About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Take off the white gloves, please
What the hell is wrong with these people? Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to have any problem not only viciously attacking Obama, but making up stuff as she goes along, like claiming that Obama is concerned only with reading their rights to the terrorists (he called for fair trials in Guantanamo). And of course she keeps lying straight through every time she brings up the infamous “bridge to nowhere,” which Palin claims she was against while the record plainly shows that she supported the idea of getting federal money to build it until the bill was dead -- and then kept the money for her constituents anyway.
Let’s take the issue that Obama won’t touch with a mile long pole: the pregnancy of Palin’s 17-year old (unmarried) daughter. Why on earth should that be off limits? Of course Obama should not criticize Palin’s daughter, who is going to have enough trouble in life as it is. But he should expose Palin’s hypocrisy for wanting to deny to other Americans, if elected, their privacy about reproductive choices.
Moreover, please let us not forget that the same Grand Old Party that has suddenly discovered feminism has been accusing Democrats until the other day of fostering the corruption of American Morality because of their social programs aimed at helping teenage unmarried mothers and their historic condemnation of working mothers in general. Somehow, now that the unmarried teenager is the daughter of the Republican vice presidential nominee the same exact behavior is no longer immoral and certain to damn someone to hell, but is in fact a paragon of family strength and at any rate “a personal matter.”
I most certainly do not want the Democrats to turn as mean, vindictive and lying as the Republicans have been for too many years. But the stakes for the country and the world are simply much too high to play the high minded clean guy who wishes to win only on the basis of issues. Issues matter very little during election campaigns, and Obama already has a built-in disadvantage because of the still widespread racism in this country. He doesn’t need to make things worse by adopting the same strategy of non-responsiveness that got Kerry swiftboated four years ago.
The Democrats need to attack and counter-attack, as steadily and as pointedly as the Republicans are doing. They can do so while still not debasing themselves to the point of lying or pandering outrageously. But time is running out, Obama. Yes, we can, but we don’t want to wait another for years to do it.