Foster’s Clip – and Others Floating Out There

Another comment to yet another interesting post by Foster.  (The advantage I have over some of our commentors is that I can put up a post when I realize I’m getting too long-winded and too off-topic.)

Palin’s high energy may not rescue the McCain candidacy but at least it’s enlivening.  Obama appears to have energized some passions in Manhatten as well as across the country, if dulling other civil & communal qualities.  Transferring religious fervor to the political leads to some strange results.  Of course, that is why political fervor is both compelling – and disturbing.  Belmont Club discusses one.

I lived in Hyde Park in ’68-’69; this was the era of  Blackstone Rangers/Disciples turf battles.  One of my colleagues was glad a neighbor joined the Black Muslim movement because it encouraged middle class responsibilities; of course, as a white woman she found its tenets off-putting and bigoted.  Another Obama group, the parents of these children can take pride in their children’s performances and some of the remarks at Reason and edited parodies are a little over the top. 

In both clips children have warmed to a disciplined structure, been encouraged to practice and work as a group – not bad skills.  Dreams need discipline as counterweight – or reality check.  Still, submitting yourself to these light regimens may lead to harder and extended preparation for a career.  Obama worship may be no worse than hero worship of Frankie or Elvis or the Beatles, of Sarte or Buckminster Fuller or Dylan or Carl Sagan.  Better optimism than the pessimism easily accepted by teenage cynics.

I would be more comfortable, however, if these passions were seen through the jaundiced eye of earlier parents.  He is not just an adolescent heart throb or sports hero.  But I would be happier if the press, generally quite willing to make human those in power, kept that human perspective.  Most of all, I’d be happier if I didn’t suspect the parents were like those in Foster’s post – adolescent in behavior and immature in reflection.

And of course no matter how many women of my mother’s generation screamed at Frankie or of mine sighed at Elvis, no matter that the Beatles spoke of their fame in terms of Jesus’ – none was likely to be charged with leading the most prosperous and militarily powerful country in the world.  None would assume the duty  – to protect its freedoms,  to husband and increase its prosperity and power – to add value to that history.  (Obama himself seems to have quite other ambitions).

Our country was defined by a Constitution (one not read, apparently, by Biden who professes it); its first head remarkably handed his sword in to civilian authorities after the Revolution and later believed one of the worst precedents for this newly formed republic would be if the first president died in office.  Washington set in motion our now long history – one in which the next president will become an integral part.  I hope he is awed by that honor and that history.  Our history demonsrates that duty often requires renunciation of personal gain and immediate gratification; above all, it demonstrates the importance of renunciation of personal – and at times of national – power.  McCain may be impulsive; he can be self-righteous.  But his humility leads him to sense at gut level that long history.  I hope (but am not always reassured) the Obama/Biden ticket has that historical insight – one necessary to encourage some kinds of enthusiasm and discourage others.

13 thoughts on “Foster’s Clip – and Others Floating Out There”

  1. a few hours ago I had watched a video of the debates. The difference was that in this video, there was a split screen. What it showed: When a question was asked NOT of Palin, she had notes at podium and scouted for sound bytes; when none appropriate there, she winged and babbled…when it came her turn to answer she spouted what was on the notes. this, noted Pinker, the linguist, in the New York Times, is the difference between a debate and an interview, where, in the latter, the camera on the person always and the questions unexpected and developed in depth.

    Palin is not running for President, and though she seems not aware (or too aware) of the role of the VP, her brief appearances here and there are not going to help McCain all that much.

    McCain will of colurse–already announced this–go on the attack and pull oput all the stops to jump all over Obama in the next debate, the assumption being that he has no option(s) left to pick up some recent losses.

  2. Fred, enough.

    You are exploiting our traffic and our good will by posting your off-topic blog posts in our blog’s comment section. I’ve been tolerant because I don’t want to discourage other commenters, particularly people who don’t share the libertarian/conservative ethos of this blog. But you seem unable to refrain from hijacking discussions, and most of your arguments don’t add much value, to put it mildly. Please stop commenting here.

  3. Fred,

    I’m curious about your comment: in what way does it refer to the discussion in my post? In what way does it discuss the film clips to which I link? In what way does it either argue with or agree with my discussion of the discipline or the enthusiasm displayed in these links? In what way does it reply to my discussion of appropriate (and inappropriate) flexing of power?

    If you wanted to discuss minor & discursive points I made, do you want to deal with the fact that Biden doesn’t seem to understand what the different sections of the Constitution define and limit?

    You clearly were in a hurry to put up your comment, since you seem to have trouble with syntax, spelling, capitalization, etc. Does that indicate that your hurry was not to enter a dialogue on this post but rather to throw out your own red herrings since you knew damn well you had done neither the research nor the close reading and thinking that would mean dealing with someone else’s points?

    That you have the chutzpah to discuss Palin’s lack of preparedness for a debate (a debate in which Biden, who has been senator for well over thirty years, demonstrated time and time again that he was willing to either make up or distort facts) when you seem incapable of the limited preparation for a simple dialogue in the comments of a blog (that is, reading the post)is irritating.

    It would be pleasant to enter a dialogue with someone who has another interpretation of facts – and it would be good for this blog as a whole. You have demonstrated pretty consistently that you are not that honest man, searching blogs that differ from you and testing your thinking against theirs. You are a gadfly in the worst of senses – someone who takes an adolescent pleasure in irritating others in insubstantial and petty ways rather than engaging in the issues of a larger debate.

    You don’t have a stand in this open marketplace of ideas: you can open your own (or you have?). You act as if the comments were such a stand: that they were places where you can dictate the terms of the discussion. They are not. You parasitically land on a host post and suck away its blood – distracting the writer, attempting to turn the discussion. Your sloppy thinking muddles discussion and lowers its level.

  4. Oh man; I began reading the first comment and only half-way through did I realize it was Fred. I wish I had those seconds back.

  5. Ginny and I posted our comments at around the same time, and hers is characteristically superior. I think we would do well now to move on to the substance of her original post…

  6. Politics and emotion. An uneven combination. I’ve responded emotionally to Palin, positively, but emotionally, and I have to step back sometimes. Doggone it, I like her. Still. Politics and emotion…..

    This afternoon, I was in a different Park than Hyde, having lunch in a popular diner. In the booth next to me were a group of thirty somethings, seemingly well educated and dressed in upper middle class squalor (jackets from thrift shops and expensive jeans). Reading from the paper (NYT). One of them read quotes of Palin’s, garbled syntax kind of thing, and was clearly amused by it. They were having a conversation and during the conversation one sai, in a carrying voice, “I’d have no problem with Republicans if they weren’t Satan.” Having fun, they were, and minding their own business obviously, so we shouldn’t have done this, but our booth started talking in the same carrying tone, but, instead, disparaging things like, “don’t you think you should have more bills after four years as Senator?” and “they like to make fun of her, but, it’s totally annoying. Wouldn’t it be fun if people voted for her just because they were annoyed?” Wrong. Totally wrong. We felt a bit shamefaced after they quieted down after they heard what we were saying.

    Totally juvenile. We were way too old for that, but, to be fair, so were they! I think I’m off politics, it’s making everyone crazy (present company excepted, Chicagoboyz is an oasis of calm in a crazy blog world). I registered to vote today, I’ll vote and I’m gonna shut up about it, except, we all decided we wanted to go back to being loose and free about all this political stuff. In the old days, we would have heard them reading out loud, in their carrying voices, laughed and said, “hey we like her! Can you pass the hot sauce?” and be done with it.

    I want to go back to being that person. I’m gonna practice my calm breathing techniques, ignore politics and, if I feel tempted to snark, go back to my worry stone which has “There is no rock” on it.

    Oh, and I like Palin.

    (Sorry, Ginny, I’m Fred like in that I use comment sections in creative ways….)

  7. Obama was dissatisfied with community organizing in Chicago not so much because of the long hours, or the cold, or the low pay, but because Alinsky’s rules were designed to prevent forming a cult of the personality.

    He has now created his cult and I expect that when elected, he will be given a special name — perhaps something simple and modesty like “Our Leader”.

  8. MD, thanks for your comment. I’m terribly discursive myself; I just like it better when I feel like the commentor has actually read the post. And your comment went to the sense I was trying to get of the problems with thinking when our emotions are aroused by politics – as you describe and, unfortunately I’m afraid, as Sol Vason warns us may be in our future.

  9. “I lived in Hyde Park in ‘68-’69; this was the era of Blackstone Rangers/Disciples turf battles.”

    We did overlap. Were you there for just that one year? IIRC, I lived on Greenwood south of 53rd that year.

  10. Also — In the previously related post, I did an extensive piece fisking KeithP’s ludicrous assertions, but the latter third or so deals with the issue of why vote for McCain/Palin over Obama/Biden. It’s pretty cut and dried, I think. The litany of egregiously bad positions which O/B represent make it blatantly evident why you must, at the least, vote AGAINST Obama, regardless of how poor your support for McCain.

  11. Having watched both clips I cannot but understand and sympathize with Ginny’s profound concern and mixed feelings about the nature of Obama’s character, or at least about that of its campaign.
    The persistently blind and unfettered idealism of the left, mythifying candidacies, rising expectations irresponsibly, promising all kinds of heavens in a kind of the-end-justify-the-means mentality, and even using and abusing younger unsuspecting minds that are predictably ignorant of national issues at stake in these elections, poses a serious threat to American democracy.
    Also, the radicalism of the American left is almost going unchecked by their political leaders, whose shortsighted vision stops them from realizing they are recklessly playing to the tune of these idolaters.
    The problem I see for these young minds is that, having told again and again that Obama HAS to win, that he is pre-destined to become the next American president and SAVE the nation, they will turn hostile and resort to anti-democratic behaviors should their anointed candidate not win the presidency.

  12. I think this is relevant tangent to this topic, concerning insufficiently discussed Obama and Ayers’ attempt to alter educational policies in Chicago, in order to build conveniently leftist base. As far as I understood, the system they put in place in 1988 still exist – those of you living in Ch. please confirm!

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