In my post “Can you think?” http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/10/can-you-think.html
5) How often have you listened to two sides of an issue and concluded that you agreed with someone you disliked and disagreed with someone you liked?
Perhaps I should have added a variation on that: How often have you had to admit that a point you agreed with was being made in a way you found highly offensive?
See also “AYERheads” http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2006/12/aeyrheads.html
Symptom of the Achingly Earnest Young Radical #4: 4) It is a betrayal of the Truth to fail to state it in any but the most offensive way possible.
Gloria Steinem has gone and pissed a lot of people off and forced the Hillary campaign to disavow her.
Apparently she commented on John McCain’s ordeal in a North Vietnamese prison in a flippant, offensive and utterly uncalled-for way, as not qualifying him for the presidency.
First let me say, I have no respect for Steinem at all. I have always found her to be an intellectual lightweight, incredibly pretentious, self-serving and more than just a bit phony.
Furthermore, though I do not agree with McCain’s politics and find him to be self-rightious and rather full of himself, I have the highest respect for his courage, fortitude and honor. (In the military context, I don’t much respect some of the things he’s done in the political arena – that’s where the self-rightious thing comes in.)
So it pains me to say it, but Steinem’s right.
Some years ago, during a time when one of the current slogans was “You’re old enought to die for your country but not old enough to vote,” John W. Campbell* pointed out that the virtues required for these two functions were different, and not much related.
Leadership on the highest levels requires mature judgement, something not often found in young men. Which is why young soldiers are put under the direction of old sergeants.
Surviving captivity and torture require courage, fortitude, stubborness and… virtues I cannot guess and hope never to have to.
But they are not necessarily congruent with the qualities of a civilian leader, which may be why we don’t often see successful military men become successful statesmen.**
Hillary could have responded calmly and rationally, denouncing Stenem’s rudeness while affirming the point in a dignified and respectful way. And that would have been a sign of good leadership qualities.
But that didn’t happen. We don’t have any candidate that is leadership material, period.
We’ll be OK though. I hope.
“A strong people need no leaders.” – Emiliano Zapata
(Of course, look what happen to him – and Mexico.)
*Editor of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine for decades and more than any other man, creator of modern SF.
**At the founding of our country we got lucky in having George Washington, who was competent at both. If it had been otherwise…