Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Debate, Another Yawn

October 15, 2008

Even a hardened political junkie like me can get tired of an endless campaign like this one. I'm probably going to skip the debate tonight.

I'm told that the meat of the upcoming debate will be the confrontation by John McCain of Barack Obama on the earth-shattering relationship between candidate Obama and Chicago education reformer Bill Ayers. If he sees fit to bring this up, McCain will be prepared to point out that Obama has obfuscated and denied this relationship, clearly indicating Senator Obama's ability to gloss over the facts and present a false front to the American people. After all, early on in his career, Obama attended a fund-raising "Meet the Candidate" coffee in the home of this violent and unrepentent terrorist.

Now I must come clean myself: There are less than six degrees of separation between me and Bill Ayers. I lived on the Upper West Side in the late 1970s and my daughter, a teenager who often needed pocket money, had a part-time job at a day care center alongside Ayers and his wife, who were working under assumed names since they were at that time still under cover for their activities in the previous decade. They were a committed couple with a child in daycare, and she reports that they were the last people anyone would have thought had been involved in the overthrow of anything.

Did you notice that I said all this happened in the late 1970's? The assumptions of the sixties, that the center would not hold and that the upheaval of the younger generation ("Make Love, Not War") would threaten the American way of life forever had become out of date and the few urban guerillas left were coming clean and paying their debt to society in various ways. This was before Sarah Palin was born, and I'm here to tell you the times were a-changin' and then changin' back.

Most of us observed from outside, held down jobs, raised kids, and observed the political scene with some unease on both sides. Raised with a comfortable Eisenhower in the White House, we had wanted someone with youth and vision from our team in that post, and soon after he got there, we lost him.

So what scares us most about the upcoming election is the frenzy John McCain's side seems to be welcoming. McCain himself claims to be oblivious of this, and says it's just the same at Obama rallies (occasional boo's, which Obama quells like a high school history teacher with a scolding, "We don't need that."). The debate is unlikely to reveal anything new, and if it does, that 20-second clip will be shown a zillion times on the next 24-hour news cycle.

People feel passionately about their political choices, and nothing I can say is likely to change anybody's mind. I despair at trying. You have probably guessed my own leanings, and I do have a suggestion for you if, as John McCain says, you don't know "who Barack Obama is." The man has written two books to explain that to you. His autobiography, Dreams from My Father, is an easy read and a beautiful, inspiring work. If your mind is already made up, which it probably is, you might assume it's a tissue of lies from beginning to end. But it's not a polemic designed to incite you to any political action. It's one of those books about a unique life that might make you think once or twice about the diversity of lives in our nation.

I doubt that the debate will do that. I think I'll check out Turner Classic Movies and watch Fred Astaire tap dancing.


Steve said...

And there's no football tonight.
I wish it was Thursday already so I could watch Florida State & NC State.

Quoting Frank Deford from a few weeks ago...

"The wonderful thing about sport is that it takes your mind off all the terrible things — and Lord knows, 2008 has been one heck of an annus horribilis, what with wars, oil, hurricanes, mortgages, Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, Eliot Spitzer and Paris Hilton."

Panaderos said...

I wonder which McCain will show up tonight. :D

I love Turner Classic Movies! They showed a number of Paul Newman movies over the weekend. Loved it!. :-)

Mary Lois said...

Alas, no Fred Astaire tonight, Panaderos, nor Paul Newman. But I'll find something non-political for sure.

I caught some of Paul Newman Day, and there'll be many more. Saw Somebody Up There Likes Me for the first time. I'm looking forward to some replays of From the Terrace, in which he's a nice guy and everybody else is wrong. He did a lot of that, now that I think of it. This time he's not an outsider; he makes a lot of money and lives in a big house with a shrewish wife (Joanne Woodward says she loved playing this role because they made her look like Lana Turner).

Daniel Spiro said...

Mary Lois,

The debate starts in ten minutes. I might be wrong, but given what happened in the market in the US today and in Asia this evening (and many of us, me included, have money in International funds), McCain wouldn't dare spend all evening talking about mishegas.

This is a scary situation, especially for people who retired and living off of their stock portfolio. McCain will bring up Ayers at his own peril.

Mary Lois said...

There's a Dirty Harry movie on AMC. With a young and supple Tyne Daly!

Enjoy the debate.

Benedict S. said...

Who is Barack Obama? For the answer click here . . .

Mary Lois said...

benedict, I must confess after reading your words that I too am a giraffe. I have denied this in the past, and there is no giraffe working on my campaign--but I saw one once at a zoo, and my association with is was positive.

I'd rather see than be one, but I guess I have no choice here.

P.S. Your link doesn't work. Let's see if this does it: mendacious mouse

Steve said...

Ayers is one of many, many friends or even more numerous acquaintances that Obama must have. Peronally, from the late 90's through 2005, my closest friend and confidant was a convicted murderer.

So Obama has lots of friends. I don't. This might lead some to believe that I pick my friends more carefully than Obama.
Probably not, but I guess this means I can't (or shouldn't) be critical of Obama solely for the Ayers association.

You would have liked my friend. Popular opinion, to which I subscribe, is that he never killed anyone.

I am reminded of the movie Tombstone, where a very ill Doc Holliday (played by Val Kilmer) is asked why he is helping Wyatt Earp.

Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Why you doin' this, Doc?
Doc Holliday: Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday: ...I don't.