eThoughts : Politics, Voting, and Slogans

Super Tuesday is coming quickly and it’s time to do the preliminary casting of votes for President. Naturally, I’ve got some thoughts about that.

I’m casting my vote at this time for Barack Obama. We’ll see what the fall brings. Here’s the way I see it: I gave the nod to Obama because I’m assuming some degree of wisdom, even if I think that experience is a bit of an issue. Hillary Clinton certainly has more political experience than Barack, but I’ve got an issue with experience as a trump card—it isn’t always appropriate. As I tell my students about operant conditioning, a kid who yells and screams and then gets what they want, picks up experience all right, but not wisdom.

I don’t much trust experienced politicians, they’ve learned how to scream and get what they want and they’ve learned how to give to the screamers, but the acquisition of wisdom? I don’t see it. Barack may possess political naïveté, but if it’s true he has some wisdom, he’ll listen to experts and sort the information accordingly. Let’ use a wilderness example: If Barack was in charge of a camping party, possessing only the ability to wisely synthesize information, yet not having any wilderness experience, we’ll do fine as long as there were some wilderness experts along. Ahh, you say—there’s the fly in the logical ointment—why do we need anyone other than those with wilderness experience? Well, the problem with experience is that it requires some. What does one do in the event we’ve run into new territory? Yes, there are parallels, but politically speaking, we seem to keep digging the same holes, so experience is not what we need as the alpha dog, we need some wisdom.

What’s the case for Barack having wisdom? Right now I’ll go with his ability to dodge the old, tired political bullets—though he will be pushed to the edge, so we’ll still have to see how it goes. Somehow all of these experienced politicians, most of whom seem to be lawyers, believe that the best defense is a good offense. That’s experience, not wisdom. The minute someone answers the really important questions instead of the feigns that are designed to knock one off their compass heading, the old experience isn’t any good. Good.

But here’s a problem I do see with the Obama campaign—and the many others that have taken it up: The slogan about our nation’s citizens being ready for change. What kind of change? Just change? We can take off one crap hat and put on another one and call it a new hat. Yuck. Naturally, I’ve got a suggestion: As far as slogans go, let’s make it about consideration—call it upping the consideration quotient (CQ) of our citizens. If Obama has the wisdom, then he knows we need a boatload more consideration of others. As I’ve written before, and as has been written by many others before me, raising our consideration of others, raises the freedom of all. There isn’t any harder task that we can take up, or more important one. Having a high CQ doesn’t mean letting people do what they want, it means having empathy with others, yet doing what is wise. And what of the politician screaming for what they want? Let’s give a listen and see what the real issue is. Let’s deal with that real issue, rather than the apparent one. That would be a wise start.

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