Thursday, November 8, 2012

Political Guts: Some Odd Musings

I thought that after the usual commentary on the election, I'd try something a bit different.  During this campaign, who showed political guts, and when?

My definition of political guts is, I hope, simple.  You have to stick your neck out, in a way that most others aren't, and it has to be a reasonable conclusion about something important.

I saw two instances of political guts this campaign; others may have their own lists (spare me).  One, President Obama came out for gay marriage.  Yes, the polls had been showing that support for that had finally (barely) reached majority status; but politicians also try not to anger minorities within their own party, and especially in what appeared to be an especially close election.  I think that took political guts.

Second, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC flatly declared that Hurricane Sandy was about global warming, and we needed to do something about it (he then, as a Republican, endorsed President Obama because he was better for climate change, but since Bloomberg was the mayor of NYC, which strongly backed Obama, that took very little guts). In a campaign in which one side has been flatly denying that there is any such thing (or refusing to answer while advocating policies that will make it worse), while the other side is refusing to treat it as an important issue, that took political guts.

What's interesting is that in both cases, once the barrier was breached, no one attacked either Obama or Bloomberg viciously for their stances. It is as if there was this great pretense in the media and in political commentators that things were one way, and then when the opportunity for attack and innuendo came, they suddenly started rethinking things.

What's happened since?  In the case of gay marriage, one amendment against turned down, and three additional states putting it into law. In effect, gay marriage has begun to move from both coasts towards the middle of the country. In the case of climate change, not much; but at least the balance of the conversation is focused on global warming itself, not denial.

Just some thoughts ...

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