When other people are confused and frustrated about things that seem perfectly obvious to me, it makes me really frustrated, too. I felt that way Wednesday when I saw this article about Ron Paul’s strategists being confused about losing elections despite generating enthusiastic crowds at events.
If these guys are honestly confused, I wonder how experienced or competent they are. I knew months and months ago how this was going to play out for Paul. If anything, it’s gone even worse than I expected. I figured he’d slip up and win some small state or two, but that hasn’t even happened.
Here’s the truth. Ron Paul has the most enthusiastic core of supporters of any campaign today, bar none. If elections were won because of whose biggest supporters were most passionate, Paul would be elected. But that’s not how politics works. Most people aren’t going to go to anybody’s campaign event. They have busy lives and they honestly don’t care enough about the candidates. But when it’s time to vote, most of them are going to vote for a candidate whose ideas are mainstream and familiar to them.
Whether we like it or not, we are far outside the mainstream. The passion of a tiny group isn’t enough to change the fact that the masses recoil at our ideas. That’s just reality. Any political strategist should know this.
Remember the “corruption” trial that I told you about last week? I didn’t think there was any way these people should have been convicted, because what they were proven to be doing was just as legal as what anybody else in politics does. Well, the jury found all defendants not guilty on all charges Wednesday. I don’t necessarily support the people on trial — or vouch for their character — but the verdict was the right one. It’s a big blow to the out-of-control federal prosecutors who brought the case. They proved the old legal aphorism that a good prosecutor can successfully indict a ham sandwich.
I never find myself wanting to run campaigns to try to elect people anymore, but I frequently find myself wanting to run campaigns against certain people. As I was driving home Wednesday night, I saw signs for a few local candidates who I can’t stand for one reason or another. I won’t mention any names, but they’ll be the only reason I’ll be eagerly scanning local returns next week — hoping for them to all lose.
Is the battle for the GOP presidential nomination over? Technically, no. In reality, yes. People are accustomed to the modern era in which a front-runner emerges and takes obvious control quickly, forcing his opponents to drop out. Here’s an article that carefully outlines why that’s not true this year and explains the convention delegate math behind why Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee unless something completely unexpected happens. Basically, unless Romney gets hit by a bus or gets caught having gay sex in airport restrooms, he’s who the GOP is stuck with.
Are you ready for Romney vs. Obama in the fall? A lot of the people attacking Romney lately are suddenly going to find they like him better than they thought when they realize he’s their only chance to beat Barack Obama — who they hate worse then the devil himself.
Wednesday afternoon, I listened to four black women talk about Obama. It was like listening to cult members talk about their perfect and sainted leader. I can’t think of a similar example of a group identifying so strongly with a politician from the group lately, but I could be missing an obvious example. On the one hand, it’s disgusting to feel as though these people are supporting a president just because he’s black. On the other hand, there’s something almost touching — and very understandable — about people feeling that way.
It wasn’t that long ago that blacks in this country were treated miserably by the law in many places and in many ways. It’s understandable how their pride at having someone who looks something like them would swell. I disagree with everything that Obama stands for. But if I were part of a minority that had been as persecuted and discriminated against in the past, I might be tempted to support him, too, at least if I were an average person who didn’t know or care that much about politics or ideas. So I sort of condemn them, but I can understand why it happens.
A friend of mine who’s a very dedicated but frustrated teacher sent me this note earlier in the week: “If I want to work with kids who are not lazy and who are appreciative of someone teaching them, which country should I move to? Obviously, it is not here.”
She teaches at a highly rated government-run school in an affluent suburb. When I mentioned this on Facebook, one of the things that was pointed out was that kids who are home-schooled or unschooled don’t seem to develop this same laziness and lack of motivation. Does it really help children when we don’t force them to go someplace they don’t want to go every day? I don’t know. You tell me. (I’m leaning more and more in the direction of liking unschooling, even more than home-schooling, but the needs of children differ so much that it’s hard to name a “right way” for everyone.
Have you ever thought much about the biology of love? We talk about the “chemistry” between two people in love, but we act as though it’s just a figure of speech. Anthropologist Helen Fisher thinks it’s more than just an analogy. I’ve been following her work for years, and I’ve found her to be a very insightful scientist on the issue of why love happens and why we fall in love with the specific people we do.
Earlier this week, I ran across this TED talk she gave three and a half years ago about her research on the brain and love. It’s only 15 minutes, and it’s really worth your time if you have any interest in love and your own actions in relation to it. Have you ever felt that you were addicted to a person you loved? She says there’s a reason. Biologically speaking, that’s what love is: “Romantic love is an addiction: a perfectly wonderful addiction when it’s going well, and a perfectly horrible addiction when it’s going poorly.”
I’ll leave you with a quote from a book I’m reading right now called “The Scalpel and the Soul.” Dr. Allan J. Hamilton writes about his experiences as a surgeon over the years, much of it dealing with the things he saw that led him to believe in some form of soul or spirit. I don’t think he’s going to arrive at the same spiritual conclusions I have by the end of the book, but his observations are insightful. In one chapter, he talked about an experience that changed him, and he had this to say in introducing the subject. Especially in the last few years, I’ve found him to be right about this:
“In each of our lives occur transformational moments, fragile as spun glass. They drift though our lives for a fraction of a second and then shatter. … I want to be clear with you about those revelations. This feeling — I don’t want you to misunderstand when I say that a person just feels those delicate moments — you don’t just feel them. They hit you. Like a fist.”