Okay, here's "Rick" ripping me a new one, but doing so, I might add, with a great deal of thoughtful, impassioned arguments. I'm going to leave this one up for a bit without a response from me, though I certainly would welcome any reactions from any other readers.

Here's "Rick":

"There you go again!
"I would like to commend you on your passion about this election and Obama. Passion usually leads to such a singleness of purpose which makes what was once considered unattainable, a reality. Unfortunately, that very passion can also make us close-minded, unreasonable and hurtful. 'In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.'
Orwell, George
"No matter what came out about McCain or Obama, there would still be people who would support them either because of the party, race,gender, one issue or because they feel other issues override any shortcomings.
"I, like Loff56, have written about the narrow and the seemingly incongruous views (for a therapist) incessantly posted on this blog. Whether we call it a judgment, assessment or opinion, it still comes across as 'my way or the highway' and close-minded. As I and others have written, your commentary, although quite amusing, is painfully dogmatic and unproductive. You define stupid as 'when you rely on superstitious, regressed thinking and behavior for ego-driven purposes, for a self-aggrandizing agenda and/or out of exaggerated pride, while pretending there won't be any negative consequences for such behavior.' Do you really think that there wouldn’t be any negative consequences for your writings? If people read your blog, the 'I am right and you are wrong' tone is clearly ego driven, self-aggrandizing and regressed. People will tune you out. If you expected this negative consequence, then, according to you, you are not stupid. If you didn't think people will now dismiss the balanced and beneficial things you sometimes write, well, by your own pen, one would have to classify you as stupid.
"To qualify my position on this election, I do follow the issues and have taken action to make a difference. I ran for several political offices. I won and lost. I am involved, and ran for those offices to really make a difference. Unfortunately, my Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ideals never made it beyond my town. Although I am sensitive to the incredibly biased, political info out there, I try to be open to others and allow the opportunity for learning.
"I am one of “those people” who is undecided. However, I am leaning towards leaving that election box blank or voting for someone other than the two big guys. Blanks are recorded and indicate that I did show up to vote but did not choose from the options on that particular race. Not showing up at all is a different pig with bad lipstick. To defend not voting at all, sorry, see aformentioned Orwell quote. There are other races and ballot questions on this year's ballot and I will not leave those blank.
"Here is why I am struggling with the last two standing… McCain = Keating 5. That is a fact. Given the leadership we need in this economy, I could end my argument here. He is no longer the maverick/centrist he was in 2000. His failure to come out assertively on his positions and show some passion for the job, leads me to think that he has lost a few steps. As Al Gore did in 2000, John McCain is doing now, departing from the core values that got him to Washington in the first place. (Al Gore lost his own state in 2000 because he was no longer the Vietnam enlisting, gun carrying, anti pro-choice (Is that a more honest way of putting it?) and one of the most passionate environmentalists Washington had seen.) You change your fundamental stripes and that leads to questions on your character. Gore returned to his roots and won a Nobel prize.
"Obama = smoke + mirrors. He is inspiring, eloquent and has the passion to win an election. I think he is a genuinely good person. However, there is nothing in his record that proves the kind of mettle required to run this country. In addition, his lack of transparency with respect to reasonable questions about his background and the connections he has with many questionable characters and groups, those are facts, make me question and fear him. One could argue the criticisms are biased, unfortunately, so too are the defenses which make it difficult to navigate these muddled waters unless you have experience in 'political speech.'
"With only a few hours to go, Obama and McCain still haven’t allayed my concerns. If one chooses to ignore these shortcomings, that doesn’t make them stupid, in need of therapy, or even uninformed. They are just voting on what they feel is right.
"In a few years, some people will know if our thoughts, assessments, judgments + opinions were honest and ’IF’ - we have 'freed up and cleared out of ourselves the distorted, destructive deformations of our character structures (our collection of defenses).'
"The rest of us will just simply say we got it right or wrong.

1 comment:

loff56 said...

AMEN, Brother Rick!

One more comment from me, and then I guess tomorrow we'll have an outcome to all of this and we can all move on.

First of all Pete, you're way off base about the "Pro-life" versus "Pro-choice" debate. By saying that the "Pro-life" side is actually "Anti-choice" is exactly as erroneous as saying that the "Pro-choice" side is actually "Anti-life". I understand your argument, at it's core. Many pro-lifers' intentionally and dubiously call us "Anti-life" or "Pro-abortionists" which is characteristically wrong. Labels are important because words carry meaning; either negative or positive connotations. Which is why proponents of each side refer to themselves with the "pro" version of the phrase and more importantly why they label the opposite side of the debate with the negative connotation. Again... it's all politics and semantics!

But more to the point about this specific debate... Most (good) laws have some sort of moral basis. However that moral basis has to have a balancing practicality to it or that law would be counterproductive. Now some of those laws that are deeply rooted in morality are unquestioned by both the right and the left, by the religious and the scientific. Murder is illegal because it's morally wrong to both a religious person and a scientist (or a mental health specialist for that matter). Banning alcohol has an incredibly strong moral argument simply based on the number of deaths due to drunk driving every year. But as we learned, the policy of banning alcohol itself was naive to human nature and actually made the problem a lot worse.

Now I happen to believe that overturning Roe v. Wade would amount to the same (or far worse) problems we had during prohibition. (Of course the follow up is that we'd learn, repeal the ban and never talk about it again, just as we barely ever hear anyone talk about banning alcohol anymore.) But that doesn't mean that the moral argument for banning abortion isn't legitimate. In fact I believe that the moral argument itself helps temper a person's right to choose with an understanding of the consequences of a decision to have an abortion. (As you duly note, not everyone in this country is completely enlightened, and most don't have the advantage of understanding the value of therapy and enlightenment. The debate itself is literately a barbaric tool of providing information to the unenlightened masses.) Interestingly, Hillary Clinton's view on this issue has always been the most lucid: "Abortions should be legal, safe and rare." Without the very moral argument against killing an unborn baby, I don't believe the "rare" in this instance would have the same weight as the other two.

I hope you understand that this is all from a "this is where we're at right now" view point. I get it; that in an enlightened world this debate is moot because really in the end there can only be one good answer to the debate. (An answer that balances morality and practicality). But we don't live in that world, and I think it's unfair to chastise people (who don't have access to those enlightenment tools) for not living in that utopian world.


I totally agree with Rick's assessment of both candidates. (Almost, there are a few minor disagreements but...) If you think that Barack Obama comes with out his pile of shit, I think you're in la-la land. When you vote for Obama tomorrow, you're voting for Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Obama's press representatives, his policy advisers, his campaign managers, his speech writers, his wife, the DNC, and the countless number of people that could all potentially be giving Barack bad advice. It's an impracticality for Obama to be able to weed out every bad egg in his entourage. And even if his judgment is completely crystal clear, there will still be some people that will fool him and give him bad advice. He's only human.

I agree that there are some questions about things that he hasn't been completely transparent about. I figured that out when he missed some obvious opportunities in the debates to either set the record straight or nail McCain to the cross on some obvious slip ups. But where I disagree with Rick is in my ultimate choice is that I'm biting on Obama's message of Hope. However... with a big grain of salt, some of that hope is hope that he'll end up being who he claims to be. If he is, he probably will be the Messiah (or should I say the Filet Mignon) that everyone claims him to be. I'm not holding my breath, but I am hoping.

I have a whole other diatribe about the importance of moderation between right and left, but I'm tired, and I really just wanted to emphasize the point that all viewpoints are legitimate, and that all politicians, no matter how well they speak or how much you agree with them or disagree with them are still just politicians.

But hey, guess what, tomorrow there's one guy that's not on the ballot, George W. Bush, and that may just be the single biggest victory that this country could possibly ask for. :-D



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