In watching the Republican campaign debate from New Hampshire the other evening, we were suddenly struck by the thought “Wow!Â What a great Cabinet these people would make!”Â As we recall, there were seven of them up there on stage, articulate, thoughtful, passionate, serious, conservative – what a great lineup to serve with our next national leader.Â (Forget for a moment that I am for abolishing many cabinet-level departments and there might not be room for all of them).Â Now, some of you may think I am slighting them, as they are all apparently aspiring to the next level above the cabinet, but I am not.Â These are all accomplished, intelligent people, most of them already ‘leaders’ in one field or another who more than qualify to apply for the job.Â But, without succumbing to the desire for a ‘messiah’ of a different stripe than the last one put up for the job, we still probably all agree that the Presidential election coming up in 2012 is a big…..deal, as the current Vice-President would say.Â We are waiting with bated breath.
This coat has many colors, and to be honest we really don’t have a good plan for stitching it all together, so bear with us here.Â The next item is that we ran across the headline to a Financial Times piece that read “Global order fractures as American power declines”.Â Not being big FT readers, we skimmed it andÂ of course it was mainly about financial affairs on a world scale, but some items were thought-provoking and applicable to many of the themesÂ we discuss here.Â One interesting paradox was that the writer went on about the emerging economies and shifting alliances, et cetera, and how it perhaps was not crucial for the US to automatically head the World Bank anymore.Â In so doing,Â he mentioned, disparagingly we thought, that the Reagan administration used its influence through the World Bank to push the notion of acceptance and adoption of various de-regulatory schemes. At which point, we thought, well, duh! Maybe that approach was how these developing economies developed!
Another piece of this mosaic that we are sure will be absolutely stunning when we finish it, is the story the other day of a student activist who experimented on the mindset and thought process of students in California, by ascertaining their near uncompromising support for affirmative action for minorities, but gaining no sympathy for the suggestion that the basketball team ought to be more diverse and include more white players. In other words, note the seeming appreciation of expertise (blacks are just better basketball players, over the spectrum, is the conventional wisdom) and the value and worth of utilizing that expertise, even at the expense of the poor creatures who just want to get in the game, in the sports arena, versus the almost complete lack of consideration of the aforementioned qualities, up to and including worth and benefit to society of people seeking to engage in the most serious and consequential areas of our lives – public education, public safety, government, financial management, and so on.
We are not ourselves exactly gregarious. In fact, the BW often accuses us of being downright unsociable (she helps us deal with that ever so cleverly). But we know many of you have active social lives and we are sure there are certain things you like to do in the way of recreation, entertainment, fellowship, camaraderie. As an illustration, if you are an avid hunter, would you want asÂ buddies in those adventures a chronic asthmatic sneezer, a compulsive loud-mouth joke-teller and one afflicted with severe nervous tics? Not much chance of bagging one for the mantle or the freezer in that assemblage, huh? But that asthmatic is an absolute wizard at keeping your Maserati running like a top, isn’t she?
Sometimes people just have to try things to see whether they’re any good at them. In olden times, people who plied a trade often taught their sons, and family businesses, family farms and the like were the rule of the day. Heck, before medical colleges and licensing, your health was either a factor of pure luck or else placed in the hands of rank amateurs. Things are better, healthwise, now. Of course, newfangled ways often seem counterintuitive to progress, in our garbled understanding of it. Several progressive laws have been passed that say you don’t really need all those tests and they sometimes can be so stressful to you that the negatives outweigh any positives, so to save money for the Department of Health and Human Services to spend so health care can be affordable for all, tests and medicine are going to have to be curtailed.Â But on the bright side, you can take whatever you would have spent as your deductible and buy yourself some food!Â Sodium-free, transfat-free, sugar-free, carb-free, caffeine-free, calorie-free…..food.
From the founding of our country, through the Westward expansion, the Industrial Revolution, theÂ scientific breakthroughs, the wealth-fueled liberties and crowned by the triumph of civil rights for all, the hope, the goal, the claim of birthright was always ‘Freedom’.Â That was the chant, even from the so-called leftists and revolutionists of the late sixties, even from the agendaites wanting free love, advocating ‘pro-choice’, hip to the mind-altering benefits of chemical psychedelia, advocates of going back to nature.Â It was all about liberation and ‘Freedom’.Â Something happened along the way.Â You hardly ever hear ‘freedom’ anymore.Â What you hear now are demands for ‘sanction’.Â For ‘acceptance’. Â For ‘unification’.Â For ‘centralization’.Â For equality not of opportunity, but of circumstance.Â Upon even just a moment’s reflection, for any child of the sixties, however Â ‘liberated’ Â then and in the ensuing years, the stark realization should be that this train we are getting on is not the one we thought it would be.Â We have to get off.
And so as we search for inspiration, for leadership, we add to our list of qualities.Â Did we mention Discernment?Â Dedication?Â Determination?Â Our apologies for not being able to quite put all this together.Â We just hope somehow it will all take shape prior to November, 2012.