Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Mom should know better than to email that stuff to you. Cracks me up!


To me it shows how in "love" (and love is blind) many republicans are with the conservative ideals. They can ignore the facts because they occasionally get a warm fuzzy story to cling to.


Well, and that was part of my point. I wanted to show the love on the other side is equally real.

—Howard, the Author

True, though I think it's important to point out (as you did) that it takes more than "love."


Nicely played, my friend. Very well said. Thanks.


Well put -- you've brought up some good points AND you weren't even cynical - much.

—Your Mother

I was particularly struck by the humanity of Joe Biden during the Vice Presidential debates when he mentioned that "he knew what it was like to be a single parent".

Most people have a story to tell, and that story includes both triumphs and failures. It is what makes us humans.

Are Politicians Humans?

My mother sent me a copy of this story and said, "I just can't not send this, it's great -- isn't it Howard?" What follows is my reply…

That is a nice story. Amid all the mud-slinging and lies, I too, like to see the fact that all the people involved are still human. We sometimes forget about that and view them almost as caricatures. I would like to believe that people who are running for office are motivated to help their fellow man.

I'm reminded during the Gore/Bush campaign of 2000 that many voters who couldn't decide, cast their ballot with who they were mostly likely to have a beer with. They voted for Bush because he was "like them". In fact, it almost seems that collectively we don't want an "expert" with credentials to be the president, but we want to vote for someone who is almost average. And I think that is a huge part of the draw for Sarah Palin. She gets nervous and stumbles and trips on her words … just like I do when I'm put on the spot. In fact, I would love to have Sarah and her family over to my backyard BBQ on my patio … however, I don't think that should be a prerequisite for the White House.

If you think about it, if I was going in for surgery, I wouldn't base my criteria for a surgeon on "whether I would like to have dinner with him". I wouldn't want someone average at all. I would want an expert. So why is it, we think running the White House requires anything less than the best and most prepared person we can find for the job?

Is it because we think that egg-heads are less trustworthy? I personally think it is impossible for anyone running for high office in this country to be spot-less. It just the rules of the game, and in a way, it is a shame. However, the goal of "politics" is to come to a consensus… to make compromises with each other, and with the extreme positions of people in this country, this will undoubtedly require giving up something.

Having Palin be a "Washington Outsider" has the potential of not being privy to "Washington Corruption". That would be nice. That was part of Jimmy Carter's campaign. But I don't think you necessarily need to be living in Washington to be corrupt. ;-)

A major source of corruption in Washington is due to special interest groups and corporate lobby efforts, for the goals of a major corporation or special interest group doesn't always have the interest of regular folks in mind. So, it would be best if our politicians could answer to "the people" instead of "the corporations".

I guess this is why I thought that Obama was "a breath of fresh air" when he returned the money of anyone his campaign could detect that was involved in lobbying efforts (see this op-ed). He said he didn't want to "owe anything" except to "the people" (I guess even the DNC won't take such money now). Do politicians listen to the people who give them huge checks? Bush certainly listened to them, and clearly that was the main point in starting a war with Iraq (The oil companies have certainly made back their campaign contribution money… it is just an investment, right?) McCain has received almost $2 million from "Big Oil", and it seems like that money does seem to influence his decisions.

Sorry to get off on a tangent … we were talking about the humanism in our candidates, not the business aspects.

Ignoring John McCain's past, it is refreshing that both the Palin's and the Obama's have such good, stable relationships (see this op-ed piece). While I don't think it is required in order to do a good job at the White House, it certainly helps.

On a slightly different subject, does someone's "beliefs" influence how well they can lead such a diverse nation as America? I went the rounds when this came up with Romney's candidacy. While strange, I can view as metaphorical Palin's blessings of protection of witchcraft and her prayer that the Iraq War be part of God's will and that God really wants a pipeline in Alaska, however, her view that the world is less than 6000 years old is another thing…

If accurate, it means that she may be willing to believe things without evidence, and I personally would like someone to check the facts and look for evidence before deciding to… oh, I don't know… jump into a war or something.

Now, I don't think that because of her beliefs, she would want to fight science or anything like that. But given her comments about energy, this seems very strange, for without our current model of natural selection, we would have no theory for predicting where oil may be found (check out Donald Prothero's book for 500 pages of evidence of this).

Without our science, how are we going to deal with constantly evolving bacteria and drug-resistant tuberculosis? For a chuckle, see this comic (and this one too).

Another tangent. Sorry. I guess you get my points… I do believe these people are good people, and it is helpful to go behind the caricatures to see the human side. BTW: This is my favorite picture of Obama for just this reason.

Obama before the First 2008 Presidential Debate

I'm sure that Obama will never again have an opportunity to just ride his bike around Chicago any more: Obama riding around Chicago

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I found that story and the pictures ironic and somewhat heartbreaking. I have to say that I have been dismayed by my own personal reaction to Sarah Palin. Credentials and experience aside, I have had a very visceral reaction to her candidacy. Fourteen months ago if anyone would have told me I would feel this strongly about her family circumstances and her candidacy I would never have believed it. But 14 months as a working mother of three special needs children has altered my world view. I am appalled (and there is no gentler word for it) that a mother at this stage of her parenting (an infant with Downs and a pregnant 17 year old daughter) would put her family through the circus that the American presidential election has become. Never mind the demands of the job should her party win. As a staunch feminist, I have wanted to subscribe to the notion that one can indeed have it all--a fulfilling, exciting career, well-nurtured children, and a strong sense of personal satisfaction with one's life and choices. But fourteen months of juggling job (forget "career") demands and child demands have left me sobered, exhausted and more clear-eyed about the seasons of one's life. I am grateful that I came to parenting quite late in life--after I had become so sick of my "career" that I would have gladly chucked it to live off the land with some organically grown vegetables. Had that not been the case, I think I would be quite bitter and resentful of all the sacrifices motherhood requires of me and my inability to balance career aspirations with three young children and the multitude of their special needs. One can argue that Sarah Palin is not a single parent and that her children will have one parent available to them. And that's another painful lesson I've come to realize first-hand. There is a reason why children need two parents. Mothers aren't replaceable by Fathers (and vice versa). Mothers have a unique role in the process of the successful emotional attachment of children. I don't think I would have believed this prior to my own parenting journey--but the research is irrefutable and so is the experience I live each day with these kids. Her baby will never have another first two years of life and her 17 year old will never have another frightening, bewildering, first pregnancy and early years as a teen-age newly wed. But, if Sarah Palin is as talented a politician as many think she is--there will be other elections, other campaigns, other times of her life when her nation needs her more than her children. Now is clearly not that time.

As a life-long defender of a woman's right to choose her path in this world, I appreciate the irony of my current view. But once some choices are made--to have a child for instance--there is a moral imperative to meet their needs, however inconvenient this may be. This is not to say that it is impossible to combine work and family life. But, there are certainly combinations of career demands and child demands that are completely incapatible. (I must say, in my own defense, that if Sarah were a male, I would also feel that his family needs should be placed above his political aspirations for this season of his life.)