Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oh, the Wonder of the Mainstream Media

Much has been written on the appalling debate last week between Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, so I will be relatively brief. First, I will admit that there is a problem in structuring a debate between the two of them, since the differences in their positions are so minute as to be undetectable in most cases. And those minor differences have been done to death. But does that mean that the "moderators" should move on to examine such weighty topics as Jeremiah Wright, Clinton's sniper moment and Obama's failure to feature a flag pin? These weren't even interesting. I mean, I'd much rather hear about how the candidates choose their clothing for various public events, what colors each thinks the other should wear, and the respective costs of tailoring off-the-rack versus custom-made.

Now I do wish that the press would get off the Jeremiah Wright issue, which seems to have been entirely created by Fox News. What entity other than Fox News would actually suggest that the United Church of Christ is a cult? The Congregationalists are about as far from a cult as a religion can get--Congregationalists are one step up from Unitarians ferhevensake. Don't these people ready anything? Oops. Fox News. Reading. Sorry.

(What's most interesting about Trinity, in fact, is that the church actively embraces African and African-American religious practice. Traditionally African-American Congregationalists have been middle class with a vengeance, distinguishing themselves from Baptist and AME congregations, for instance, by sedate and proper religious observance. While the Trinity congregation does look very middle class, its practices would be at home in any African-American religious service. Now that would be an interesting topic and Barack Obama's comments on that topic would tell us a lot more about him than interrogating him about flag pins.)

But probably the most useful debate would have been one centered on the extent to which their proposals are identical to the proposals made by Republicans. While there are some differences--health care comes to mind--on many issues they agree with the Republican consensus, a consensus that does little for the majority of the American population.

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