Where hopes and dreams meet nuts and bolts
Like so many people I have been fascinated and excited by the ongoing presidential primary process. The whole world indeed is watching what we are doing in America and we seem to be giving them a jolly good show this time around.
Let me state right up front that I am by inclination and registration a Democrat, and that I am inclined to pay more attention to character than to promises. But it seems that where one person perceives great and trustworthy character, another may see a skilful swindler. We all have a tendency to view history through our prefered filters. Indeed history can only be viewed through a variety of filters. Which filters we choose, will decided to great extent what we see at the other end of our viewing mechanism.
Both parties offer at least some people of great character we intuitively sense we can trust. On the Publican side, there are Johnny the Hero McCain and Huckleberry Finn Huckaby. Perhaps even cantankerous Ron Paul. On the Demo side there are Barack and Hillary and a whole slew of others, of whom Biden and Edwards certainly stand out in my mind, with an honarable mention for perennially faithful Harold Stassen Kusinich, and lovably cantankerous Mike Gravel. I can't help myself in applying these various epiteta ornantia, blame it on my Homeric education--it certainly is a valuable menmonic shorthand.
In an ideal world, I'd like to see a McCain-Huckaby ticket battling for the Presdidency against an Obama-Biden ticket, or a Clinton-Obama ticket. I don't think the Clintons would accept the second spot, but if they did, that would be fine with me too. Although Billy Bubba as First Vice Lord just might be too much.
I think in any such a configuration, the presidential election fight would be fairly even, although I think the donkeys would have the upperhand over the elephants. Donkeys are more American than elephants, the West was won with their help, after all--even if you discard the truism that Christ rode an ass into Jerusalem, while the elephants were used by Hannibal in his ill-starred attempts to destroy Western civilization.
But to come to the gist of my observations--the silly quarrel between hopes and dreams versus nuts and bolts and the over-reactions of those whose toes are historically most vulnerable. I like both the nuts and bolts of Hillary and the hopes and dreams of Barack. I wish the two campaigns would stop the negativity that seems to be doing in both sides and come to the common recognition that, yes, the Great American Dreamer MLK was the one who prepared the way for the American people to embrace his visions for a society in which any minority status was no longer a factor, and yes, without the Great American Arm Twister LBJ, those hopes and dreams would never have come to fruition. While MLK paid for his dreams with his life, as did the Kennedy brothers, LBJ consciously paid the price of loosing the south to the like of Bush and his ilk. The world paid that price as much as America did. But the results may yet be worth it.
Anyone notice that MLK is the way Malik, meaning King, is spelled in Hebrew--without the leesmoeders, matres lectionis, or vowel markings? Actually they spelled it KLM, because the wrote from right to left.
King or MLK in a way represented the right side of our brain, LBJ the left side. Or look at it this way: if MLK was like a Merovingian Priest King, LBJ was his Carolingian Major Domo, or in a different cultural context, the Japanese Emperor's Shogun, i.e. the guy who had the power to realize the hopes and dreams of the King or the Emperor.
In Christian Europe there was a similar division: the original Etruscan Priest-Kings of Rome having been deposed, their priestly functions devolved on the High Priest, the Pontifex Maximus, or the Pontiff as the Pope (who got that title from the Sun-God worshipping Constantine the Great) is also called today, whereas the secular functions (originally take over by the Senate during the Republic) eventually were usurped by Ceasar Augustus, the Emperor, the later Keizer, Kaiser, or Csar, as the title of Caesar eventually came to be spelled in Holland, Germany and Russia, respectively.
The fight between Church and State in a way was the fight between the right brain and the left, between 'hopes and dreams' and 'nuts and bolts'.
Both were necessary then and mutatis mutandis, both Hillary (the nuts and bolts woman of the left brain) and Barack (the hopes and dreams man of our right brain) are necessary now.
The irony is of course that usually it is the male we tend to associate with the left brain and the woman with the right brain. But such a reversal in tradiditonal male female functionality is not so unusual in our evolutionary world. I could adduce many examples, as can anyone who observes reality without preconceived notions of the way things ought to be. It just goes to show that nothing is that easily categorized. Not now and not in the past.
It takes a whole person to make a great American President. Someone with both the hopes and dreams (of he right kind*) and the pragmatic approach that deals with the complicated nuts and bolts of government.
*Let me make a caveat: Hitler too had hopes and dreams, and he also was a nuts and bolts person--he certainly got things done with great punktlichkeit. But few people would argue with the hopes and dreams of someone like Barack or MLK. Even Hillary obviously has her hopes and dreams, and Barack certainly has shown his pragmatic ability as a community organizer during the Iowa caucauses. So the whole dispute is really about emphasis, not about substance. That's why it is sad to see this division potentially drive a wedge between two excellent candidates, one that embodies the hopes and dreams of ethnic minorities, the other the hopes and dreams of gender minorities.
I say gender minorities, because women are not the only gender minority, just as African Americans are not the only ethnic minority. Remember that so far we have had only one Catholic president and no one Jewish or (openly) agnostic or atheist . We do seem to have had one gay president (Buchanan, whose lover and Vice President was Wiliam Rufus King, but I'm not sure how open these 'siamese twins' (as they were often referred to) were--probably no more than the gay FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover whose true love was his Deputy Director, Clyde Tolson.
Here are some convenient references on these topics:
I consider homosexuals, trannies and hermaphrodites as gender minorities--for they certainly don't fit comfortably in the male/female categories.
While neither Barack nor Hillary find it politically expedient to openly disavow gender discrimination in marital legislation, both havce declared themselves eager to end the DADT policy for the Armed forces and I do think their hearts are in the right place. When the time is ripe, in another decade, the newly emerging generations will undoubtedly follow the enlightened example of the most progressive European societies and do away with such unseemly discrimination. The time is near, I am sure of it, but as usual, most of the churches will follow last.
Just remember we may all some day be asked: where were you when human rights were trampled upon? Don't let your answer be an embarrasing silence, for some of the people closest to your heart may be gay.