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Some thoughts about Iraq, the election and gut decisions
I was reading Thomas Paine's Common Sense today (as we near election day, its always nice to revisit some of the classics that helped shape our nation) and a passage in said pamphlet struck me as being essential to why things just aren't working out in Iraq. In this passage, Paine is explaining why reconciliation with Britain is simply not possible given what had transpired between the colonies and the mother country. Paine felt that full independence was the only acceptable path forward, and here's more or less why:

"It is seldom that our first thoughts are truly correct, and that is the case here; for there are ten times more to dread from a patched up connection than from independence. I make the sufferers' case my own, and I protest, that were I driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, that as a man, sensible of injuries, I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound thereby."

The sober and striking clarity of this passage is particularly fascinating given our current clusterfuck of a government and media reality distortion field that is the American election cycle. Common Sense was first published in 1776, but the above text is just as relevant today for Iraq as it was then for the colonies that would go on to become the America we supposedly put first today. If one looks to Iraq and is puzzled by why we were not greeted as liberators, why the reconstruction is stalled and sputtering, then simply look at what one of our founding fathers had to say on such matters.

Even more striking and relevant to our modern dilemma, is his first line from the passage that states clearly, in a work of extreme intellect and not a small amount of bravado, that it is rare that our first thoughts, our first impressions, our gut reactions, are truly correct. That is not to say thin-slicing is not useful (read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink for a reasoned handling of trusting one's gut), but when matters are grave and do not require split-second decisions, a second look at the lay of the land can be of utmost importance.

Americans have spent the last 8 years watching a man of questionable intelligence spew out nonsensical gut decisions. We have spent the last 12 months watching one presidential candidate insult the intelligence of the the entirety of the American republic, and we've watched the other presidential candidate remain cool, calm, collected, and willing to take a step back, assess the lay of the land, and change direction when needed, and stay the course when warranted. Regardless of politics, simply looking at the mettle of each man, there is only one candidate with the character needed to handle what can only be described as a genuinely new American paradigm, and that person is Barack Obama.

Vote on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
(even if it is for McCain)
there is no better way to honor the sacrifice of our
fathers and mothers who willed this country into being.

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