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Return to basics
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-02-14 08:52:00
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Over the last few days I’ve read twice about financial problems in the Hillary Clinton front while Barack Obama enriches his funds with more millions of dollars and that's only from the Democrat’s side because on the Republican’s side there is another parade of millions. Clinton’s campaign manager resigns while another Hollywood star declares openly his or her support to Obama while George W. Bush, for the first time, expresses his favouritism to McCain. Bill Clinton admits that he's overdone it with his attacks against Obama while California’s Governator tours supporting McCain. And all the circus moves from one State to the other spending more and more money.

But what would have happened if one of them, just one of them had stopped for a minute and said, "Hold on, I want to be the next president of the United States and I don’t want to be a beggar who is going around begging for money to finance adverts that will attack personally other candidates. I don’t want to be part of boring parties with people who might give money but ask for favours in the future, I don’t want to be part of a circus I want to be just a candidate for the seat of the president of the United States."

If Obama is experienced or not, if Hillary has taken her exams and failed or not, if McCain is too compromising with the Democrats and if Romney is too religious, are not the issues. The issue is what Obama, Hillary, McCain or Romney would do if they become president. What they are going to do for the employment and the unemployment, what they are going to do about a health system that helps only the ones who have money and work, and leaves outside the ones who need it more, what are they going to do about education and criminality, what they are going to do about a failing environment and a disappointing economy.

I’m not going to be melodramatic saying that the money only Hillary Clinton has spent till this very moment would have fed a whole nation in Africa because I don’t need to go so far. The money she has spent till now would have fed and probably housed the homeless of New York City. I mean the millions of dollars I’m reading they are giving me a headache while just a walk around New York will show you how many better ways there are to spend this money.

One of the main excuses for all this spending is that they need to persuade people to go and vote, new voters, young voters and people who don’t usually do. The truth is that most of the western democracies deal with the same problem but instead of blaming the people who don’t vote shouldn’t they think that there is something wrong with the message and the courier? In the last presidential elections the American people, feeling the great importance of their vote, went to the polls in record numbers. These people are trying to persuade a young man or woman who works two jobs just to survive month after month? How many glorious minds and talented young people who could make the difference are wasted year after year not only because they cannot afford higher education but because they will end up in the same place with a second grader, the unemployment office or a fast food counter. It looks like a situation of two dimensions with the leaders living in only one of them while the majority lives in the other.

What would have happened if one, just one of them stopped spending all these millions on television adverts that do nothing else than throwing dirt at each other? The media would not survive without them, they are the main reason of their existence, they would have to interview them, they would have to question them but in a different basis, on what they believe or what they are going to do when they become president of the United States instead of how they spent their youth and what they believed when they were twenty.

Instead of telling how George W. Bush, McCain will become when president and McCain saying what he’s going to do for the Iraqis it is about time for them to return to basics and say what they are going to do about the American people. Instead of ripping off each other like spoiled kids with often childish arguments and all that while spending millions of dollars why don’t they return to basics and explain their program. I have to add here that the only one who has talked about politics, doesn’t mater if I don’t like what he says is Ron Paul, the man at least doesn’t waste his time attacking the others but he tries to explain his plan.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-02-14 14:04:59

Indeed Thanos, for us Americans to return to basics we would have to take our wise men (the likes of Thoreau, Royce, James, Dewey) a bit more seriously, and our cliché-peddling politicians with a big grain of salt. Already in 1847 Thoreau was advocating a return to the basics of life in his Walden. So was Cicero two thousand years ago. He sdvocated the original virtues of Republican Rome and wrote--in Latin of course, that “if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” The parallels are uncanny. Unfortunately, both men were a voice crying in the desolation of the desert, that is to say, the desert of a society narcissistically and idolatrously in love with its own achievements and forgetful of the life of virtue and simplicity. We know the outcome of the first; were it not for Christianity little if anything would have been preserved and savedof the grandeour that were Greece and Rome for a future Renaissance. For the second society who couldn’t care less about Thoreau and prefers to shop till one drops, the other shoe has still to drop. Nevertheless, the historical lesson is there waiting to be pondered and learned, and not only by Americans but by the whole Western technological Civilization, so called.

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