Monday, 15 September 2008

Elections & Experience

On 12 September 2008, Bob Herbert of the New York Times (under the title "She’s Not Ready") opined:

"While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?

For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”

Ms. Palin may be a perfectly competent and reasonably intelligent woman (however troubling her views on evolution and global warming may be), but she is not ready to be vice president.

With most candidates for high public office, the question is whether one agrees with them on the major issues of the day.

With Ms. Palin, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. She doesn’t appear to understand some of the most important issues."

Since when have an understanding of issues, competence, or knowing what is going on, been a prerequisite for public office, I wonder? Actually, it more often looks like the other way 'round.

As Winston Churchill said: the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with an average voters (he however also said that democracy is still the best of all the bad systems available).

Okay, fine, but what should we do now? Listen to another Brit, John Lennon, who said: Don't follow leaders.

By the way: experience is consistently overrated. When the US supreme court (with members appointed by Bush Senior) bestowed the presidency on Bush Junior, some media, troubled by Junior's lack of foreign exposure, pointed out how reassuring it was that vice president Cheney was such an experienced politician. Well ... ?!

We should keep in mind what the German writer Kurt Tucholsky once said: that a man with ten years of experience may have been ten years completely mistaken.

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