Related: Economy, Politics, Social Issues

Rhetoric, Reality, Responsibility


The world is in economic chaos and the candidates for president of the United States, and their surrogates, are talking about who’s friends with whom, like some schoolyard scorecard. At rallies, some candidate supporters who are ardently pro-life are screaming “kill him” about the opponent, while pacifist supporters of the other side spew venemous obscenities.

None of this looks like the kind of democracy in action that we expect the rest of the world to exemplify.

To his credit, Senator McCain pushed back at a rally the other day when his supporters went over the line in attacking Senator Obama.  For McCain’s effort, he was booed by his own fans.   But in reality, the candidate has to take some responsibility for the way in which his campaign has whipped-up hateful, irresponsible rhetoric.

Senator Obama’s supporters are also engaging in overheated rhetoric, making accusations about the McCain/Palin ticket that enrage emotions while doing little to address the profoundly serious issues we face as a nation.

Both sides need to cool it.   Both candidates need to demonstrate the kind of leadership we need to see in them by leading their followers to a more civil place.

So much is at stake at this moment in American and world history.  We can ill afford a single minute of mud-slinging name-calling race-baiting gutter-minded rhetoric.   Nobody should cast a vote on the basis of the kinds of lies, rumors, innuendoes, personal slurs and shameful mischaracterizations that have become the vocabulary of too many campaign supporters on both sides, including some of the names on the tickets.

The candidates, their running mates, their TV ads, their rallies and their running discourse should only be about one kind of rhetoric:   the rhetoric of responsibile solutions to the economic, social, educational, security and international relations challenges of the United States and the global community.   There are so many problems that will confront the next president; so there’s no time or breath to waste in defining the solutions that each candidate will offer as we make our choices on November 4.

See E.J. Dionne in today’s Washington Post

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
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