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The Challenge We Face in This Election

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Fight Fire with Fire or Say What We Want


I just received a well meaning request for a contribution from DFA for an ad to run about McCain and his anger and his running on being a POW. I have to say, I was completely underwhelmed. Perhaps a few weeks ago I would not have been but time is running out and we need to make some hard choices in this country.


Attacking John McCain with an ad saying he is an angry guy just won’t move many voters. Saying anything much against people doesn’t persuade me to do anything. It just makes me want to be led to the polls and told whom to vote for.


I would suggest that we find the way forward in the most positive way. I think we need to all say what it is we need and who we think can provide that and why. I hate to be a douser of flames when it comes to getting our own anger on the table but there is no place for this kind of discourse and if we allow the Republicans to hijack the kind of discourse we can and cannot use then it makes no difference if the Democrats or the Green Party or anyone else wins for now. They will still get to say who can say what and in what way.

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When John McCain decided to bring Sarah Palin into the campaign, he made a move that said we should not care about what he said before. With her at his side, he can let lose on us the person who will free you from all your guilt and hard work in trying to keep this campaign about the issues. For surely this woman is not about the issues that affect most of us.


She has no knowledge, at least not much more knowledge than most of us have, about foreign policy or the banking regulations or even the ways in which the Senate works. That is where she will be poised every day it is in session if she is elected. Think about all she does not know. Think about all she does know too.


She knows how to antagonize and to stir up peoples’ feelings. In some ways she is just that old bull in the china shop that is going to hit as much of the precious stuff as she can without any thought as to what it might cost to repair it.

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Yet, there are other issues at play here too. Who is the constituency right now most interested in her?  The press--they took the bait first and they are having a field day with it. For them, this is the replacement for the feud between the Obama camp and the Hillary camp. This is the way they can increase their ratings, get the circulation up, and keep the people buying the coverage because as my good friend Danny Schechter now says, we have electotainment now. We have another false and misleading set of images and phrases being thrown at us.


Just as McCain seduced the press to overlook his egregious shortcomings as a leader by inviting them on his bus, now he has seduced them with a young and attractive woman who will not answer questions. She cannot answer questions because she is not ready to answer them because she doesn’t know the answers.


So, let’s stay away from that whole mess and move into the real mess. The mess made by the Republicans, aided by the Democrats, to keep this country bleeding both on the battlefield and in the economic sphere as well. Who among us has not been injured by the health care system, or the government or the war or the educational system or the work place problems or the violence we see all around us?


Who among us has not felt the pinch until it is almost unbearable every time we go to the grocery store to buy food? We stand in line with our carts, now with less food in them due to two problems—cost and bad crops.


We look at the rising level of the charges and we feel like we are in a flood. They are about to drown us in debt just so we can feed ourselves. We cannot afford the luxuries and we certainly think twice about turning on the car to go to the store. We cut back and we cut back on our expenses in order to try and shore things up. Like sand bags at the door, we try and keep those bills down and the credit card companies from gobbling up whatever little amount of money we are saving. Turning more and more to cash rather than to their credit cards, more people are throwing the cards away because of the high cost of maintaining them.


Yet, none of this makes the headlines. None of this financial daily woe heads the news as the press cannot find a way to make it sexy enough to titillate enough people so their ratings can climb and their circulation increase.

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We are not alone in this flooding, the drowning in debt. We live day by day because there is no other way to do it.


Well the river is rising. There is no life boat on the horizon. What kind of life jacket will the candidates throw us? That is the real question that cannot be asked because even if it is asked, who is going to run that story? It is like the warning in a vegetarian cookbook, if you overcook the good food in the recipe, it will be boring to eat. The same can be true of the food we are being dished out every day by the Democratic Presidential candidate. It might be good to know that he can still speak about the economy but what would matter more is if those who can talk about their damaged credit, lost homes and forsaken dreams could be relied up to get the word out there. These are the real people of the world and we need to let them speak to the issues too.


Don’t attack, allow the people to be heard. From their voices will come the real changes we all need. To me that is what democracy can be built on. Not on the anger and disgust but with the positive and true voices of the people who live here and have to learn how to get along.


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Deborah Emin is the founder of the publishing company, Sullivan Street Press (www.sullivanstreetpress.com). She is also the impressario of the Itinerant Book Show as well as the program director of the REZ Reading Series in Kew Gardens, NY. Her (more...)

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