Friday, September 12, 2008

A Plea From The Bowels


One of the best things about this country is that when emergencies or disasters take place, people pitch in to help each other, without regard to race, religion or political beliefs.

The Republicans showed this solidarity in their recent convention by suspending most of the first day's activities, in recognition of the threat by Hurricane Gustav. They asked for relief supplies and donations, instead of political contributions.

Texans near the coast are faced with an even bigger threat now from Hurricane Ike. Swamper Mike LaRoche, in San Antonio, thankfully appears to be well out of harm's way. I don't know where our other TexaSwamper, TexasJew, is located, but I hope our oilman is far away from Ike, and his crew and equipment will be unscathed by Ike's passage.

McCain and Obama put aside partisan differences to appear at a memorial on Sept. 11. That, of course, was not a natural catastrophe, but the product of human hatred and violent Islamist extremism. The principle remains, however, that in times of dire need Americans cast aside all other differences and help each other.

So here's a weekend wish that the McCain and Obama campaigns will tone down the sniping for the time being. The right should stop with the phony lipstick on a pig talk about Obama. The left should show some decency and stop treating Sarah Palin as a Christian ayatollah in pumps. And online magazines that aim for respectability should think twice before they publish ill-informed drivel such as Cintra Wilson wrote about Palin.

And during this pause from the insanity, people of the left and right should try to understand one another. I'm not saying agree with each other, but understand where their ideological opponents are coming from.

The Palin nomination has revealed a huge gulf of incomprehension between her backers, who in some instances verge on cultish admiration, and opponents, who often treat her as a moose-eating Terminator programmed to destroy American democracy.

The wildly inaccurate Internet rumors about Palin, picked up by no less than Maureen Dowd, indicate that to many people, facts don't matter. A perfectly reasonable statement by Palin about praying that Americans are doing God's will in Iraq was transformed into a call for Christian jihad by a sloppy or biased Associated Press reporter. (The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive).

Far worse, ABC's Charles Gibson repeated the doctored quote in his interview with Palin. That's really inexcusable, but it's too often how the press works. If one reporter writes it, a falsehood become
s transmogrified into a "fact" cited by other reporters. At the least, Gibson owes Palin an apology. And Gibson should be more careful with his facts from now on.

For all of us, a little forbearance is in order, and a little less certitude. Whatever one's religion, or the lack of one, Oliver Cromwell's advice to the Church of Scotland is worth pondering:

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

And with that, here's a hearty wish that Mike L. and TexasJew will spend the weekend in a safe place, with friends and loved ones, sipping mojitos or downing Patron shots (or other favorite concotions) and avoiding the insanity.

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