With the Presidential election less then nine months away, the political silly-season is really beginning to heat up. Although the Republicans have not yet decided on who their standard bearer will be in November, the battle lines are already being drawn for the general election. The Republicans and their more conservative allies are taking a very hard-line position on certain major issues. President Obama, on the other hand, seems to be following the same moderate course he has followed throughout his first term in office.
The Republicans are, as they have for the last four years, painting Obama as an extreme liberal, even calling him a socialist. Like so many other arguments made by the Republicans, this one is a distortion of the truth. But then, politicians rarely let the truth get in the way of their bombastic rhetoric. They feel that we, the electorate, are mindless sheep that follow where lead.
The reductionist view of facts is that they have some objective reality, that facts speak for themselves. That’s a load of crap. Facts have no reality outside of our perceptions of them, and since each of us has our own perceptions of reality, the same fact can mean something different to each of us. What the politicians do is try to mold our perceptions of reality, the facts, through rhetorical manipulations. They feel we are too stupid to see through their tricks. I, however, give you credit for more intelligence for that.
At one time in my life, I actually considered politics as a profession of choice. When I was in High School nearly fifty years ago politics and seeking political office was considered an honorable profession. I became active in High School in, believe it or not, the Republican Party. I was a member of the Teenage Republican Club (TAR) at my High School and even served as it’s treasurer. I was also a delegate to the state TAR convention in 1964. At a mock Republican Convention at my High School in 1964, I made the nominating speech, which I wrote myself, for the winning candidate, for which I received a thunderous ovation. That experience really wetted my appetite for politics. Unfortunately, the candidate who won the nomination at our High School and the candidate who won the real nomination were not the same person. The nomination of Barry Goldwater to run against Lindon Johnson in 1964 pretty much disillusioned me about the Republican party and I kind of gave up on politics for a few years.
However, with the increasing involvement of the U.S. in Vietnam and, as someone who was of prime draft age, I did become re-involved in politics, this time as a Democrat. Like many of my generation, I was strongly opposed to our involvement in what was pretty much a civil war. I did not put much store in the “domino theory” that argued that should the Viet Kong win the war, all of Southeast Asia would fall to Communism. As a student of History I was well aware of the long and bitter history between Vietnam and China. There was no way the Vietnamese would ever allow themselves to be puppets of the Chinese. In the the period from 1966 to 1972 I remained relatively active politically, supporting and volunteering for Candidates who opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The 1972 Election and especially the Nickson campaign, culminating in the Watergate Scandal, convinced me that politics was a moral cesspool and the only anyone could get Elected, especially to national office, was by compromising their moral principles.
Since that time I have been relatively quiet politically speaking. Matter of fact, I have rarely voted in Presidential Elections since 1972. I have felt that there has been little choice between the candidates in any of those Elections. I did vote for Obama in 2008 and will vote for him this year. However I am somewhat disappointed in his first term, mainly because of his backing away from what I saw as a line in the sand that he and the Democrats drew in 2008. I do hope that this time around Obama and the Democrats pick up the gauntlet that has been thrown down by the Republicans and their conservative allies. The line in the sand has been drawn and it’s time to fight.
Note: This is the first in a series of articles that will look at the various elements of the line in the sand that is the 2012 Elections.