Sunday, July 6, 2008

Listening to the future.

I am reading Rick Perlstein's new book, "Nixonland," a history of the 1950s-present. Basically, the story of the lower-middle and middle-class transitioning from getting more to keeping what they have. (Getting more is a New Deal-ian attitude, keeping is essentially conservative, xenophobic and racist.)

Early on in the book, Perlstein transcribes the first televised debate between Nixon and Kennedy. Here are some of Kennedy's words:

"I am not satisfied, as an American, with the progress we are making...This is a great country, but I think it could be a greater country. And this is a powerful country, but it could be a more powerful country...I'm not satisfied to have fifty percent of our steel mill capacity unused...I'm not satisfied when many of our teachers are inadequately paid...I think we should have an educational system second to is a fact that through most of the last twenty-five years, the Republican leadership has opposed federal aid to education, medical care for the aged, development of the Tennessee Valley, development of our natural resources."

Instead we talk about McCain's war record (which dates back 40 years--Obama was 12 when McCain was released from captivity.) Or lapel pins.

Obama has not shown a vision. McCain has not shown a vision. We speak of phone tapping and ugliness. Where is hope? Optimism? The future?

1 comment:

Tore Claesson said...

Obama seemed to be on the way towards a more optimistic vision. Then he got caught up in modern politics, which is all about making the most destructive smear.
Modern campaigns are not about great debates, but about making the opponent look less worthy.
Media is not helpful here. They attract more eyeballs exploiting spit.