17 September 2010


Periodically, we are blessed with leaders who understood the importance of statesmanship, the quality of bringing people together, and of caring for people. An example -- on this day in 1978 the Camp David Accords were signed by Israeli prime minister Menachim Begin and Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat, formalizing peaceful relations between the two countries after decades of political and military conflict. The meetings between the two leaders were hosted (and, one suspects, mediated) by US President Jimmy Carter, a man much underappreciated for his accomplishments. Begin and Sadat jointly recieved the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their courage and foresight in fostering peace in the most unstable region on Earth.

How low we have sunk since then. US politics have become a carnival sideshow, complete with freaks. Earlier this week, Christine O'Donnell, a former marketing consultant, public relations consultant, and political commentator, won the Republican Senatorial primary in Delaware. O'Donnell's views are very shallow, and she is completely lacking in political experience or sophistication. She is riding the coattails of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, no more, no less. One expects her to start chanting, "Yeah, I'm a maverick" at any moment.

To give you a window into her shallow understanding of social and political reality, here is an MSNBC video showing O'Donnell bleeding her fundamentalist religious beliefs all over, taking a "moral" stance which would ultimately legislate the prohibition of most sexual activities between consenting adults, except within the narrow confines of her evangelical Christian interpretation of the Bible. Somehow even masturbation becomes evil again (remember the repressive days of the 1940s and 1950s? -- they're back). This, from the same people who claim to want LESS government intervention into our lives. The double standard is positively dazzling.

Incidentally, O'Donnell had the chutzpah to say on national television that she won the primary without the help of the Republican party, and she has no need of the party's support for the upcoming general election. It will be very interesting seeing how the purported "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" philosophy (or lack of philosophy, since they do not offer substantive alternatives) plays out. Will the Tea Partiers sink the Republican Party's hopes for taking back the House and Senate as a result of voter backlash over TPers' excesses? Or will more and more Republicans jump on the extremist TP bandwagon, leaving moderate (read: sentient or statesmanlike) Republicans abandoned in the wilderness? Sounds a whole lot like anarchy to me.
Between Democrats tripping over their own feet to avoid showing firm leadership, and Republicans spilling in droves out of a tiny car like circus clowns, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. President Obama is a man of principles -- it is past time that he began to act on them, setting an example of both decorum and action. Jimmy Carter never hesitated.

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