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Two military-related comments on 1/14/2007

I had meant to post two comments yesterday but did not get around to doing this until just now.

First, my brother Bill, who died at age 23 while enlisted in the Army, would have turned 50 yesterday.

Second, I was dumbfounded by the following headline in the lead story of Sunday's paper: "Iraq plan sparks foreign-policy fight: Outcome of troop surge likely to shape future elections." Here is the online version if you had not seen the article.

Now, tell me, are there not much more weighty consequences of military actions in Iraq than who gets elected in 2008? You know, things like how many people will be maimed or killed as a result of this policy, how this will effect the economy and quality of life in Iraq and the U.S., how this will effect the behavior of those living in other countries in that region, and what effect this will have on terrorist networks? I am not claiming to know the answers to any of these questions; I am just suggesting that they may be more important than which demopublicans get elected in 2008.

Time and again, it seems that journalists such as Steven Thomma ((McClatchy Newspapers) want to place foreign policy decisions into the same category as plays in a football game. Will the president-quarterback call the foreign policy play that leads to political victory (re-election) for his party? How sick is it to consider politics a type of sport?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
queenlyzard
Jan. 15th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah-- the American media has a serious issue with their priorities. And our culture is making it worse and worse. We expect everything to be entertainment now (I refer you to the introduction of the recently rereleased novel "Only You Can Save Mankind" by Terry Pratchett, where he talks about the increasingly blurry line between war in the news and war in video games).

Last night we were watching the post-game, and as they were babbling on about football (mind you, I watched the game and enjoyed it, but we were only watching the post-game because it was on in the restaurant were we at), the scrolling news at the bottom of the screen read "winter storm in midwest blamed for 19 death and numerous injuries" or something like that. I pointed it out to the rest of the table, and everyone was like, "storm? what storm?" because of course the local news hasn't been covering a storm happening hundred of miles away, even if it has killed 19 people. I was pretty shocked that the newscasters could keep chatting on about football with something like that going on.

*sigh*. I worry about the generation of children we are raising. I really do. I can only hope the tide will change before too long.

And I'm sorry to hear about your brother. *zen hugs*
anan_ab
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
Demopublican
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
queenlyzard
Jan. 16th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
so true!

How long before we can get rid of the stupid two-party system with these stupid two parties? I keep having flashbacks to the "election" episode of "Futurama", where the two candidates are clones of each other...
anan_ab
Jan. 16th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
Probably when people stop preferring simplicity/lackadaisical voting and decide to do some research on the people actually running for office (and by research, I'm getting at something more than making Rush Limbaugh the host of a top-rated radio show and Ann Coulter a frequent New York Times' bestselling author).

Sadly, I'm not optimistic.
hostirad
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
Party membership looks to me like in-group/out-group thinking. Americans identify strongly with their in-group. Ideas are irrelevant.
anan_ab
Jan. 16th, 2007 08:14 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
I wholly agree. I think part of that is people's general proclivity towards simplicity. It'd be chaotic having several viable choices for any political post. God forbid, people might actually have to think about who to vote for (and possibly the ideas of that person). Oh my. The whole system might come crumbling down... or else be taken over by ivory tower intellectuals and corporate executives. Hm. That could get messy.

Have you read anything by George Lakoff? He doesn't quite go so far as to say ideas are irrelevant, but pretty darn close. He's big on linguistic frames. The premise of the two books he released the summer before the 2004 presidential election explored how people can so easily discount facts that do not align with their frame for politics (and likely more generally, life). Don't Think of An Elephant! is the brief handbook that summarizes his denser research in a very accessible way.
hostirad
Jan. 16th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
I read at least portions of Metaphors We Live By at one point because I have a long-standing interest in the role of metaphors in concept formation. I've seen references to his application of metaphoric thinking in politics.
hostirad
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
The two-party system is so entrenched that it seems like we will never get beyond it. But other countries have significant multiple-party systems, so I say, "Never say never."
hostirad
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
This is great. You need to post this in libertarianism
anan_ab
Jan. 16th, 2007 08:15 am (UTC)
Re: Demopublican
I thought you would appreciate this one.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )