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Monday, November 01, 2004

The ultimate teachable moment--wasted

Whatever it is, I'm against it discusses the now almost-over campaign season:
Presidential campaigns are black holes, dragging lesser election fights, money, energy and real political discussion into themselves, while giving off neither light nor energy. I wouldn’t mind half so much if these campaigns functioned as national civics lessons, if they clarified our political philosophies and priorities, if this had been a national dialogue about the role of America in the world, the limits of our power abroad, the future of Social Security, how best to insure every American, etc etc. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened. We’ve spent less time debating the environment than we have whether Laura Bush is nicer than Teresa Heinz-Kerry (probably, but can you imagine someone you’re less likely to have an interesting conversation with?) So literally billions of dollars have been spent that could have gone to the Sierra Club, the ACLU or even Bush’s “faith-based” groups and done some actual good.
Most Americans went into this campaign thinking that terrorism is the greatest threat to our country, that "free trade" benefits us all, that lawyers do more harm than do corporations, and a host of other fallacies. The campaign has only reinforced the ignorance, as both candidates start from common ground on many issues which is totally bogus. Rather than learning that the "war on terror" is an endless and idiotic boondoggle intended to separate Americans from their rights, their money, and their children, they learned only that John Kerry intends to fight a more competent "war on terror." Most Americans are probably still unaware that our sensible neighbor to the north has universal, single-payer healthcare, and that it works pretty well (well, at least better than our totally-FUBAR'ed system). Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich or maybe even Howard Dean could have informed them on many of these issues, and brought this country a little closer to sanity. Instead, we got Kerry, who relentlessly endorses all of Bush's insane goals and values, questioning only his methods.

Well, I think Kerry's going to win. We'd sure better hope that he really is a flip-flopper. As WIIIAI says, America has lost an incredible opportunity in this campaign--the ultimate teachable moment.