's turning towards reason, mutual respect, + clear-eyed skepticism in the near future. it's much too eager to trust for the sake of trusting, to seek leaders to believe in blindly, to vote for american idols of one sort or another, in short, to 'lose its innocence' over + over again, instead of weighing words carefully + listening closely to a spectrum of arguments before choosing a side.

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