Water Man Spouts

Monday, January 07, 2008

Looking Forward

"There are those who regard this history of past strife and exile as better forgotten. But, to use the phrase of Yeats, let us not casually reduce ‘that great past to a trouble of fools,’ for we need not feel the bitterness of the past to discover its meaning for the present and the future." – John F. Kennedy; 1963.

I watched the presidential debates again on CNN last night. Two things stand out: the top republican candidates are fools stuck in the bitterness of the past, while the top three democrats represent the potential to use that past to rebuild the foundation of our country, in order that we can deal with the present and move into the future.

The republican debate was an episode of jackal pack behavior. Ron Paul was viciously pack attacked for attempted to tell the truth about the relationship between the US policy in the Middle East, and terrorism. Mitt Romney was treated like a poodle attempting to exercise dominance over the jackals.

As a democrat, I found the republican debate to be encouraging. Each of their candidates has serious flaws. Although the republican political machine will gear up for the fall campaign, they will still be running jackal. They will try to disguise their jackal as a cuddly family dog; but it will be easy to expose that dog as Old Yeller with the rabies, or a blathering Hucklebee Hound.

It is clear that their top candidates feel pressured to embrace the Bush-Cheney administration. They do not dare move too far away from the administration’s positions and policies. They are stuck in a bitter sludge that the country is rejecting. It is clear that the real excitement is found not in the republican debates, but in the democratic contest.

As can be expected, the supporters of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards all see the debate as a victory for their candidate. They are able to focus on both what their candidate did right, and to make note of any slight error that the other two may have made.

The truth is that each of the three did well in the debate. The three share many of the same positive attributes, though each one offers something unique and good for our country’s future. Although some of the campaign aides will promote their candidate, and dismiss the other two, it is possible to step back and see that all three are good and capable politicians.

The Bush-Cheney administration has done damage to our country, and the world, that will take decades to repair. No matter which of the three democrats is elected, the truth is that they will not be able to work miracles overnight. No matter what the commercials may say, each will be working with congress, and dealing with the same crooked influences that have poisoned the political atmosphere in Washington, DC.

Karl Rove & Co. were a tumor on the state, but they were not the first. Newt Gingrich and his ilk created a toxic element in congress, but they were not the first. In order to appreciate the nature of the disease that threatens our democracy, we need a good understanding of the connections between the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush1 administrations, and today’s illness.

We must also be willing to recognize the role that some in the democratic party have played. It’s not limited to an obvious weak link like Joe Lieberman. When we think of the damage done to the Great Writ of habeas corpus, we have to start with the Bill Clinton. When we look at the current democratic congress, we must admit that they have utterly failed to show respect for the voters who demanded an end to the Bush-Cheney madness in Iraq when they went to the voting booths in 2006.

We need to select the candidate who is most capable of leading this nation in the present and the future. It will not be the candidate who can be most divisive in the primaries. The ability to protect our rights, and to heal the wounds, will not be found in the most vicious campaign. As citizens, we have the responsibility to keep our eye on the prize, and to work towards unity within the party, because without question, we need the vast majority of the supporters of each of the top three candidates to work together, if we are going to win come November.


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