Monday, March 17, 2008

Who’s Leading?

For the second time in eight years, I have found common ground with W. He has taken a position on gun control in Washington, D.C. that seems sane and sensible to me. His position is that while a right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights that right can reasonably be subjected to regulation.

His position on the issue was aired because the Supreme Court is about to deliberate over the question raised by Washington, D.C.’s attempt to outlaw handguns. Mine has been developed through years of hunting and considering whether non-hunting arms have a place in private hands. I have a harder time with the wholesale banning of handguns than Mr. Bush apparently does, but I certainly support banning automatic and semi-automatic weapons originally designed for warfare. In my opinion, their allure to people who fantasize about swat-style attacks on people at school or on the streets is too strong and their power to create deadly mayhem is too real to allow uncontrolled private ownership.

The other occasion for our agreement was less public. W has not been a strong advocate for the invasion of Iran, and I am adamantly opposed. The hard driver behind that proposition is dick Cheney. Cheney also publicly opposes his president on the gun control question. I find this public difference of opinion on such contentious issues very interesting, and revealing.

It’s interesting because it highlights the dichotomy the country has suffered under since the election in 2000 was twisted into a Republican victory. That dichotomy being the difference between the man who is supposed be the most powerful person in America and the man who actually pulls most of the strings – the vice-president (in cahoots with presidential advisors like Karl Rove).

It’s revealing because no other president I have observed in my more than six decades would ever have stood quietly by while his vice-president publicly opposed his positions. It reveals W’s role as a figurehead posing as a tough leader while the truly tough guys (read ruthless Machiavellians) make the decisions and implement their nefarious plots from behind the scenes. The issue of gun control, though, while it is a hot-button issue, does not carry the kind of weight a decision to invade another country does. That’s why dick, knowing that W doesn’t really have any teeth, feels comfortable enough in his power to speak out in opposition to his commander-in-chief’s opinion. Harry Truman would have thrown him out of the Whitehouse on his ear.

All this illustrates one of the reasons why my independent vote has regularly gone to Democrats over the years. One of the differences between the two parties is that the Republicans have repeatedly and progressively nominated less intelligent and more manipulable candidates. The Democrats, on the other hand, tend to nominate more intelligent, independent minded candidates. Eisenhower and Nixon were the last two independent, intelligent Republican presidents. Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and W have progressively been less intelligent and, maybe as a result, more easily manipulated by their handlers.

The Democrats have routinely fielded intelligent men (sadly until recently not women or black men) from Adlai Stevenson through Jack Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. This year at long last they have fielded both an intelligent woman and an intelligent black man.

John McCain appears to be a more independent man than his recent predecessors, but I doubt that he could compete with his Democratic opponents on a Stanford-Binet. His independent appearance suffered a lot in my view this week, too, when I heard that he is now taking advice from Karl Rove and other neo-con headliners. I’ve always thought he was a loose cannon, but now I have to wonder who will be pulling the ropes that tie him down.

The Democrats have constantly amazed me with the number and level of campaign blunders their smart candidates can make, but at the end of each of their terms in office, they have consistently handed us a country in better shape than any of their Republican counterparts have given us.

I am really disappointed this week by Obama’s denunciation of the minister he has obviously held in high esteem for years. I would love to see one presidential candidate with the courage to speak to some of the true reasons for 9-11 and some of the realities of our national discriminatory habits. His minister perhaps spoke too directly and in too inflammatory a fashion about those issues, but Obama’s reaction was to reject him and everything he said. I though he had more guts than that.

Still, the political reality is undoubtedly that at this point he can’t afford to give the non-thinking average voter any reason to get angry with him as they certainly would if he were completely honest with them, so I have to swallow my bile and continue to stand behind him. He is, after all, probably the least manipulated, least subsidiary candidate in the field for either party.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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