Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sharp-Dressed Man

When I closed my eyes last night, I thought we had all agreed to play nice(er) in the course of the campaign to be elected the next President. Like you, I suspect, I looked at the job for myself, in terms of benefits and potential and concluded hearing 'Hail to the Chief' played every time I would show up someplace would get a little old (I'm more of a Louie, Louie guy myself).

Then there's the haberdashery and men's' furnishings situation.
From what I've observed, the President of the US is propping up the suit manufacturers as I rarely see him, or anyone in national politics, have anything like a Casual Friday. Perhaps there's a rule that says you cannot create a cost-efficient and effective health care delivery system for 50 million uninsured while wearing a rugby shirt (we sure don't have one and I'm hoping that's why we don't). Maybe it's a law that you have to be in a three piece suit to declare that "the liberation of the Iraqi people has begun". (Come to think of it, Ari Fleischer was in a three piece suit. Hmmmm...)

So, and do the math with me here: if the President declares, in a sweatsuit, that we're NOT in a recession, are we? Is the message what's inappropriate or the packaging? This may become more than my problem as I look at who's left standing in the demolition derby we use to identify those MOST interested in becoming President.

On one side of the aisle we have a person who, while I was going through Rutgers, was a prisoner of war in (then) North Vietnam. I was taking "World Political Trends" (with Professor Muir, haven't thought about her in thirty years or more) as a three credit elective my sophomore year and this man was shackled to a wall, subjected, on a routine basis, to the type of interrogation many Americans feel is inhumane if our forces do it in Guantanamo. Many of those same people have no knowledge of the 'War in Vietnam' or an appreciation of what it was about or why it was waged. As we're figuring out, there may not be much difference between Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia, except for the rice paddies vice the sand dunes. What we are now is what we were when and experience is what you get when you didn't get what you want.

On the other side we have two well-dressed and well-spoken people who are relentless in their criticism of one another on everything. They rarely leave a good hair on the other one so perhaps it's just as well they're both impeccably outfitted. And in recent days, or just me, they've taken to having surrogates shred the other one so they can appear to be something they obviously aren't, human. So much promise and so little performance.

And one of these three folks will be Lesser of Two Evils whom we elect in November. Did our politics change since the Founding of the Republic or have we? Have we concluded the Lord gave us two hands to better help ourselves and two pockets to put it all in or are we just taking a break, ethically, spiritually, philosophically and soon we'll have our second wind? We were so relentless a half decade ago in pursuing a regime change halfway across the globe. Are we really going to have one here in November and what will we look like then, not just to the rest of the world but to ourselves (assuming we can look ourselves in the eye in the mirror-that has been a bit problematic lately hasn't it?).

We've become a pluralistic culture that's at least as bi-polar as as it is bi-coastal and more and more of us look at one another and are concerned that even though we have shared words and grammar we don't seem to speak the same language. Stumbled across James McMurty the other day and suspect I'm about to be addicted especially when, in something ancient like Out Here in the Middle, he captures my dilemma so effortlessly in a postcard from an America Gone Away as The Other One Went Awry:

"We got tractor pulls and Red Man chew/Corporate relo refugees that need love, too. We ain't seen Elvis in a year or two.

We got justification for wealth and greed/Amber waves of grain and bathtub speed
We even got Starbucks. What else you need?"
-bill kenny

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