Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ridiculous Contentions

Those people who say that Sarah Palin should not be Vice-President because the job would take her away from her responsibilities as a mother, "She should stay at home with those five kids, especially the baby with Down's Syndrome," let's be a little less insane in our outlook. For one thing, we could say that about any mother. If what you really want is for all mothers to stay at home and take care of their children, say that, don't somehow make this some kind of unique requirement for Sarah Palin who just happens to be running for office for a party that you are against. And anyway, she is already a Governor and she seems to function there just fine. Is Vice-President that much worse, or would take up that much more time? It might even be easier. Some Vice-Presidents have felt that they have very little to do. Honestly, I really wouldn't think that she would be any more over-worked than any of the rest of us (that is to say, those of us who ARE overworked).

And besides, other women in powerful positions have raised children. Margaret Thatcher, for example, had children. And Lady Di. Few women on Earth have had busier schedules than the much-beloved British Princess. Jackie Kennedy was a pretty busy First Lady (the way she handled being First Lady was like it was a very busy public office), yet everyone remembers how little John John was during President Kennedy's presidency, and Caroline wasn't that much older. Those are just a few names that pop into my head right now.

Anyway, isn't it up to Sarah Palin to decide for herself? One should judge her fitness for office on her character, background, and her stand on the issues, not whether someone thinks she should have a career at all, or not.

Next, regarding John McCain and some subtle hints I have been reading about concerning a potential "Swift Boating" of him concerning his POW years. The argument against him goes that since he was the son of a Naval Admiral whom they would have freed, yet he would not leave while others of his company remained prisoners, the Viet Cong went easy on in him and, in fact, he made a deal with them and betrayed his country by recording anti-American propaganda spots for the enemy and also shared so many American military secrets regarding bombing targets that the U.S. had to give up their bombing plans which had therefore been rendered ineffective.

They agreed to go easy on him? Have those who make this claim ever watched him give a speech? He can only with difficulty move his arms and it seems that he is unable to reach them up to even shoulder-level. This seems to indicate that rather than having had an easy time of it as a POW, his body was actually permanently damaged from the experience.

The Viet Cong's offer to set the son of an Admiral free...I wonder if he had accepted their offer, would they have actually gone through with it, or were they just messing with him? I think they figured he was probably their most valuable prisoner and they would go to any lengths to torture as much information out of him as they could. If he sometimes broke and actually revealed secrets, if he DID, who among us might have done better? Obama? Biden?

McCain seems to have the admiration of those other prisoners who were there with him. Surely if he had betrayed his country or his fellow prisoners, or in some other way dishonored himself, somebody by now would have stepped forward and revealed it, or have I somehow missed that? Instead what we hear is that McCain kept the prisoners' morale up and helped them get through to another day. That's what could be called "hope in action", which goes beyond hope in words.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lao-tzu On Leaving The People Alone

The other day I was doing what I sometimes do when I feel I need an extra "oomph" or some hope and inspiration, picking a page at random from some important book or other in my library to see what it has to tell me. This time the book I chose was the Tao Te Ching, the Stephen Mitchell translation. Stephen Mitchell is a poet and a foreign language genius whom I have had the privilege of meeting. The Tao Te Ching, although rather short, is a book I have only taken piecemeal, perhaps because each selection in it requires a very great deal of contemplation in order to appreciate, so I an unable to run right through it like I might a light novel.

The selection that I opened to was number 57:

"If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes as common as grass."

Wow, that was written 2,500 years ago by one of the top four or five wisest men ever, and yet we STILL have to battle Marxism/Leninism and Fascism (which people still think are "new, enlightened" ideas), right here in the United States of America.