Friday, July 11, 2008

Love Me, Love My Dog

It happens earlier and earlier in every Presidential campaign and it's started already this year even though technically the two major parties have only presumptive and not actual candidates for the office of the President of the United States.

For months there have been Internet whispers about the American flag pin not in the buttonhole of one of the candidate's suit jackets because that's really important. Meanwhile, across the aisle, the murmurings about a 'love child' (child born not from your wife, but by a third party, and when I as a kid, called a term that Mom would wash out you mouth if she ever heard you use) have been resurrected from the 2000 campaign.

Accusations of flip-flopping on issues as wide ranging as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) or the new GI Bill, both of which occupied the headlines and briefly (as all news seems to) our national attention three weeks ago, have become part of our daily conversations as if constancy and inflexibility are now virtues. In November of 2006, as an electorate, we felt very differently about staying the course and maintaining our speed and direction as we dis elected one party from control of the legislative branch and re-installed the other.

Turns out, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Joe meet Rob, Rob meet Sean, Sean meet Joe. And around goes the gossip. One hundred and fifty years ago, Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln engaged in seven debates across the state of Illinois for the privilege of being elected by the Illinois State Legislature to serve as one of the Senators from that state.

What would that election have looked like, I wonder, if we had youtube or facebook or myspace.
Considering the personal tragedies within his own family that he struggled to keep personal, how would Lincoln have been able to counter all the viral videos that could have been launched?

More ominously, how awful, truly awful would the tone and tenor of this year's national elections be if we did not have the examples from the past of those who exercised both comity and communication in the furtherance of the public good? There's a video on "I'm voting Republican" and its mirror reflection on "I'm voting Democrat" that are funny in the sense that the last laugh at the end of the world will be considered humorous and keeps us from admitting we're not really interested in issues and answers anymore.

What's the matter Lassie, is Miss Liberty in trouble?
-bill kenny

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