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Friday, April 18, 2008

Infallibility

The Pope is in New York City today. There are over a billion people in this world who, if they follow Catholic doctrine stringently, believe Pope Benedict XVI is infallible.

Maybe it's my commie pinko roots showing, but I don't think any man or woman is infallible. We human beings fall too easily into hero worship, in general, and we fail to appreciate that someone can be good without being perfect.

If we would only realize that the perfect is the enemy of the good, then maybe we wouldn't be so susceptible to manipulation by forces that do not have our best interests at heart. Over and over again, we are disappointed in our political leaders, for example, because they are flawed and all-too-human.

I often wonder if Martin Luther King Jr. would have been able to have the same impact today as he did before infotainment replaced broadcast news. Would the media have destroyed him because of his infidelity to his wife? Would they have focused on character over issues, as they have been doing for decades now, and painted Dr. King as hypocritical and untrustworthy, distracting us from the essential truths contained in his message?

I think that the media would have done exactly that. And we would have fallen for it. And our nation would have been immeasurably poorer as a result.

No man (or woman) is infallible. Not the Pope, not Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, and not John McCain.

The problem is, Barack Obama is campaigning as if he is the One, the only One who can save our country from its imperfections. Through him, we will transcend all prejudice, all differences of opinion; and, forged into a post-partisan, unified, enlightened whole, we will move forward into the 21st century as a healed, proud and dignified nation.

Doesn't that sound wonderful - especially after eight years of suffering under the most lawless, warmongering, just plain evil administration in the history of our country? But notice how whenever Obama is challenged on these assertions and asked how he is going to implement them, he gives no answers. As he did in the debate on Wednesday, he talks about principles instead of plans.

That's because perfection like that is impossible to attain. Reality rears its ugly head. We do disagree with each other because the Republics are wrong about most issues that concern Americans, and simply electing Obama won't change that. Racism is not gone, and won't evaporate simply because we elect Obama. Poverty and injustice will always have to be fought, and won't disappear simply because we elect Obama. The megacorporations will have to be broken up and their stranglehold on the media and our candidates slowly loosened, and that won't happen just because we elect Obama.

Where are the bullet points? On his website? Oh, please. Is that what he's going to tell the Senate and House when he's asked about his plans for America? Is that how he's going to repair our relations with foreign leaders, and negotiate for peace in the Middle East, as every President (except George W. Bush) has attempted to do?

Barack Obama offers an idealized vision of infallibility that many voters seem to find very attractive. But we reality-based folks know better. Bill and Hillary are not perfect, but Bill was one of the most successful Democratic Presidents we've ever had, and Hillary, based on her record of service to this country, could be even better - especially with a supportive Democratic Congress to push her agenda, which Bill Clinton never enjoyed.

Flawed, but good, beats infallible for me any day. I hope the voters of Pennsylvania will feel the same way.

2 comments:

Timmy B said...

Hey, it's Friday! Lets DANCE!

(can't get it to post right)

madamab said...

Awwwww....thanks, Timmy B!