Monday, October 27, 2008

Comment and Response

In my last post, I received a comment from "anonymous." Now, I don't have any hard and fast rules regarding anonymous comments. Sometimes I know who they are and it is nothing more than an attempt to comment without having to jump over Blogger's hurdles. Other times the purpose is to protect one's identity for legitimate reasons and still others are out to do nothing more than cause trouble. Those I will usually just delete without comment. Then there are those that don't fall easily into any category... they are simply cyber-diarrhea. The following is such a comment followed by my response.

Anonymous said...

Well, I will be one that can say I did not vote for Obama when all comes crashing down. He has no experience to speak of, has been in the Senate for 2 years of which 95% of that time he has spent campaigning. He votes "present" 95% of the time because he has no backbone to make a decision. This way he cannot be called upon later on to defend his vote. Voting "present" means absolutely nothing.

8:47 AM, October 25, 2008

To which, I responded:

Mr. Althouse said...

Mr. (or is it Mrs?) Anonymous,

It is interesting that you chose this post to regale me with your juvenile political rhetoric. Actually, the term rhetoric is much too generous... let's just call it what it is - drivel. Although I have written much about this presidential race and the candidates in it, this post only threw a glancing blow at the Republican vice presidential nominee regarding a particularly glaring inconsistency between her ideology and her circumstances.

I won't again repeat what has already been said save this: Palin might be qualified to govern over a few hundred thousand Alaskans, but is abjectly unqualified to be a heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world. End of story.

I will leave you with a final question, however: Can you say you are one who did vote for this current president? You do realize that it is all coming crashing down... right here and right now.

Finally, I usually just delete anonymous comments with no intelligence to speak of, but in your case I have made an exception. Now, tell me again about that "backbone"...

Appropriate, no?

1:57 PM, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back to Basics

This blog has hosted a great variety of thinking in its short history. Although this has been by far my least prolific year of writing for the 25 Year Plan, I have still managed to publish 55 (now 56) posts to this blog so far this year. The Plan’s lifetime total is more than 350 posts and untold thousands of words (the vast majority of which are my own), that reflect how I see the world and my place in it. Much has been reaction to that world (opinion), but there have also been numerous reflections (perspectives) and insights… thoughts about what drives me (purpose). Hence the subtext of what the 25 Year Plan is all about - “Perspectives, Purpose and Opinion.”

Recent posts have dealt with politics (one of my passions), revelations regarding distractions and personal interaction via social networks like My Space and an unplanned hiatus from blogging. All easily fall within the wide net that defines this blog. Perhaps more revealing to me is what has not appeared here. The inspiration to write profoundly has come and gone numerous times in the past several weeks. Experience confirms what I already know but often neglect to acknowledge in the moment: If I don’t strike when the iron is hot, the moment will pass. And the idea? Lost to the labyrinth of time past.

I am determined not to let another slip into the abyss. The urge has built up to critical mass and though I cannot recall with any specificity the insights from days past, the factors influencing them are omnipresent. The underlying pressures and pleasures, the victories and the defeats, the triumph and tragedy that are always more or less pronounced continue to drive the energy turned thought, and now thought transformed… finally released as words. They still feel inadequate; yet they hold promise to, with great care in their arrangement, reveal the wisdom of the ages. It is again just out of reach.

Meanwhile, real life continues. The struggles of post-graduate study are nothing like that of my undergraduate career - one that spanned, on and off, more than 25 years. I am (currently) hopeful that I will make it through my first semester thus earning me the confidence that I have what it takes. At the moment my eggs are all in this basket. In this economy, however, I am fortunate that they are not scrambled like so many others’ dreams have been. On the plus side, I am learning perhaps more than ever, faster than ever. The down side, of course, is the ebb and flow but never absent feeling of being overwhelmed. Comfort of late has come in discrete moments, not long periods of time.

Outside from school, life is good… and never dull. My eldest has informed me that I will be a grandfather in the coming months. I am told a wedding will be in the near future as well. Evidence of a modern day paradigm shift to be sure, but not nearly as profound as the situation regarding the Republican Vice Presidential nominee and her 17 year-old daughter. What? Oh yes, I know. We’re not supposed to talk about that lest we cast judgment. For the record, my eldest is 24 and his girlfriend is 27… draw your own conclusion. Mine is a mixture of apprehension and joy.

My younger sons are each voting for the first time this November. At 19 and 21, their first direct experience with democracy will be in a presidential election. I didn’t think they had any interest politics - and maybe they don’t, but they do appear to care about what is happening in our country and the world and they have a clear idea who they think can get us back on track. Color me surprised… and extremely proud.

There it is… not as profound as I wanted, more left unwritten than written. Words are often so inadequate. Perspectives, purpose and opinion… it’s all about life and this is mine today.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Friends...

Now that the second of three presidential debates is history, the mud slinging can resume. It’s true, debate mud slinging was nowhere to be found. Despite what many have called a “heated” debate in which the candidates called attention to each other’s respective records as well as the liberal interpretations of each one’s positions, this is not mud-slinging in a presidential debate. It is, in fact, fair game.

The rhetoric coming from the two campaigns of late, however, is a much different story. From the obliteration of facts to the exploitation of past associations on both sides, there is nothing cordial about the race’s recent past. It is unfortunate, but certainly not unexpected. McCain is losing ground and it has little to do with what he says at this point… with every downturn in the economy, be it record unemployment or a tanking stock market, McCain’s numbers go down. Maverick or not, he is a Republican - the same party that has control of the executive and until the 2006 midterms, both houses of congress.

There are not enough “my friend’s” in the world to stave off disaster in November. Compounding McCain’s problem is an acute lack of understanding of what is really going on with the economy, though to his credit he’s an expert next to his running mate. Although he might have a slight edge where it comes to foreign policy, the world has changed so much in the last 20 years that only current knowledge and expertise has any real meaning. Add Obama's youth and intelligence to the equation and it reduces McCain’s odds even more.

Look, we all know John McCain is a war hero. He has served his country admirably all of his adult life. He climbed the ladder by staying in the game and never giving up. Given all of that, isn’t it his turn? Shouldn’t he have his chance? Hasn’t he earned it? Um, no. He deserves to be first runner up, maybe some lovely parting gifts… and he gets to keep his cushy seat in the U.S. Senate. He will make the history books. He will be looked upon as a good senator and an American hero. That should be enough for anyone and it will have to do. This job is not about rewarding heroism, it’s about steering a nation of more than 300 million citizens; it's about keeping our best interests at heart.

It’s not about winning at any cost - even if, paraphrasing a McCain official, if the we don’t move off the economy, we will lose. This country needs more than an overly experienced senator in the White House. We need a visionary. We need a president who will move the people, instill confidence and re-energize us. Sometimes it is about speeches and well-spoken words. It’s time for some new blood… and his name is Barack Obama.

As much maverick as McCain claims to be, he still represents the old guard and where it applies to foreign policy, he might as well be Bush. Although McCain can rightly claim ignorance regarding the financial meltdown, his party had a major hand in it. Yes, the Republicans and McCain’s people say the Democrats, under Clinton, put the disaster in motion. But it is difficult to explain away more ten years of Republican congressional control, six of those with a Republican in the White House. McCain’s biggest albatross is his own party - the one he ironically enough claims to have stood up to time and time again.

What’s that old saying about payback?

It's a pitbull with lipstick.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bye bye, Myspace

My little experiment with Myspace - and Internet-based “social networking” generally - has come to an end. Although it has some positive aspects to it, I have come to the conclusion that as a surrogate for personal human communication, it is a dismal failure. I am not interested in going into the how’s and why’s, nor am I interested in taking a trip down memory lane. The novelty is gone and that really was its only saving grace. I have a two phone numbers, this blog (and others) and several email addresses. I can be contacted directly quite easily - the shotgun approach that is Myspace has worn quite thin.

There are aspects of my dislike with the cyber-social network that can hardly be blamed on the medium. Indeed, Myspace like all other forms of computer software is just a tool. It can be used and abused as the operator sees fit. In this respect, I am fully responsible for the time it consumed and the disconnection it fostered. It is not alive. It doesn’t care. It didn’t feel a thing when I unplugged myself from it. Yet I feel as though I have severed contact with my approximately 195 “friends.” Ok, so they were not all friends, but many were and most I at least know on a personal level one way or another. I would venture to guess, however, that although I will not have a daily connection via log in with most of them - my real friends still are friends, and that includes those I met through another cyber tool - the blog.

Speaking of blogging…

I am not done yet - not even close. In fact, I would say that - at nearly three years old - the 25 Year Plan (and its offspring, present and future) will be around for a long, long time. There are significant differences between blogging and social networking, although they can play similar roles. And it’s more than just the interface. The connection between a blogger and his or her commenter is personal. It’s not just about “Hey, how ya doin’,” but rather framed by the context created by the blogger. It might be about trivial personal salutations, but more often there is substance inspired by whatever the author wrote about. It could be societal, it could be political, it could be financial… or it could be about the evils of social networking.

Now that Myspace no longer commands a slice of my time, it might be that this space will get some more attention. Moreover, it is my sincere desire to start visiting the many blogs I have come to respect so much as well as some I have yet to discover. I am at a point where the trivial and the petty have no place in my life. And that includes Internet junk food like Myspace.