As a prefatory note, my position is strong on holding the soles of all aspirants to the most powerful office in the world hard against the flame. (Especially the one you are most predisposed to support) Ask the toughest questions imaginable. Demand the most honest and direct answers. Then dig through every trash bin and into every closet and unearth every grave for the evidence that what was told to you in response was in fact believable and truthful. Then, follow the response you received with, "EXACTLY HOW do you intend to implement that Senator?"
Perhaps the best known acronym in marketing is KISS; "Keep-It-Simple, Stupid." However that has been proven extraordinarily effective over an extraordinarily wide swath of issues that lend themselves to marketing, when it comes to the real nitty-gritty of life-matters, it's deficient to the max. Life is lived in the grays, and KISS presumes that everything in life can be distilled to starkly contrasting blacks and whites.
Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning portrayal of Sophie Zawistowski in 1982's Sophie's Choice may provide an excellent reductio ad absurdam (reduction to the absurd) example of the proposition. As a Jewess mother in Nazi Germany's "final solution," she is forced to choose which of her two small children will live, which will die. And a refusal to choose will result in both children being killed.
A decade or so ago, 60 Minutes featured a story of the life-and-death choice a Special Forces major had to make just prior to the onset of hostilities in the gulf War. He and a team of forward observers had been sent on a reconnaissance mission into Iraq, in anticipation of the invasion that was to immediately follow the shock-and-awe bombardment of targets within Iraq. The team was lying low in a shallow wadi, just off a dirt path that led to a nearby village of peasants. Just prior to dusk, a small girl, while leading a goat down the path, on her way back to the village, spotted the team.
The ethical dilemma that confronted the major: He was under standing orders to kill any native who might endanger the lives of the invasion force, who might thereby threaten the success of the entire operation, in the case that their position got reported to Iraqi forces. An innocent little girl's life was 100% in his hands.
The issues confronting the American electorate are more shot through with incredibly complex nuance than I can ever recall in my life. The very future of not only the American experiment in a republican democracy that began in 1787 is at stake, but so much of the future of the entire world. At stake is not something so trivial as which shade of color to paint a room. Nonetheless, I find that oh so many members of the electorate feel compelled to reduce them to the trivial and even to the profane.
Yesterday morning, May 19th, I heard it once again. C-SPAN's Washington Journal viewer call-in program was white-noise running in the background. "I could never vote for Barack Obama. He's a Muslim, and he's got a secret agenda to bring down our Christian way of life."
To disclosure, not only do I find such folks not at all American, not at all "Christian" (Permit this atheist to refer such ilk to Luke 10: 25-37, the "Parable of the Good Samaritan"), I don't even think of them as human. To me, such mindless ilk are sub-human - even sub-simian; more along the lines of reptilian. Such issuers of that kind of profanity lack even the courage to enunciate their base bigotry in terms certain. I loathe disingenuousness, but if I employ the 'N'-word, none of this will be published. I know; I've tried. But that's what all references to Senator Obama's supposed connections to the Muslim faith are: they would call him a _(N-word)_, but for their deficit of courage.
And that brings me to the two points hinted at in the title; both revolving about "courage."
One, and the lesser of the two, for my purposes here, is that a candidate's religious orientation should have zero to do with his or her fitness for the office. All that should count is whether he or she can govern effectively within the constraints of the Constitution of the United States, which is the entirety of that which they swear to "preserve, protect, and defend."