Running to Stand Still

Last Saturday President Obama addressed gay soldier the incident from the last Republican debate. For those unfamiliar with it, at the third Republican Presidential debate, an active, gay soldier serving in Iraq asked whether the candidates would repeal the overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Obama had this to say:

“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the President of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed,” Obama said. “You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States — even when it’s not politically convenient.”

The article included a Republican response to this:

Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, took exception after the speech to Obama’s criticism of Republican presidential candidates.

“President Obama’s focus on the booing at the latest GOP debate underscored his focus on politics over policy in his speech,” Berle said. “Such actions were quickly rebuked by Governors Huntsman and Johnson, after the debate, which was appropriate. His speech last night, much like his tenure as President, was more cheap shots and politics than substance on policy.”

I agree that Obama’s comment carries a certain amount of political capital, particularly given that he made it at the Human Rights Campaign’s 15th annual dinner. However, Berle missed President Obama’s point. If the candidates want to be president, they should not wait until after the debate to give some mealymouthed rebuke. You confront it at the debate

The lack of response speaks to a broader problem in American society: partisanship. No one wants to give an inch to the other side, even if it means violating the very principles people define themselves by. Worse, no one honestly wants to find common ground. There is plenty for people to agree on or at least concede a little on, but no one wants to try.

It would be one thing if this were limited to the political campaigns, but it filters down to (or perhaps rose up from) general politics. From race issues to education, people take sides and refuse to budge. As a result, nothing gets done. While the United States is still at the top of the global pyramid, we seem hell bent on knocking ourselves down. Like most other empires (and that is honestly what we are), we are killing ourselves from within.

The question is what any of this gets us? Honestly, what good does it do to refuse to help someone without health insurance? What good does it do to cheer executions? What good does it do to boo an active soldier who could snap your neck like a Popsicle stick?What good does it do to oppose every single thing one side presents, even when they present your own ideas?

As I watch this political season unfold, I keep in mind that most of my friends and former classmates either have terrible part-time jobs or no job at all. I listen to the talking points from both sides, and all I can think is that damn near all of them would let this country collapse just for a taste of power/

4 thoughts on “Running to Stand Still

  1. Hey TS. I thought I’d run this by you on your own page because I’d like to string the folks at manboobz along a little longer.

    @ TS: “VoiP: Rev’s statistics are incorrect*, but he is correct that women commit most child abuse. From the Child Maltreatment 2009 report… blah blah blah.”

    I knew that already and had seen the maltreatment report a couple years ago. First of it’s kind and a solid start to an ongoing study. It’s about time.

    I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit disigenuous. I failed to mention that the 30-30-30-10% stats DIDN’T include neonaticide. If you go to the Wikipedia description of it, child murder within the first 24 hours, It is perpetrated by women in almost exclusively. They also state that neonaticide represents 45% of all child murder cases. That leaves the remaining 55% to be broken down by the 30-30-30-10% ratio. Gotta love VoiP’s math. Women are already responsible for 45% of child murders, Add to that their 30%+ of infanticide and filicidal murders, subtracted from the 55% and the actual statistic is more around 65%. Maybe girls really are bad at math.

    Wikipedia definition, first paragraph third sentence:

    “Neonaticide is rare in developed countries, when it does occur, it is most often the mother that kills the neonate; it is an exceptionally rare event amongst fathers.”

    “The United States ranks first in child homicide under the age of four years. Forty-five percent (45%) of all child murders occur in the first 24 hours of life, and thus can be classified as neonaticide..”

    Filicide extends up to teenage years where it’s occurence is rare and more often committed by men. Subtract filicide from the equation and the number of maternal murders is even higher.

    Can’t imagine how they miss this stuff other than flat out denial.

    *Leave it to you to be the only one to point that out.

  2. “However, Berle missed President Obama’s point. ”

    By a mile. The candidates acted like they were afraid of contradicting the mob.

    And Obama avoided another point. This story is not only about the crassness and cowardice of the Republican canadiadtes, it is even more about the vicious bigotry of the Republican aiudience. i can see why Obama would let that one hang in the air unsaid.

  3. And Obama avoided another point. This story is not only about the crassness and cowardice of the Republican canadiadtes, it is even more about the vicious bigotry of the Republican aiudience. i can see why Obama would let that one hang in the air unsaid.

    Politically it would not Obama any good to call out the crowd. But to be fair, the reason those people felt okay with doing that is because they knew they would not get called out for it. Both sides play this game, but as of late we have seen it more from the right because they are not the ones in power.

  4. “Politically it would not Obama any good to call out the crowd. ”

    And he is a master at giving people all the rope they need to hang themselves. He plays the long game and that long game is unfiying and strengthening the nation as a whole, noy jockeying for advantage in some political competition. He truly wants to unify and lead the whole nation, and he has made that really obvious with his forbearance on a whole range of issues, but there will always be those who just don’t want to get on board. There really is nothing for him to say to them.

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