Saturday, November 22, 2008

For Recovering Election Obsessives (and Philosophy Geeks)

Nearly three weeks after the election, those of us who spent the previous six months obsessing over polls, voter registration drives and Electoral Colllege projections realize we now have no idea what to do with our time.

To comfort my fellow wanderers in this existential void--and as a belated tip of the hat to World Philosophy Day--here are a couple of campaign ads to while away a few minutes in our now empty, endless days:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

As a new administration prepares to take over, it's important to maintain some perspective. The people of the U.S. (and the world) have a lot of expectations that Obama and his team cannot possibly live up to. Indeed Barak & Co. have already begun to disappoint: the Financial Times thinks his economic team is too old.

This will go much easier for all of us if we do something we're not used to: empathizing with Washington. The people who run the country are human beings, and like us, they make mistakes.

Try this little thought experiment and you'll how much you have in common with the U.S. civil and military establishment:

We've all told lies. Maybe we've embellished a story to make it more amusing, exaggerated how far along we were with a project at work, told a white lie to avoid some trouble. Well, like us, people working for the government sometimes lie to get what they want.

Sometimes we don't manage our money all that well. Maybe a shopping spree adds up to a bigger credit balance than we expected. Some necessary car repairs add up to a surprisingly huge bill. It's a feeling the federal government knows all too well.

We all lose things. I lose my gym ID all the time. The other day I couldn't find my car keys. Well guess what, the military loses things. Sometimes for a really long time.

See? Those guys in the CIA, the cabinet, the Pentagon. They're just like us. People we can sit down and have a beer with.

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