Meditations in a Time of Delusions and Lies 22
A while ago, John Edwards spoke the "M" word. After Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with incurable cancer, she told the world that "everyone's going to die," and her presidential candidate husband spoke about everyone having to face their mortality.
Mortality? Since when do presidential candidates speak about icky things with anything approaching honesty, especially the ultimate triumph of death? In America? John Edwards, who otherwise casts a sunny smile and optimistic personality upon the electorate, had crossed the line: he had talked about suffering, even death. It was an innovation, and pundits remarked about the ease with which he and his wife spoke of coping with the certainty of her death, chosing to continue campaigning rather than to withdraw. Edwards may not win, but the fact that his wife has cancer will probably not be the cause.
"Yes, I did have an affair with that woman. It was poignant and tender, but I decided to return to my committed lesbian relationship."
"War in Iraq? What war? As soon as I get sworn in, the troops are all out. And out of Korea and Germany and Diego Garcia and Guantanamo and Italy and Japan and . . . "
"Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies – they make me sick. And if I'm sick, I'm not going to them. We're going to have universal health care whether they like it or not."
"We're cutting aid to Israel to the amount of [this could range from one dollar to a billion dollars: it doesn't matter, a cut of any amount would be astonishing]. Now, Israel has to sit down and work out a deal with the Palestinians – right now."
"The Bush gang should all be put on trial for war crimes, for malfeasance, for violating our civil liberties, for screwing the people, for gutting the EPA and OSHA and FDA, for incompetence, for . . ."
"We're ending the embargo of Cuba – one of the great stupidities of American foreign policy. How long do these people have to suffer? And do we really want the Germans and the Canadians to hog all the good beaches?"
"No, I don't believe in God. I get spiritual succor from contemplating the universe. It's so much bigger than me that it makes me gasp with astonishment. However, I do believe in religion – it's so big it also makes me gasp. But for different reasons."
"Guns kill people, not people. Very few murders are committed with people's bare hands. Can we control guns even a little bit, like certified lunatics should not be allowed to buy them?"
"I will enact a law limiting the pay of CEOs to no more than five times the pay of teachers. If CEOs want a raise, they need to jack up the pay of schoolteachers. I'm willing to wager teachers' pay will go up. And so will the quality of education."