10.31.2004

Fortune Cookie Says, "Love Truth But Pardon Error" or Why I Didn't Cover the Other Debates

I don't know if it was a Chinese, Japanese, or Asian-American fellow (or someone's redneck granny locked in a kitchen closet with nothing else to do) who invented the fortune cookie, but I love them. I'm not fond of the cookie, but the fortunes--like those wonderful, worthless prizes in Cracker Jacks. My favorite fortunes come from a Chinese buffet across the street from a mall, where the main ethnicities eating include Sudanese, Latinos, a handful of Asians, and a smattering of European mutts like myself. It's almost always packed. Maybe they're seeking their fortunes. We all look like we could use some.

The above was an actual cookie quote. It is true, isn't it? But we prefer to love error and pardon truth, no? Especially in politics.

Don't worry. I'm burnt out on politics this is my last post on the matter for a long time. I still love politics in theory but I hate it in practice, mangled by our love for error.

I just visited some folks who have a Bush/Cheney sign in their front lawn. One of their signs had been stolen. When I told them I was fasting for the election, they assumed I meant for Bush.

"You mean you're not fasting for Bush?"

"No," I said, "for peace--peace for our country during post-election blues, peace for Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel and Palestine."

Surprisingly, this upset them. How could I be religious and not vote for Bush? Of course, on the other hand of politics, some religious folk like Jesse Jackson try to tell us, you're only religious if you're a liberal--seriously. He spoke at either the Cleveland or California lectures and said that Moses and Jesus were liberals. I can see a case for Jesus (although you'll find he makes a number of non-liberal remarks like "The poor will always be with us," etc.), but Moses? He's the fellow who brought the law--all those rules that liberals love to hate.

Love truth, pardon error.

My first ever psychology course taught that those of the same ideology who only hang out with the same ideologues become more extreme. You want to know why our nation has become polarized? Look no further. We need outreach and understanding--no more trumped-up charges and deaf ears to other perspectives. As Gail Collins said in "On the Media" [http://www.wnyc.org/onthemedia/transcripts/transcripts_102204_paper2.html], "Most people are happiest reading things that reinforce opinions that they already have."

You can read my post again on Hitler's Blind Spot or watch the film yourself, but the lesson you learn--if you are open to learning--is that the problem is not ideology, but the zealots who use ideology at any cost: because I'm right, I can do whatever I choose. This is what has killed both parties for me: zealots on both sides who think they're so right they can keep Nader off the ballots because of signatures that may or may not be legitimate yet get upset when Republicans question questionable signatures. Or zealots who think they're so right that they tear up Democratic voter registrations.

Love truth, pardon error.

It's not just in this country. Why is the war in Iraq going badly? Listen to this NPR series:

http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId=4114270

Someone has to let Syrians and other muslims know that this is not a war against them and their religion. If you were an atheist and felt fellow atheists were attacked, you'd probably join the fray, too. Christian, Buddhist, whatever. It doesn't matter. Every religion or atheist philosophy has had zealots performing foolish acts in the name of their belief. What we need are more moderates for outreach and understanding.

I became disenchanted by Bush--not that I was ever particularly enchanted--from the lack of removing whatever was corrupting his government: from the CIA agent exposed to Abu Ghraib, no one was even politely let go. And, according to John Zogby, Bush listened when a zealot discouraged Bush's attempt to create peace between Palestine and Israel. "Take away dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Take away wickedness from before the king...."

I became a Kerry fan early this year, preferring his performance at the Iowa primary debate and his online platform, most of which I agreed with. I said then that if he said something egregiously wrong, I might not support him. Science magazine reported Kerry as saying something like, "Science should not be guided by ideology." Mary Shelley? Nathaniel Hawthorne? Jonathan Swift? What did these writers have to say about such kinds of science? But it was not an egregious error, and Barth Anderson said that Kerry later qualified his statement, which put me at ease again.

Kerry was, otherwise, very cautious in his claims, infuriating loyal Democratic zealots, but endearing me. When Dean claimed that Bush caused the Spain bombing and Kerry said that that was not his perspective, I cheered.

Kerry seemed willing to wait for the truth before he made claims. His performance at the debates only reestablished my favor for Kerry. (Cheney, however, proved Edwards a liability, and the media failed to investigate Cheney's claim that Edwards had one of the worst attendance records in the Senate--how can Edwards lead if he's not there? But I would not have been electing Edwards, and Edwards could have later redeemed himself by improving his attendance.)

Love truth, pardon error.

Post debates, I thought President Bush's harping on Kerry raising taxes--when Kerry already said he would not--looked desperate, which I took as a good sign for Kerry's election. However, Kerry took a similar desperate move: He accused Bush of wanting to raise a draft.

Wait.

Who will raise a draft? Who called for more troops in Iraq? Which party's senator sponsored the two Senate bills--S.89 and H.R. 163--to raise a draft? Democratic senator Ernest F. Hollings. How can Democrats blame the draft on Republicans when they sponsor the bill?

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:S.89:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:H.R.163:

I wanted a cautious candidate for President. Sure, if a draft is drawn, I think it would make more ethical sense for Kerry since he actually went to Vietnam, a vastly less popular war. Bush did not go, so while he has certainly the ability to do so, he has the lesser ethical claim.

But, please, let's deal the American people honestly. If there are plans to open up the draft, who is more likely to do it?

So that's why I'm fasting for peace and not for a particular president: so that peace may come fast.

Good luck to whomever becomes President but know that neither have a mandate to carry out partisan zealotry, so please don't.

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