Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Politics and the need for common sense

I didn't name this blog lightly.

Two things this week that beg for a little Common Sensibility.

First: a conversation with a person who is "scared" of Barack Obama, who "knows he does not believe in God" and will "let terrorists invade our country."

If I were a younger self, I'd argue with him--I'd defend Obama, I'd roll off 20 reasons why he shouldn't think those things, I might even disparage his intelligence. I'd try to change his mind.

Since I am an older self, I know that there is vitually nothing I can say that will change his mind. I'd already given him a lesson in how to education himself; I'd tried to reassure him. He didn't want to hear it.

I know that people only change when they want to, and sometimes not even then--hard to predict.

So instead, I mostly shut up. I let him know I didn't agree, but I didn't get mad; I reiterated that he should continue to education himself, and mentioned several good sources for doing so; and I ended with a cliche, telling him that, as always, time will tell. And made myself realize I can't control what he thinks, even though I care about him. 

Which brings me to the Matt Kelty situation--a situation with a dearth of Common Sense.

I didn't agree with everything Kevin Leninger wrote in the News Sentinel tonight, but I did agree with the headline, with one modification:

"Kelty loyalists should heed letdown's lesson" should be:

"[Insert your favorite politicians name here] loyalists should heed letdown's lesson"

Why are we all so gullible (or cynical) when it comes to those who may lead us? Why leads us to believe that they are better (or worse) than we are capable of being ourselves?

What keeps us from recognizing this most important truth--that they are as flawed as they are talented? Why are we so surprised when they fail, or stumble, or show weakness?

So if you elevated Matt Kelty to sainthood status so he could save the city from immoral liberals, or Barack Obama to messiah so he can save the country from callous conservatives, stop now. 

What surprises us most about Christ? That he was a man.

What surprises most about men? That they are not Christ.

What I say so pallidly about politics, Shakespeares nails about love, eerily similar:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame 
Is lust in action; and till action, lust 
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, 
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust, 
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight, 
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had 
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait 
On purpose laid to make the taker mad; 
Mad in pursuit and in possession so; 
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; 
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe; 
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream. 
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well 
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

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