The Thinking 

Two Salesmen Debate

October 4, 2012


THERE WERE moments during last night’s presidential debate when I felt like I was watching two insurance salesmen selling their policies, down to all the boring and technical minor clauses. When they were talking about health care, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one pulled out an X-ray and said, “You see, if you break a bone right there, you will get $4,000 for rehab.” That’s what the presidential election has become, a matter of who has the best deal.

I thought Romney was terrific, as far as that format goes. He was energetic, passionate and in total command of his material. But, except for a few brief moments, he was not inspiring. But then he couldn’t be inspiring, unless he possessed extraordinary courage. That would involve answering the questions, “Who are we? Are we a people?” These are questions entirely off limits in our Tower of Babel.

Most people don’t really care about money more than anything. Most people can even endure significant hardship for the sake of some greater good. But most people can easily be whipped up into an obsession with money by politicians who cannot sound themes of grandeur and collective destiny because that would involve addressing those vital questions, “Who are we? Are we a people?” That would involve answering the second of those questions in the affirmative. If we are not a people, there really isn’t much to say, is there? Might as well focus on those technicalities.

Neither of the two candidates dared to say that even people who are unemployed and undergoing terrible disappointment might have a reason for hope and courage because they are part of some greater good.

Here’s a relevant comment from Pilgrim’s Pride at The Americanist:

There was a time, not so very long ago, when “America” meant something more than grabbing as much money however you can.

It meant a people, united by blood, history and destiny, living together on this empty, dangerous continent so that they could live in Liberty to worship and glorify their God the best they could.

Somewhere along the line, it mutated into the love of money, which is the root of all evil.

—- Comments —-

Karen I. writes:

You say that “most people really do not care for money more than anything.” Unfortunately, I find that people without religion really do love money more than anything. They have nothing else. I think the younger generations, which consist of many people raised without any religion at all, worship possessions. I do not mean this as a criticism, as they don’t know any better.

In an ideal world, people would be willing to endure hardship for a greater good. We can learn from hardship and sacrifice. But, even that opportunity has largely been removed by our government, thanks to the vast system of entitlements that protect those who make poor choices from ever having to deal with the consequences of those choices. Of course, the entitlements also protect those who have, through no fault of their own, fallen on hard times. But, when an unmarried woman can choose to have any number of children with any number of men, and in return receive steeply reduced rents thanks to HUD, free medical insurance from Medicaid, free food from food stamps and school lunches, cash assistance, etc., the severe hardship that would normally occur because of such choices is greatly reduced by the government’s “help.”

There is no incentive for marriage, but plenty of disincentive in the lower classes. That is due to the government help they are receiving. When people say they can’t afford to get married, they aren’t saying they can’t afford the ceremony, which costs less than $100 at the local courthouse or town hall. What they are saying is they can’t afford to lose the entitlements given to single mothers, who find it more profitable to cohabitate. Is it any surprise that nearly half of all births are out of wedlock? Of course people like that watch the debate and look for who will give them more. The government doles out what they need to get through the day. If the entitlements go away, what will become of them? By basing their vote on who gives them more, they are doing what any good consumer would, and shopping for the best deal. It is not the best deal for the country, but that is not their priority.

Terry Morris writes:

Laura wrote: “But then he couldn’t be inspiring, unless he possessed extraordinary courage. That would involve answering the questions, “Who are we?,” “Are we a people?”

Might I add to that the following related questions?: “What of our governing Constitution?,” “Does it mean anything?”

Although Romney did mention the tenth amendment with regard to “Obamacare” on two separate occasions, he could not say that the Affordable Care Act is “unconstitutional” because for him to have done so would require an explanation for why he differs from the all-knowing U.S. Supreme Court on the issues of constitutional interpretation and federal control of health care. Which, as you say, would require an extraordinary amount of courage on Mr. Romney’s part.

So we got what we got. Which I admit is better than I expected.

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