Tuesday, April 08, 2008

No Messiahs

I read the news, read the blogs, read the polls and one thing I've found is that there is a serious complex going around. It is the messianic complex, generally one that afflicts someone in a leadership position, in this case it is the supporters who have it. It is one of the most ludicrous of afflictions to befall people in an era in which so much information is available. My candidate/leader can do no wrong and any criticism is 'the devil's work.' Let us try on some reality: George W Bush, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are politicians. These people have managed to thrive in what can best be described as a flawed system. They happen to have the additional flaw of being human beings in a stressful occupation.

Hillary Clinton has told out and out lies, Barack Obama has at the least exaggerated rather heavily, John McCain doesn't seem to know what is going on, and George Bush is, well, George W Bush. You see these people as something other than flawed humans at the very real risk of huge disappointment and possibly worse supporting their blunders by virtue of their identity. Since this blog doesn't have great right wing traffic I will take the 'safer' course of using George II and his 28% as an object lesson. Despite lies, distortions, blunders, blood and wasted treasure these people can see no wrong. If this support base disappeared George II would be truly alone and might even have second thoughts. If you cannot see that blind adherence to a person is faulty thinking and probably destructive to our body politic, you have lost your mind. By the same measure, there are supporters who cannot see that their opponent is not the devil incarnate. I do not like Hillary Clinton and I particularly do not like the idea of her as President, but by no stretch of imagination do I find her as offensive to me as John McCain and he is not as bad as the current occupant, not quite.

This messianic thinking leads to insults and hurt feelings amongst people who will later need to cooperate. The close advisers and staff of these candidates do not engage in such thinking. They may be loyal to a fault, they may repeat dubious talking points, but they do not mistake their candidate for the messiah. I am not talking about advocacy, I am talking about blind hostile protectiveness and vile attacks.

I admit to being no more than a lukewarm Obama supporter and a rather warm Clinton opponent, but I base these positions on verifiable facts. I don't let an "as far as I know" interjection following several clear statements color my view. I don't let scurrilous emails color my views. I do let 40 years of paying close attention to politics and social conditions influence me. I have not learned that playing dirty is the only way to succeed, but I have learned that it can pay off in the short term at least. I have learned that there is an art in compromise, one that frequently leaves very ardent supporters disappointed, but has the virtue of accomplishing at least part of an aim rather than none of it. I have learned that creating enemies is foolishness and self defeating and yet quite common. I have learned to expect people to fail, and to forgive them for the occasional failure. Finally, I have learned that the only person who is going to completely agree with me, is me (and I'm not sure of that at times).


KISS said...

"I have learned that the only person who is going to completely agree with me, is me" Well that gets me off the hook.
Again the point of all this is: we seem to always be voting against some one rather than for someone. In my 50+ years of voting...only once I voted for a president, and that was LBJ. Yup I was a Vietnam protester and was pissed at his position. But he was an FDR man all the way, even if screwed up by the Hawks. Same as I will vote for Novick even that I know he is a gun-grabber. One position or issue is not a reason to vote against or for a person.
Same as I hear women say we need a woman president..why? Because of her plumbing? Same for race..why? Is there not more than this superficial BS involved? I will vote for Obama because he is the least worse of the group..not because of color. I do wonder which corporate flag will fly over the white house come Jan 09?

Keeneye said...

(standing up, applauding)

I agree with KISS. When we're looking to vote against someone rather than for someone...


And you're absolutely right that the only person who is going to agree with you is yourself. Except that I just agreed with that. Hmmm.

ThePoliticalCat said...


You said it. You said it good.