you can read this, then it means the world has not ended and we are all still
here. I’m referring to a column I wrote
a couple of weeks ago describing what might happen when the CERN project (in
Europe) gets cranked up on September 10th. If we’re lucky nothing will happen,
but if they manage to recreate a black hole that swallows up the earth, then my
column writing days are over. |
So, where to start?
better to discuss, I can always turn to politics, which seems to be on everyone’s
mind and will certainly occupy our thoughts and lives for at least another couple
of months. The country seems to be fairly evenly divided between the two major
parties. It certainly will be interesting to see how all of this turns out and
who might emerge as the ultimate winner. What we can expect to see in the coming
weeks is a veritable avalanche of mud slinging.
term originated as follows: MUDSLINGING - "wild, unsubstantiated charges; a word,
like 'smear,' used to turn an attack back on the attacker. 'Calumniate! Calumniate!'
Some of it will always stick,' advised Beaumarchais in 'The Barber of Seville'
in 1775. This was based on ancient Latin advice, 'Fortiter calumniari, aliquia
adhaerebit,' or 'Throw plenty of dirt and some of it will be sure to stick.' Sometime
after the Civil War, 'dirt throwing' picked up some water to become 'mud-throwing,'
mud-gunning' and the word that gain pre-eminence, "mud-slinging.' The New York
Tribune of April 13, 1876, disagreed with the Latin dictum: 'Mud doesn't stick
to Mr. Blaine any better than it does to Bristow. The slander peddlers are having
a bad season.'." "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random
House, New York, 1993). Page 471. ||
| In our
modern society, we’re besieged with news from all points. The radio, newspapers,
television, internet, cell phones are all clamoring for content to fill up their
otherwise vacant spaces. This political season seems to be taking on the vestige
of ‘publish first, verify later’. I’m surprised that one of the parties doesn’t
accuse one of the other candidates of being an alien.|
And I’m not talking
about someone from a foreign country.
It seems as if new allegations about
all four of the major players are being dished out to us on an hour by hour basis.
No topic is sacred. Family and friends are fair game in the tough world of politics.
reading a book on how politics started when this country was first founded. Little
has changed since then. Aaron Burr will always be remembered for having killed
Alexander Hamilton in a duel over something Hamilton said about Burr during one
of the elections. Mud slinging in those days could be fatal. One had to be careful
of the words they spoke.
Duels were quite common in those days and were
required in order to restore and maintain one’s honor. If the same standard were
in effect today, I suspect that not many people would live long enough to be elected
to national office. However, in some cases this might well be a good thing.
No, today it seems that the wildest accusation and rumor are thrown out to us
to either believe or disbelieve without any source of substantiation for us to
review. One candidate can get away with comments having no basis on Monday and
then issue a retraction on Tuesday saying that ‘someone in my staff misspoke’.
Of course that ‘someone’ is never really identified or required to explain where
they obtained their daily mud ration.
It’s somewhat tiring to sit through
all of these and try to sort out what is real and what is unreal. What I’d like
to see is a clear explanation from all persons trying to get elected about just
HOW they intend on getting their reforms put into effect.
Having a plan
and then making that plan actually work are two different things. One can speak
of great things all day long but without the wherewithal to have them become real,
they are just so many empty words. I want to see a description of just how these
grand solutions can be converted to reality and the timeframe for these to happen.
Calling someone names is part of the political process, but does little
to tell me how we can improve our economy or fix the societal problems that we
are faced with in today’s world.
For my part, I’d like a little more rock
and a little less mud.
From North America
September 11, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
go to firstname.lastname@example.org