Yesterday, I had an unpleasant experience. I got categorized. I didn’t like it and responded rather nastily.
Several of my friends were discussing the Obama versus Hillary Clinton confrontation which occurred in last night’s debate where those two lost many points in all of our estimations. Not only were they rude to each other, which is to be expected in a debate, but they were falling all over each other trying to be more anti-Reagan than the other. They were not discussing any particular Reagan policies which they disliked, and wanted to change, but rather they wanted to appear that they were categorically declaring that everything that Reagan ever did, and everything that he stood for were bad, even evil. There seemed to be no limit as to how far they would go to prove to their audience that they were more hateful of Reagan than the their opponent. What were they thinking?
Quite frankly I watched the debate through that despicable episode with chagrin and sadness. It frightens me that it is highly probable that one of these seemingly sane people could fall into such narrow minded bigotry, because a year from now one of them will probably be carrying the football. To those of you who have forgotten, the Presidential Football is the briefcase containing the war codes. It contains the “button”, and it is always within seconds of the presidential finger. With it he or she, as the case may be, may annihilate most if not all of the human life on the planet Earth. Therefore, we want the most stable, sanest person in the entire country in control of that football, and that button, and most certainly not someone who slips all too easily into stupid categorical thinking such as Obama and Hillary were displaying at that debate debacle.
While they were stupidly down putting Reagan they seem to have forgotten that he, largely against the military communities wishes at the time, created the Strategic Arms Limitations Agreement. This enforceable agreement took thousands of H-bombs off of the instant readiness list, and his actions did in fact make the world a little bit safer. Many people don’t seem to remember that thermonuclear war can happen, and it was the handsome John F. Kennedy, whom we all adore, that took us within minutes of annihilation. So much for good looks, and popularity as a guiding principle for electing presidents.
Into this conversation, which was trying to delve into some of the subtleties of what happened during that presidential debate episode, steps a person well known to us. He, we all know to be an abrasive person, and he, without hearing no more than a sentence or two of our conversation, says in an accusatory tone of voice you’re a Republican. Well, that made me snap back in a rather nasty way, not because I am or am not of some particular party, generally none, but rather because of the stupid unthinking way he and other people tend to rigidly categorize ideas, and other people. The problem is that once they have made such a rigid statement they feel compelled to support it and then being attacked because they are being stupidly rigid are forced to defend what they said and so on in a cycle of numbing head butting. No one gets anywhere worth going with rigid categorical accusations. That behavior gets some blood flowing in one’s veins, but ultimately it leads to blood flowing on some battlefield. It is exactly that kind of thinking that Hillary and Obama were displaying, and that is why I am feeling sad. We must find leaders with composure under stress, and they were slipping. Imagine getting angry or tearful at a time when you had to make truly momentous decisions.