Has anyone else out there been alternately disgusted and appalled by the Presidential campaigns?
Here we have two intelligent, well-educated, experienced men running against each other. Each has a definite agenda, a strong vision of what America should be like in the future.
Yet their speeches devolved into playground insults. “You’re a dirty liar.” “You’re a stupid cheat.” Nyah, nyah, nyah.
Now that Mr. Romney has chosen his second, I hope that a reasoned, civilized debate can take place. Because both men have plans, backed by good evidence, for the road forward. The problem is that the plans are, as I see it, diametrically opposed.
Mr. Romney’s plan, taken to an even greater degree by Mr. Ryan, is one which is based on competition. It is basically what Mr. Romney did in Bain. A company that is not functioning is taken over and broken up. The parts are absorbed by companies that are solvent. The competition makes all the surviving businesses stronger and capable of growing, thereby growing the economy. It is survival of the fit.
President Obama’s ideas, on the other hand, rely on cooperation. His thrust is that we must all work together, helping those who are less able. In that way, we create a community in which all are stronger.
Does this sound familiar? Anyone who was, like me, a huge fan of the TV show Babylon 5 in the ‘90’s should recognize it.
(Those of you who remember the show can skip the next couple of paragraphs.)
In the fictional 23rd century, the galaxy is caught in a dispute between opposing forces represented by two alien races. The “Shadows”, who were portrayed as the bad guys until the end of the third season, urged other races to war. The competition, they said, winnowed the weaker peoples, getting rid of them so that other races could flourish.
The “Vorlons”, who seemed to be the proponents of light, furthered the course of mutual support. By cooperation, they suggested, all sentient species are strengthened.
The resolution, however, was that both superpowers were acting on their own agendas, not those that would necessarily benefit the entire galaxy. In the end, the “younger races” kick both of them out and decide to find their own way, without the leadership of either, forging a plan that is a compromise between the two.
Okay, back to the 21st century (and welcome back fans of B5). Are the two visions necessarily mutually exclusive? Can’t we take parts of each that will form a grand plan, one that will work so much better?
I hope such a compromise is possible. Neither the social Darwinism of one plan, or the unsustainable spending of the other, is acceptable. My initial reaction to the Republicans’ agenda is one of revulsion, but I am trying to keep an open mind. I fervently wish all Americans will also.