Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life is hard, we dig in, we spot deceit

Thus far I have refused to find any solace in opinion polls. It's not just that the methodology is, well, hardly foolproof, it's also a life-long conviction that shit happens, most likely when you least expect it.

Last night I did my civic duty and watched the last debate. Nothing really new, but, in terms of the usual measures of debate performance, McCain did far better than he did earlier, pack of lies and distortions notwithstanding. That led Bill Bennett to wax enthusiastically and other post-debate commentators to suggest that McCain did, indeed, do far better, especially in the first part, although he may have put people off a bit with his bizarre fixation with Bill Ayers. Then the polls came in (yes, only of debate watchers and some of only Undecideds), but it was clear that most people were not buying the McCain bull.

And then I woke up to this refreshing column by Garrison Keillor (HT seekingspirit), "Life is hard, we dig in, we spot deceit." It begins:

We are a stalwart and stouthearted people, and never more so than in hard times. People weep in the dark and arise in the morning and go to work. The waves crash on your nest egg and a chunk is swept away and you put your salami sandwich in the brown bag and get on the bus. In Philly, a woman earns $10.30 an hour to care for a man brought down by cystic fibrosis. She bathes and dresses him in the morning, brings him meals, puts him to bed at night. It’s hard work lifting him and she has suffered a painful hernia that, because she can’t afford health insurance, she can’t get fixed, but she still goes to work because he’d be helpless without her. There are a lot of people like her. I know because I’m related to some of them.

Low dishonesty and craven cynicism sometimes win the day but not inevitably. The attempt to link Barack Obama to an old radical in his neighborhood has desperation and deceit written all over it. Meanwhile, stunning acts of heroism stand out, such as the fidelity of military lawyers assigned to defend detainees at Guantanamo Bay — uniformed officers faithful to their lawyerly duty to offer a vigorous defense even though it means exposing the injustice of military justice that is rigged for conviction and the mendacity of a commander in chief who commits war crimes. If your law school is looking for a name for its new library, instead of selling the honor to a fat cat alumnus, you should consider the names of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, Lt. Col. Mark Bridges, Col. Steven David, Lt. Col. Sharon Shaffer, Lt. Cmdr. Philip Sundel and Maj. Michael Mori.

Amen and read the rest at the Star-Tribune.

No comments: