Monday, May 26, 2008

What I Meant to Say

If things go as planned, this week will feature TWO blog entries and bring the total number to an even 100. Thanks again to our younger son for suggesting this format of self expression, which has saved me many times from zeroing in on my spouse's forehead as a place to bounce opinions into thin air. And if I may be permitted a single vain question, does anyone have a favorite entry over these almost two years of blogging? I might mention mine if I get around to it.
But first, it's back to the campaign. If I concentrated on the twists and turns that seem to happen every week in this year's presidential race, I'd be writing about nothing else, and I'm told that wouldn't be so great. So, do you know who Keith Olbermann is? He was once a pretty well-known sports guy, but has since morphed into a fire-breathing commentator on MS-NBC who's famous for loud, serious, in-your-face rants which go for several minutes, usually aimed either at President Bush or neocon FOX NEWS bully Bill O'Reilly.
This weekend he crossed the aisle to take on Senator Hillary Clinton for once again bringing up the subject of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination almost precisely 40 years after it happened, and in the same week that Senator Ted Kennedy received a grave medical diagnosis of his own.
Clinton's explanation seems at first to match pretty well with the video footage, given before bigshots at a newspaper in South Dakota, if that's not a contradiction in itself. Her point was something like "Well, lots of important things in campaigns have happened in June. My husband didn't wrap up his first nomination until June. Then we remember Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June...' as she ticked off the reasons to NOT give up her campaign.
On the other hand, the following must be noted: This was not her first offhand mention of the RFK death, she is certainly accustomed to a microphone picking up every word she says by now, mentioning such a horrible possibility when her opponent, a black man, has already endured plenty of death threats seems to almost invite such an attempt, to say nothing of such a mention simply being in bad taste, as Americans try to get over a long string of actual and attempted assassinations which go back to before Lincoln and carry into the very recent past.
Mrs. Clinton quickly apologized, though it must be said that it was one of those not-very-sincere apologies that start with the word "if", and end without the words that let you know the offender is truly sorry. Senator Obama, not anxious to create a new issue when he is within arm's length of the Party nomination, accepted her explanation.
What were her true thoughts as the electrical impulses streaked from her brain to her lips and tongue? That, I believe is almost unknowable, perhaps even to the Senator herself. But I do recall making a comment in this space a few months ago to the effect that people who are very thick-skinned when criticism is sent their way may also be slow to recognize when offense is given, and slow to see another's pain. Perhaps deep in her consciousness may be a feeling that goes something like this: "Oh, come on. You think he's the only one in this race to have to duck an insult or deal with unfair treatment? I've been dealing with things in the public square that would bring down an African elephant if they were weapons. He's not taking me out of this race. I belong here, and he's just going to have to deal with it. Think Rove and those guys from the GOP will get out of his way without being taken out one way or another? Think again, friend." It seems a bit ironic that we're speaking of someone who's the wife of the guy who made us think "I FEEL your pain."


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