The Moment

I’m reading a book about communists
(poet’s disclaimer: I am not a communist,
though I’m not sure if it says more

about me or our society that I feel
I must disclaim; I don’t dislike 
communists, and in fact, I could almost

be one if push came to shove,
but I’m not, you see, just a plain
old run-of-the-mill Democrat

and proud of it, though I have 
good friends who are conservative
Republicans, and they are, generally,

quite lovely people) and in this book
so many of the people profiled
speak about THE MOMENT,

the moment when they saw
clearly and heard the clarion 
call of the ideal and felt 

connected to those who also
believed, and it was beautiful,
and it was life-changing, and

they never forgot it, and nothing
since has ever come close,
and I thought how very much like

religion it sounded, like a 
Damascus road experience, 
blinded by the light and all,

and then I thought about today
and how we’ve all become
evangelists for something, and I’m 

not saying that we shouldn’t stick
to our convictions, but maybe,
just maybe we could consider

how fully we ate of the
flesh and drank from the cup
of our personal gospel. 

© 2020 Deb Moore,  All Rights Reserved

Deciding on The Decider

High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.  — Henry A. Kissinger

I have a love/hate relationship with politics.  It’s like a drug I can successfully abstain from for awhile, and then suddenly it’s as if I’ve gone to a party where everyone is passing around the pipe.  I hesitate (almost imperceptibly) and then say, “What the hell.”

And now the silly season is looming over us yet again.  I opened my Comcast home page to be met with the news that Sarah Palin thinks she could beat President Obama.
In checkers, maybe.  She promises to make an announcement in August or September.  I can hardly wait.  (Please, do it, Sarah.)

See?  I’m pulled in yet again.  If personal history is the least bit accurate, I will slide down the long and slippery slope of political interest until splashing into the pool of election frenzy about 16 months from now.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  There was one thing I actually admired about George W. Bush (and, yes, a small puff of smoke arose from my keyboard as I wrote that sentence).  I actually appreciated the fact that he was “the decider.”

A friend of mine always says, “Let’s do something, even if it’s wrong.”  I thought of that saying often during the Bush II Era.  I rarely liked his decisions, but I had to give him credit for simply making them.  Washington has such an incredible tendency to become a stagnant cesspool of indecision that it isn’t really that difficult for a confident “decider” to rise above the crowd.

Because that’s really what we are voting for on election day — a decision maker.  Our entire democratic republic is based on that concept.  With rare exceptions in the form of ballot initiatives, we rarely vote for ideas; we vote for people.  We don’t make decisions; we vote for decision makers.  And then we hold our breath for the next four years as we watch them do exactly what we gave them the power to do.

President Obama’s ability to hold the Republican hopefuls at bay in 2012 may well depend solely on his ability to appear decisive.  Americans have their pet issues and political perspectives, but mostly they just want to know someone is in charge.  Someone who is not afraid to make a decision.

I contend that the President’s 2012 hopes will rise and fall not so much with the decisions he makes, but with his ability to appear decisive as he makes them.  That theory, of course, is dependent upon the assumption that the decisions won’t be too outlandish.  I suppose if he decided to invade France, I would have to return my Amateur Political Scientist merit badge.

Red State Blues

CNN’s Rick Sanchez showed an interesting map earlier this week.  It was a map of the United States broken into counties.  Each county was shaded either a variation of red or blue based upon whether the county voted more Democratic or more Republican than four years ago.  It was not a breakdown of who actually won the county, mind you, but more of an illustration of political tendency.  So a county could go for McCain but be shaded light blue if McCain only won by, say, 52% and Bush had won it four years ago by 56%, thus the light blue indicating a downward movement for Republicans and slight increase for the Democrats.

With the recent major shift towards the Democrats, not just in the Oval Office, but also in the House and the Senate, it should not be surprising that the country was almost entirely painted in varying shades of blue, light to dark depending on the size of the shift.  Ohio?  Blue.  North Carolina?  Blue.  Southern Mississippi?  Yep, blue.  Almost the entire country, except . . . Arkansas, Tennessee, Northern Louisana, Eastern Oklahoma were almost solid red.

The question was asked on Sanchez’ show about whether this reflected racism still running through a wide swath of the south.  A Republican strategist essentially replied that this kind of question was only asked by trouble-making Democrats who wanted to belittle the Republican party.  Well, then, you can consider me a trouble-making Democrat.

I’ve heard story after story about racist responses to this election.  There were rumors going around local high schools here in Middle Tennessee the day of the election that if Barack Obama won then white kids were going to bring guns to school and kill all the black kids.  In rural Georgia, people were flying flags at half-mast.   An African-American student at Middle Tennessee State University walked out of his dorm room and saw the N word written on the railing of his dorm balcony.

I DO NOT believe that voting Republican automatically makes someone a racist (of course not).  But there was a strong national trend this year that one specific section of the country resisted strongly.  There are likely many reasons for that, and I believe one of them is racism.

What do you think?