Monday, October 13, 2008

You want the guy who gave him those scars

Hope you had a great weekend. At this end, we built two succahs, one at home and the other at our synagogue (the first alone, the second with lots and lots of help). I'm also hoping the gains on the stock market today will be the start of something, not just a blip.

Succahs are temporary dwellings that observant Jews eat in, and some actually live in, during the holiday of Succos. The Torah commands us to dwell in these temporary structures for the eight-day holiday. 

It's a lot easier these days to build because of kits that resemble Erector sets. In the not-so-distant past, it was boards and nails or screws. In any case, it's a happy holiday after the somber and scary Yom Kippur. It's a feast, not a fast. 

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Three weeks from tomorrow is Election Day and it seems that Sen. Barack Obama's lead is growing. Even Bill Kristol, the super-Conservative columnist and publisher, calls on Sen. John McCain to fire his staff and appeal to the voters on his own.

The antics of Gov. Sarah Palin and McCain's wife, Cindy, have proven embarrassing to the candidate, with people calling for a lynching and even beating up a cameraman because he is black. 

McCain sells himself as a former serviceman, a naval officer who was shot down over North Vietnam and spent years as a prisoner of war.

About that, let me share a thought.

Do you remember the movie, "The Magnificent Seven", a 1960 film starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. It's probably best known for its theme music, which was used to sell Marlboro cigarettes for years. 

The movie centers around a Mexican village that is being repeatedly robbed by a bandits. Some villagers come north to the U.S. to hire gunmen to fight the bandits. 

The scene is in a cantina, a bar, where the two newly hired gunmen and the villagers are seated at a table, looking around at more prospective hires among the patrons. A guy walks in, scowling like the others, with scars lining his face. 

One villager points him out, saying he looks tough with those scars.

The villager leaders says no. "The one we want is the man who gave him those scars," he says, with knowing nods from our heroes.

Doesn't that translate into the current election? McCain got shot down bombing Hanoi. Isn't the real expert in the military the guy who bombed Hanoi but didn't get shot down?

I know McCain has other qualities, but he's constantly yapping about winning the war in Iraq, a war that even Scott McClellan, President Bush's former drum beater, says was sold to the American people with a pack of lies, innuendo and distortions. 

The philosopher Jorge (George) Santayana said. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 

I remember the Vietnam war and how many service members were unnecessarily killed because presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon were holding out first for victory and, when that became impossible, for peace with honor. We got neither, just hundreds if not thousands of unnecessary casualties. 

We don't know if victory in Iraq is possible or even what it would look like. We need to get out of that quagmire as soon as possible without doing any more damage to the region. George Bush was a nut on freedom and liberty for everybody. Not everybody is ready for that.

The hate-mongering that passes for campaign strategy in the McCain camp has to end. I think McCain is better than that and he needs to bring his attack dogs to heel. 

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The next couple of days are a holiday and there will be no blogging from this end. For those in the Tribe, a wonderful, happy Succos. For the rest of us, let's hope cooler heads prevail on Wall Street and that the economy starts its long road back to sanity.

Until next time...

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