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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 52,809

Journal Archives

A Path

“For all roads to wisdom must first pass through the valleys of doubt.”
-- Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; letter to H2O Man; 1974


A couple days back, I posted an essay about shame -- about how some folks attempt to use guilt to manipulate others’ choices in politics. We see far too much of that on this forum, both on an individual and group level. There is a third sibling of emotion that may be worth our consideration: doubt.

Obviously, “doubt” isn’t limited to things political. Nor, for that matter, is it always an internal function ….a person might doubt that Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would win the general election. But, for sake of conversation, let’s focus on the internal aspects of doubt.

The human brain is hard-wired in such a way, that doubt is an experience common to almost everyone. The exception would be the psychopath, a reality that should assure those who tend to suffer from self-doubt that they are okay. We tend to doubt ourselves in three general areas: the past, the present, and the future.

Did I do the right thing? Am I making the right choice? And, which of these is the best option for me to take tomorrow?


Yesterday, my Little Sister visited me. She was accompanied by her twin sons, who just turned five. (She was, for a time, my sister-in-law; however, we were extraordinarily close, even before she met my brother.) She had “rescued” an aggressive, ill-tempered rooster the day before, that her neighbors left when they moved. It had attacked her husband in the morning, and they didn’t want it around the boys. So, of course, I took it.

As we watched the boys exploring the pond, we talked about life. Some events in her recent experience have seemed less-than-perfect. She said that she sometimes questions if her earlier life was “wasted.” If she should have done this, or not done that. The type of self-doubt that we all feel, from time to time. The types of things that, while standing inside the subjectivity of the picture frame, one needs to discuss with some trusted person who has the objectivity that comes from being outside of that frame. And is this not exactly what a big brother is for?

We were near my lodge at the time. She used to do sweats, years ago, and said that she really should start doing them again. I asked why? “To deal with some of life’s frustrations and hardships.” Right: the ceremony (or, ceremonies) there are not limited to those who are “perfect.” They are for human beings. And to show us that all that we have done, and all we have endured and survived, has brought us to the exact point we are at now. And that is exactly what we require, in order to prepare us for what we are today, and what we can be tomorrow. And there ain’t no doubt about that.


The worst type of doubt that any of us deal with -- and most of us will, to some extent, at some time(s) -- is questioning if we have value? Is our life worth-while? Do we have worth? These are among the deepest and darkest of those valleys of which Rubin spoke.

For those who experience this type of doubt, the answer is “yes.” You matter. You are a worthy, individual spark of the universal energy force. By definition, you have unique value.

Any one who has attempted to convince you otherwise is lying. It may have been your parents, a teacher, an ex-lover, a boss at work, a person on television, or even yourself. But it’s a lie. For, as Rubin wrote a few lines later, in that same letter from the near total darkness of solitary confinement: “Everything under the sun is exactly as it should be ….or it wouldn’t be.”

When one realizes that -- truly grasps it in their brain and heart -- then they can deal with today. They can even venture into the “wild west” of DU:GD, during presidential primary season, and be confident enough to simply state their opinion, express their values, and refrain from getting caught up in the foolish arguing that is all too common here.

Peace to all of you here today. And wish this old man luck: I’m preparing to go back on tour with public speaking. This afternoon, I’ll be speaking to mental health professionals about avoiding “burn out.” Next week, I’ll be speaking in a nearby city about the Indian history of central New York State. It’s a start.

H2O Man

The Little Bighorn

Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of a US military campaign, know as The Battle of the Little Bighorn. The violent conflict took place on June 25-26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory.

Those two days in American history are still important today. They provide lessons in several important areas: the US’s relationship with, and treatment of, Native American nations; the horrors of war; the identifying of one person as “public enemy #1,“ and the creation of a legend to scare the public; and who are, or should be, actually respected as “heroes” in our culture’s history.

There are a number of outstanding books on this tragic event. The two that I most recommend are: “A Terrible Glory,” by James Donovan (Back Bay Books; 2008); and “Crazy Horse and Custer,” by Stephen Ambrose (Meridian; 1975). There are a dozen others that are of high quality, but these two are, in my opinion, the most essential for understanding what happened, and why.

On the Politics of Shame

“We cannot grow when we are in shame, and we can’t use shame to change ourselves or others.” -- Brene’ Brown

One of the human dynamics which has no meaningful place in discussions about the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest is shame. Yet, almost every single day, we can find several OP/threads that imply those who think a certain way, or have different values, are not only “wrong,” but are betraying the party/ nation. Indeed, we see attempts to assign “guilt” and “shame” for sincerely held political beliefs.

There is not a monopoly on this. Far too much of it can be attributed to the supporters of the two top Democratic candidates. And, at its very best, it is convincing evidence that the person who attempts to assign such guilt has so shallow a position, that they are without anything meaningful to support their position.

Guilt and shame are, as Erich Fromm taught, associated with separation from the group. These emotions should rightfully belong to those who commit offenses -- usually violent -- against other individuals or groups …..the very people who, like George W. Bush, lack the capacity to experience them. It’s not the type of emotion that should be inflicted upon a toddler who soils his pants; a student who fails an important test at school; or an adult who loves another adult of the same sex.

It’s been abused in our society for far too long. It gets abused by too many adults interacting with children, and on the larger scale, by organized religion -- highlighted by those times a judgmental “religious” belief has been written into law in this country. It is the stuff of intolerance. And, as Gandhi taught, intolerance betrays a want of faith in one’s cause.

There are community members who are making solid cases for the candidate they support. It’s silly to point fingers and say, “You’re wrong to support him/her, because a vote for him/her is a vote for a republican.” That’s simply not true: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both Democrats, with enough history to rationally compare the two. The Democratic Party -- and this forum -- includes a wide range of people. There is zero benefit accrued by attempting to make someone feel they aren’t part of it.

It would be too easy to assign blame on “trolls,” political agents, and other paid employees. It would also be inaccurate. Most of the people who are stirring the pot are good people. They are sincere in their efforts to voice their opinion. They get carried away, not because they are “bad,” but because not only does American culture appear t be saturated in guilt (in one way or another), but presidential primaries on DU:GD have not traditionally been pillow fights. It’s easy to have hostility rise quickly, to reach the level achieved in the last argument, when confronting an old opponent.

There are also numerous calm, rational contributors to the discussions. They don’t always get attention. But they are there. It’s funny, speaking of attempts to make people feel disconnected to the larger group ….we often see someone say, “Yeah, but DU doesn’t reflect the ‘real world’.” Or, say that no one could be seriously influenced, let alone have their mind changed, just by conversing here on DU. Baloney. There are men and women here who have influenced my thinking a great deal. In some cases, to change my opinion. But, more often, they add to my knowledge and understanding of various topics. I know others who feel the same way. If you haven’t learned -- and grown -- from experience here, it is more a statement about you. Because there is certainly a large reservoir of knowledge and personal experience to be found among this community.

Peace,
H2O Man

What ever happened to DU's H2O Man?

Strength vs. Power: What is Behind Them

National Geographic: “What is the greatest power?”

Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah: “I myself have no power. It’s the people behind me who have the power. Real power comes from the Creator. It’s in His hands. But if you’re asking about strength, not power, than I can say that the greatest strength is gentleness.”


Sometimes when I read a number of OP/threads on DU:GD, I imagine this forum as a model of the human brain. Various forum members make contributions that I apply to various sections of that brain, including from the most evolved layers that distinguish our species from all of our relatives on earth. Others contribute thoughts or feelings that I attribute to the various other sections, right down to the bulb of our brain’s stem.

When that joyous season we call “the presidential primaries” come around, it is if they “waking brain” and the “sleeping brain” (highly technical terms, I know) are both turned on and highly active, both simultaneously and at the same time (one descriptive term for each level). The tensions between the two are charged by the various electrical impulses that energize the forum/brain.

Often, one section of the community will say, “But DU does not represent the United States electorate.” I say, “Thank goodness!” Could you imagine if we were condemned to spend time inside a republican party brain? Yikes! Far more pleasurable to be here.

Even in this DU brain, we note that some segments, or sub-systems, are convinced that they are the “real” form of high consciousness, and thus attempt to silence what they view as annoying thoughts that keep popping up. Thus, we see that a lot of the primary debates tend to be less about the individual candidate, and more about the individual(s) behind them. And that’s good, for we should know who supports what candidate, and why.

In fact, when we are deciding upon who will be president, we should consider who is behind their campaigns, and why.


Respect

Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman: “It’s hard for people from one culture to really understand another. There’s a site in West Virginia, where I have been asked to rebury 664 remains. But they are held in an Ohio museum. The people in Ohio asked me why I want to rebury people in West Virginia. And here I was wondering why they want to dig them up?

“I’m not sure everything can be explained. Some things you either understand, or you just don’t. Maybe the goal should be to teach respect for other people, even if you don’t fully understand them.”


When I read something on DU:GD, no matter if I agree or disagree with it, I tend to try to assign it to some reference point -- or, “file” -- in my brain. Frequently, I’m able to do that with some degree of accuracy. I “know” some people here, and am familiar enough with certain topics, that I am comfortable in doing that. I assume that I know what they are “really saying.” The problem in doing that -- both here and in real life -- is that sometimes I’m wrong. That’s part of being human, of course; the only people who honestly believe they approach every person and topic with a completely open mind are those incapable of being fully honest with themselves.

No matter if I am fully correct, totally incorrect, or somewhere in that wide range found in between, I have the constant option of having respect for the other person ….if not his or her opinion or actions. That, of course, can be difficult. Sometimes, very difficult -- for example, there are some issues that I think are really clear-cut, and that strike an emotional reaction. Usually, these are issues in which a person’s opinion is closely related to actions that cause some type of injury to others. These can range from people who attempt to justify violence -- from adults who hit kids, to those who advocate war -- to those who seek financial profit from engaging in the destruction of the living environment. “Fracking,” for example, poisons the water that sustains life on earth.

Yet there are many areas where disagreements are not so clearly defined, where there is not only one “correct” answer, or where there really isn’t a “wrong” answer. Thus, because other forum members have had different life-experiences than me, they are going to process some of the same information as me in a very different way. They have different “files” or reference points built into their gray matter. We all do, and that’s a good thing.

Recently, while discussing an area where I have disagreement -- strong disagreement -- with a small group of people who live in my area, my younger son reminded me of something. He said that I have to remember that most people did not grow up with mentors such as Leon Shenandoah, Paul Waterman, or Rubin Carter. Much less all three. So the chances of them viewing the issues in the same way, were rather small. And that even if I was convinced that I was 100% correct, I needed to listen closely to those other people. That I might even learn something.

Peace,
H2O Man

Boxing (June 20)

There are three good boxing cards on television tonight. The best fight, at least on paper, is the Broner vs Porter bout.

In the afternoon-evening, I'll be hanging out with Marvis Frazier and Larry Holmes. There is a good chance that they'll be here tonight, to watch the fights. That said, if any of you are interested, come on over!

Doe, A Deer

“God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” -- Aeschylus


As the shock wears off, and the horror begins to settle in, it is human nature to try to “make sense” of the brutal murder of nine human beings in a church setting. We can see evidence of this on the television news, or on this forum. People express their views of guns, racism, if this was a hate crime and/or terrorism, the concept of “evil,“ other heinous murderers, and issues of mental illness. These are all valid issue to consider; discussing them can be helpful in coming to terms with this latest tragedy.

There are layers in our society that are dealing with this awful pain. My first concern, of course, is for the family members who lost a loved one. Then, like the ripples on a pond, going outward, the friends, neighbors, community members, and associates stretching across the country. And I do worry about this country -- the decay that we are witnessing, and how mindless violence so often targets Good People -- that my generation is handing down to the next.

I know the pain that this incident causes for so many people across this great land.

Even now, eight months after an off-duty law enforcement officer shot and seriously wounded my cousin, and killed his son, it is common for my cousin to tell me that he keeps reviewing the incident, and trying to make sense of it. He got a package of legal documents in the mail, which always serves to upset him; I drove down, and took them with me, to add to the growing file. I read through them yesterday morning, and there is nothing there that we have to respond to.

It’s difficult for me to sit down: the day before, I was in the lead as my dog Kelly and I took an early morning walk out to the pond; a tree that broke off in the night’s storm blocked our path, and as I prepared to climb over it, Kelly dashed up behind me, and jumped off my back, over the tree. While that was an amazing example of canine athleticism, it left me as limp as a damp rag, hanging across the tree’s trunk.

So I stood and looked out a window. There was a light rain coming down, though not enough to discourage a humming bird from drinking at some of the Rosa rugosa rubras (hedge roses). Few things in the Natural World fascinate me more than humming birds. In my mind’s eye, this wonderful creature was carrying on its duties, in between Aeschylus’s drops.

The next thing my eyes focused upon surprised me: a doe’s head stuck out from the hedge roses. She was about eight feet away from my window. For the past several years, although my dogs bark at literally anything else -- or, sometimes, nothing at all -- they pay little if any attention to the deer around here. She tilted her beautiful head, listened for a moment, and then began trimming my roses for me.

There is violence in the Natural World, and at times, it can seem cruel. But there is no “evil.” I have been in physical pain since Kelly flattened me, for example, but he meant my old bones no harm. A small-to-medium snapping turtle has taken up residence in my pond, and I will have to move it, as I am not in favor of it de-populating the schools of fish. (It has quickly learned to approach me when I feed the fish, and I wouldn’t mind if it only consumed fish food. But as much respect as I have for snapping turtles, I would prefer it live elsewhere. I am, at this point, too old to go in the pond to catch it -- they are much more difficult to handle in the water, especially if the dig into the mud -- and so I’ve brought my fishing net out. The turtle knows how to avoid it, thus far!)

I do believe that there is “evil,” though I do not subscribe to the belief if a demon with a red tail, horns, and a pitch-fork. I think it is an entirely human dynamic. I think it often involves groups of people -- though not necessarily at what I consider a conscious level. It can be found in the behaviors of an individual from that group. For example, I consider Dick Cheney to be evil; I do not consider his level of consciousness to be significantly higher than that of a snapping turtle -- and I am not attempting to be humorous in saying that. I view both as organic machines, though obviously, Cheney’s brain has a few more layers of gray matter.

Somewhere in that gray matter, human beings can hold the potential to do inhumane things. A sub-group gets associated with others who commit what, on the surface, appear to be similar crimes, in terms of utter brutality. Hence, we read some sincere people refer to this latest thug as being the same as Adam Lanza. While there are similarities, which may even include relationships with parents and family members, Lanza had much more evident signs of a serious and persistent axis 1 mental illness. Likewise, this fellow has been compared to Charles Manson; while both professed interest in sparking a “race war,” and had raging inferiority complexes, there aren’t many other significant similarities. And this turd is also being compared to Tim McVeigh; again, while both are correctly identified as terrorists, there are not other significant similarities.

What does overlap in all these instances -- including the hundreds and thousands of other, less well-known case like my cousin’s -- is that a bitter, angry man rode the energies of hatred -- his own, and his followers -- and committed violent crimes that killed and maimed innocent people.

There seems to be a lot of hatred in the United States these days. Too much, in fact. By no coincident, the levels of violence seem to rise at the same pace and level. I try not to “hate.” I do believe in forgiveness. Yet, being human, it is very hard for me to forgive the swine that shot my cousin and his son. I’m okay with my not being there, so long as I do not hate him. For, as my Good Friend, the “Hurricane” that transformed into Dr. Rubin Carter told me, “If you hate, you are a murderer.”

Peace,
H2O Man

On Voting

I take voting very seriously. I have voted in virtually every election since reaching voting age. I’ve also invested time and effort in voting registration drives over the years, primarily targeting two populations: those in low-income neighborhoods, and young adults. “Voter registration” is important, but to reach its full potential, it should be one part of a program that includes voter education, and voter participation.

Over the decades, I have also been a volunteer in dozens of campaigns. In more recent years, I’ve run numerous local and regional political campaigns. I do not charge so much as a penny for my efforts, nor accepted “gas money,” etc. I am involved in political campaigns for the same reason that I have been involved in social movements during these same years: I believe in what I do. It is a matter of conscience.

Voting is a right, and a responsibility. It is not a privilege. Those who think they have a right to deny others their right to vote have an unethical sense of entitlement. Those who insist that everyone has an obligation to vote exactly as they do has a sense of privilege. Those who attempt to make others feel guilty about how they vote, or insult others for doing so, are foolish. Everyone has the right to vote as their conscience tells them to.

I’m not sure who I will vote for in the Democratic presidential primary. There’s plenty of time for me to decide. But even in that -- a primary, not a general election -- I’ll vote according to who I believe is the best candidate. None of the announced Democratic candidates is “perfect.” They each have strengths and weaknesses. I will continue to evaluate each one of them.

What I won’t do is allow other people to decide for me. Those who make a strong case for a particular candidate may influence my thinking, to some extent. And I’ll ignore those who channel hatred, hurl insults, and/or attempt to instill a sense of collective guilt by way of mis-using sociological terms. For it would not be fair to judge any candidate, based upon the toxicity and ignorance of some of their followers.

Peace,
H2O Man

Rachel Dolezal's Hair

In August of 2006, while attending an extended-family function, I was seated next to a retired FBI investigator. In an attempt to make “small talk,” I asked him if he thought that John Mark Karr, a strange character being featured on all the news, had actually murdered JonBenet Ramsey? After he stopped laughing, he explained to me why he believed Karr had nothing to do with the crime.

He said that as a rule, when the media gives such extensive coverage to a case such as this, it means that something else that is far more important nationally escapes notice. This isn’t to suggest that violent crimes against children is unimportant; rather, he explained, the media is appealing to the public’s uncanny ability to be distracted by what “shocks” or “outrages” them.

While I recognize that everyone has the right to view -- and judge -- this for themselves, it has made me question the reasons certain news stories are given such a high profile in the media. In a sense, I view the coverage of Rachel Dolezal in this light. This is not to suggest that issues of “race” are not extremely important in our society. They are. And they always have been. Our society has difficulty in discussing them in an open manner. Hence, while the topic of police violence against black citizens is very important, and deserves our attention, we benefit from hearing what organizations such as the NAACP has to say.

Yet, that is distinct from the issue of the confusion, or even dishonesty, of how Ms. Dolezal -- who has a connection with the NAACP --identifies herself. Indeed, there is a long and curious history of people in America who purposely, for a variety of reasons, attempt to identify themselves as something other than what they are.

It is something that has taken place for different historical reasons. In his powerful autobiography, Malcolm X spoke of the attempts by segments of the black community to appear white. Interestingly, around the same time that his former friend Muhammad Ali’s first biography -- “Black Is Beautiful” -- was published, a growing segment of the white population began to claim an Indian ancestor; Cherokee, Mohawk, and Sioux were the most popular tribes to claim a distant association with.

In 1961, an important book, “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin, was published. It detailed the author’s experiences passing as a black man in America. Yet, unlike Dolezal, Griffin always understood who he really was.

While progress has been made in “race relations,” this country has yet to come to terms with many of the realities of racism in modern times. In some of her activities, Dolezal was no doubt sincere in her efforts to deal with racism. Yet, there are some curious aspects to her approach. These appear to be related to some underlying dynamics in her family of origin. And they include a semi-tragic sense of not liking herself as she actually is.

Some media analysts are asking if this is much the same as with the transgender population. I think that this confuses a biological issue with a cultural one. However, in Dolezal’s case, there could be a genetic predisposition towards depression, which could have played a role in her choice to identify herself with a group she considered superior to her own. This is, of course, merely speculation upon my part.

What isn’t speculation is that the nation had been focused on the issues involving police violence being directed towards black people, and that the Dolezal issue has distracted people from that. Rather than more reports about incidents such as the brute who assaulted the 15-year old girl from the swimming pool party, the media is currently saturated with the Dolezal case. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, and I know that it’s a shame.

Jeb Unplugged

“ ….I’m going to answer your question by saying ‘probably nothing’.”
-- Jeb Bush, responding to a reporter’s question regarding what he would do for African-Americans if elected governor of Florida; 1994.


Like many Americans, I find even the possibility of a third member of the Bush clan serving as president to be revolting. This isn’t simply the discomfort that the concept of “ruling families” should cause those who believe in democracy. The Bush family represents every negative associated with hereditary rule.

I’ve long recognized that Jeb is “smarter” than his brother. Admittedly, George W. Bush set the bar rather low. Arguably, a fried clam is more qualified to occupy the Oval Office than W. Thus, the question is whether Jeb is closer in capability to his father, or brother?

There are some similarities in form between George and Jeb -- both have served in both the corporate world, and as governor of a state that is significant for the republican machine. More, there is a largely unreported (hence, understood or appreciated) background that was made possible from their father’s connections with the company. If Dan Rather had been allowed to follow-up on W’s undocumented periods during the Vietnam war, he would have nailed it. Add to that a “businessman” who drives an oil company into the ground (and isn’t “saved” early by Dad’s buds. It was, of course, a front -- and W failed in that, too.

When you have people stepping back-and-forth behind that curtain between corporations and government (rather than the more common post-retirement position that, say, generals get with the military-industrial complex, including the media), they hold positions that aren’t on their resume. But that could put Jeb in a terrible position if he is asked certain questions during the campaign.

It would be almost political justice, really. Forum members of a certain age remember Bush the Elder’s campaign dogging Michael Dukakis about Willie Horton. The Elder’s henchmen knew that Dukakis bore no responsibility; yet, they appealed to racism in the most vicious form in politics. Between that, and a question about the death penalty, Dukakis failed to respond in a strong, concise manner. It hurt his campaign in a big way with previously “undecided” voters.

Jeb has a close history with a group, many of whom reside in Florida, that includes Cuban exiles who were documented for being involved with violent and illegal acts. In fact, Jeb lobbied on behalf of Orlando Bosch, the late international terrorist. Jeb did his best to get this man, who was convicted for his active role in blowing a rocket-missile into a Polish ship. Jeb requested that then-President Bush pardon Bosch; once freed, Bosch was granted residency in the United States. (Younger former members are encouraged to read about the US military’s -- and corporate para-militaries’ -- role in the wars in Central America in this era.)

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s nominee, and Jeb the republican’s, it’s possible that this topic will be raised, though not necessarily by our candidate. I know that Bernie Sanders doesn’t believe in aggressively negative campaigning, but he is surely aware of this business. But there are two candidates in our primary contests that might speak openly on it. And there are journalists, even in the mainstream media, who I’m confident will address it, should Jeb’s backers be able to buy the nomination for him.

Jebis best response would be silence. But, of course, that could hurt his campaign. Or he could try to say something to deflect attention. Yet, in the past week, when Jeb speaks, he comes across as incapable of answering questions. He can deliver a written speech, but little else that translates well in campaigns.

I read an OP/thread claiming that Jeb’s speech today beat up President Obama, and tied Ms. Clinton to Obama. Baloney. It is more likely that Pee Wee Herman would knock the crap out of Mike Tyson, and then bite his ear off.

Another forum member noted the attack was red, raw meat for Jeb’s supporters. Baloney, again! It is, to quote an old friend, “like ancient rancid bacon ….(or) …. rotten green ham,” that has poisoned our country, and caused “the moral scurvy which is eating itself into the life of the people around us.”

If Jeb should reach the White House, it would be -- like his brother -- not because of his message, but in spite of him.

Hillary Clinton's Hair

I watched Hillary Clinton’s speech earlier today, and was quite impressed. I thought the content of her message was solid. It is easy to see why so many Democrats are supporting her campaign.

In my opinion, her delivery was good. In fact, I thought it was better than anything from the 2008 Democratic primary. A few years prior to that, I had the opportunity to watch Ms. Clinton deliver an off-the-cuff talk to a very small group of local, grass roots Democrats in the Village of Sidney, New York. Seeing her in person in that small, casual setting -- including the question-and-answer period after her talk -- was extremely impressive.

I do not think she comes across as strongly as a speaker before large, more formal settings. For example, her husband is a more talented public speaker. Yet, I’ve always much preferred her to Bill Clinton. In part, this is because I think that she is further to the left than he is; also, I think that she is more trustworthy than Bill Clinton.

I was struck by the authority that she communicated with today. As I’ve noted on this forum before, there are three types of “authority” in this context: traditional, bureaucratic, and charismatic. “Traditional” is, of course, the way things have always been done. Obviously, as the potential first female President of the United States, she doesn’t represent traditional authority. Indeed, she is prepared to make a basic change in the way that things were always done in the pas.

“Bureaucratic” refers to large systems, dealing with numerous people. It is evident that Hillary Clinton is well-versed in our state and federal systems of government. In order for anyone -- be it her or anyone else -- to institute meaningful reform in our system of government, they absolutely have to have a keen understanding of how it works. It simply cannot be otherwise.

Ms. Clinton does not have the charisma of a John F. Kennedy, a Bill Clinton, or a Barack Obama. That doesn’t mean that she is as ponderous a public presenter as, say, a Lyndon Johnson. Nor, for that matter, is she as slimy as Richard Nixon, as dull as Gerald Ford, as shallow as Ronald Reagan, or as giddy a compulsive liar as George W. Bush. She comes across as competent, well-informed, and experienced.

Although I thought it was an impressive speech, I still understand why many good Democrats and members of the Democratic Left do not support Hillary Clinton. I feel no need to discuss these at this time, as this is simply about my impressions of her speech today. Nor am I intending to join with the cheerleaders.

There is a stark difference between Ms. Clinton and any of the announced or unannounced republican candidates. I do not expect that any of them will attempt to debate the substance of her speech. Rather, they will rely upon the right-wing “press” to attack her for non-issues, such as her hair style or outfit. Considering the pathetic cast of characters their party has to offer, I suppose that is about all they’ve got.
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