Monday, September 27, 2010


Today remains Sunday, 26 September 2010.

What was the political significance of the introduction of the first televised Presidential debate, Kennedy v. Nixon, this date 50 years ago?

Essentially none, other than that many people were deceived into imagining that it had some significance.

These affairs are never actual debates, in the sense of the candidates going after one other’s ideas and values hammer-and-tongs on a meaningful level. They’re merely live political commercials delivered simultaneously from a single venue. More bread-and-circuses to flimflam the masses.

That first debate had a great personal political significance for me, however.

The next evening, my sister and I and other kids were playing on the sidewalk in front of our house, in the small town of Vestal, on the Susquehanna River, in the Southern Tier of New York. My sister was driving our little red pedal-car, a fire truck. I heard a neighbor mother say to my mother, “What do you think of Kennedy on The Cold War?” At that moment, everything I’d learned on the subject crystallized in my mind in a frightening gestalt, as I truly comprehended, for the first time, with great existential dread, that, were The Cold War to turn nuclear hot, I and my family and friends and most of the people in the world could be, after a single moment of faulty and regrettable decision, dead in a few hours.

This understanding has never left me, indeed, has only deepened and matured with time, and been one of the great influences and informants of my life. The realization that, sadly, one of the things that it means to be human, is that we are so capable of being engines of our own mass destruction.

Humanity, crown of creation.

“O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”


Anonymous x said...


10:01 AM  
Blogger HH said...

I appreciate economy of expression, but mayhap this is a tad cryptic.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous x said...

Off subject -

Please comment on Tom Coburn, Jim Inhoff, and the C Street religious group.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous HH said...

Will do. Let me re-read "Frat House for Jesus".

9:02 AM  

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