Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Clean and articulate": Biden passes muster

YES, a first-ever and thus unique Saturday post on A Better Nation! Must be big news! And according to an e-mail I got at 4:15 AM, it is, well, good news at least.

So it's Joe Biden for VP, and what a relief. There is only one person who would have better for the job, Al Gore, and apparently he didn't make himself available. I do think that if Gore had accepted, the Obama/Gore ticket would have won by a landslide.

The Obama/Biden ticket will be more of a squeaker, but hey, no terrible baggage here, and that's where my take comes in.

I was a fan of Biden's twenty years ago, when he first ran for president. Back then, his tan was even better, and he had a dashing flair (his famous or infamous loquaciousness) that the tight-faced, stolid Dukakis lacked. Like Bill Clinton, he's gone on too long, but the import of higher office (that and speech writers) can fix that.

We'll probably enjoy his mix of gravitas and good cheer. Americans will see that the guy likes his job, something neither McCain nor any of his cohorts exhibit. Come to think of it, perhaps Gore would have still been too stiff, too officious and have had too much baggage to get down and grab the hearts, minds and votes of the base.

One gaff keeps coming up: Biden's comment last year that Obama is "clean and articulate." Perhaps you can draw racial overtones from this, as so many have, but consider this: Clean can mean 'no abominable ties to churches, thugs, corporations, controversy, mistresses, etc., etc.' And articulate: Some in the Senate are articulate, and some are not. This is not a racial slur, it seems to me, but a compliment. Obama is well-spoken. That's what that means. Take it at face value. I think Obama himself did.

And thus Joe gets a big chair at the table. Welcome, Joe!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear CNN &

I've sent this comment to CNN:

I find it inappropriate for CNN and to suggest that the opinions of talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are newsworthy, much less news. These are not impartial experts. They are rabble rousers, and it does CNN's viewership and readership a disservice to report their intentionally skewed and hyped opinions.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Camp Codependence"

Some people, many of whom are parents, just can't get enough of a bad thing. And some are so fixated on what they can get out of life for themselves and their upwardly mobile offspring that they see pampering as a right. They see doting not as a loving and occasional pleasure, used in moderation, but as a duty, a constant duty, probably because they fear losing status.

Judith Warner wrote today in the New York Times about summer camps that cater to the super spoiled, both kids and parents. It's an insightful article that raises questions about our society and American culture at large. Please see the article, "Camp Codependence."

And here is my response:

Perhaps it is NOT out of "love" that parents desire and demand such pampering, protections and special treatment. It may be overly generous to say that such parents parent out of love. Some are no more altruistic than the for-profit camps; they're acting out shark behavior to raise more sharks, not a loving matter but a Darwinian struggle for prestige and power.

In general, across all classes, Americans are raised to compete much more than they are encouraged to cooperate, yet cooperation seems to be the antidote to this sort of society.

Ask: what is simple? What is low maintenance? What is low stress? What helps the most people involved in a situation or with providing and partaking of a service? That is altruism, a sort of ethic much closer to real love, if we agree that "real love" is patient and accepting and tolerant and nurturing -- and gives sensibly and wisely, without considering what it might receive.