Without a Doubt- New York Times article by Ron Suskind.
Link for those who don’t want to subscribe to NYT.
I’m voting for Kerry.
True, I would rather just vote for my unborn child and Sean’s dog, but even they don’t seem to have their act together yet. I have struggled for four years to support the President. I voted for him. Initially, I was drawn to what I had read was his collaborative style of leadership; he was said to trust the judgment of the people who aided him. He was said to be a man who had strong principles, but sound judgment.
I have watched, and I have been moved to try and understand his policy decisions. It was hard. Both his economic policy (or lack thereof) and his actions regarding foreign relations have been laughable. And “well, Bush works in mysterious ways” only goes so far. I have learned though, that most of the time the simplest of answers is usually correct. If he looks like an idiot, walks like and idiot and quacks like an idiot, he probably is one.
This article outlines the basic problem with Bush’s presidency, and the reason why at a time of crisis he looked like the right fit. He spits out answers. Of course they may seem stupid or misinformed or lacking basic deductive skills, but they come out relatively fast. Most- now this excludes you, gentle readers- people want someone else to think for them. That’s why opinions and issues become so polarized.
With the internet, file sharing, idea sharing, blogs and the like unleashing information and ideas, it’s going to become harder and harder to maintain control like that- but it’s still possible. You have to work hard to make sure that decisions are made by a small group. You make sure that questioning leadership is seen as disloyalty, and you make damn sure that decisions, attitudes, and ideas flow down and the only thing that flows upward is good news. Sure, people will crack the veneer and spread the word that this is how you do business, but you still have a chance of maintaining control- at least long enough to secure another 4 years.
I hate that. That’s what bugged me most when I wanted to be a minister. I wanted to help people and make a difference in the world. When it came down to it, though, it was obvious: most people would think what you told them to. They wanted to believe stuff. Now, the content or the logic weren’t much of a concern, just the image that you had answers.
“Faith heals the heart and the spirit, but it doesn’t do much for analytical skills.” – Suskind
The image of infallibility is the basis of the Bush Presidency. Now, that is very reassuring in a time of great crisis like 911. Not so great once people have the time, the freedom and the balls to start questioning stuff.
Now here’s the tricky part. When you look to have the answers, and you have managed to capture a relatively large amount of the unthinking masses you have it made. All of this is assured by your opposition. Because, even though you have an opposition, it’s still got a large amount of these same unthinking masses- people who leave it up to someone else to do the thinking. And who actually does raise their voice to oppose you? Your first and loudest opposition is the fringe. And these voices work to discredit their movement, because they don’t mind resorting to emotional, loony and untrue arguments. They’re the fringe, what do they have to lose.
Now, I believe that enough people are moving over to the Kerry camp to give him a chance, but he still may lose. At a time when so much information is so free, it’s scary that most people still get their opinions from mass emails, but my guess is it’s true. Those who are the majority online are not the majority of the nation.
It’s taken me a while to finally decide on this- I try not to make decisions like this quickly. I’m not a fan of Kerry but at least he doesn’t freak me the hell out like Bush does. I’m not looking for someone I agree with, I’m just looking for someone I can put a reasonable amount of trust in.