The only winning vote I ever cast -- 06/14/04

One of the reasons -- besides being busy and working and fixing dinner and various things of that nature -- that I don't seem to post entries here as often as I would like to, is that I do read a lot of blogs and journals and such on the Internet. And then they may have a link to something interesting and someone posts an interesting comment on that site and I click on a link to their homepage and then.... and then sometimes I can't resist leaving a comment of my own. And sometimes that ends it and other times I end up in extended discussions in the comments sections of various blogs...

And then I end up with no time to write something on my own site...


I guess we are stuck with these twenty-four hour days, right?

So earlier today I stopped by Winds of Change and they had a link to a posting on The Glittering Eye about how some of the commentaries in the coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral were very strange.

So I left the following comment:

I was watching the Today show one morning last week -- they wereshowing a tape of Michael Gorbachev in Washington to pay his lastrespects to President Reagan and the voice-over announcer identifiedhim as "Michael Gorbachev who, with Ronald Reagan, was instrumental inending the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union."

Oh. Really -- "instrumental in ending the Cold War" -- oh yes, "withRonald Reagan" -- so good that the minor assistance President Reagangave to the noble and heroic Mr. Gorbachev was mentioned.

What about "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"? Into the Memory Hole I suppose.

And that was something I had thought about mentioning here.

It's true -- that is what the reporter actually said. This leads to one of two uncomfortable assumptions: either he was so abysmally ignorant of the international situation and the history of the Cold War that he thought that was an accurate description or he knew exactly what he was saying and deliberately slanted what he was saying. Either way, it does not paint a very flattering picture of the quality of the major media coverage of just about anything of any importance, does it?

Now, I happen to be someone who liked some of Reagan's key policies (and disapproved of others, quite strongly in some instances) and in 1980 I did not vote for him for president. No, I didn't vote for Carter, either -- he had already had four years to prove that he might have been bright guy but he was utterly incompetent as president. Yep, I voted for Anderson.

(I had failed to vote for the winner in 1964 and 1968 and 1972 -- in 1976 I was not eligible to vote -- I had moved at the beginning of September and was just pulling into the parking lot at work when I heard the announcer on my car radio say that "today is the last day to register for the coming presidential election" -- and since I had moved to a different election district, I was out of luck. At any rate, it was entirely in keeping with my tradition to vote for a losing candidate in 1980.)

For a long time I had been upset with the concept of MAD -- Mutual Assured Destruction -- the concept that there would not be war between the United States and the Soviet Union because both sides had so many nuclear weapons that neither side could have a credible total first strike capability; that is, no matter which side started a nuclear war, even with a surprise attack, the other side would have sufficient surviving capability to destroy the aggressor. Well, that's nice for intellectuals and theorists to get all bubbly and excited about for the pure theoretical beauty of it or something, but as a human being with a family, I thought it was a horrible concept. The basic reason human beings (in my opinion) put up with government in the first place is for protection. And here was our government, the one busy sucking up a good chunk of my salary in taxation, the very organization whose justification for existence was to protect me, and they were saying it was a good thing that the Russians could destroy us because that would make the Russians more relaxed.

Uh, did not compute for me. What would happen the day the Soviet Union decided that it could get away with a sneak attack, that they had a good enough first strike capacity to take us out so thoroughly that we would not be able to mount a credible retaliatory strike. What about China? What about a Sino-Soviet war and the loser (or the winner) decides to toss a few (or a few dozen) missiles our way? What about another country getting a few missiles -- not hundreds, just a few.

Reagan was the first president to propose a way out of MAD -- the development of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. There were those who argued against it, but their opposition tended to be so strident that they merely convinced me that they were against it first for political reasons (support of MAD) and that their position came first and then they thought up arguments to support their position. (One of their key points was that it wouldn't be perfect. Duh! So what. Even fifty-percent would save tens of millions of lives -- and would be further reason not to risk a first strike because it guaranteed that it could not succeed.)

So in 1984 -- a date with Orwellian portent -- I voted for Ronald Reagan because of his proposed strategic defense initiative. And also, along with that, because he was breaking away from that miserable Nixon-Kissinger-Carter defeatism -- Kissinger believed that the Soviet Union would win in the long run; he was merely trying to get the best terms. Imagine that... a president who believed the United States was better than the Soviet Union.

Thus, I broke my streak of always voting for a losing candidate. (Never fear, however -- I have not repeated that act since then, having voted for losing candidates in 1988 and 1992 and 1996 and 2000.)

So I have been thinking writing about why I mistrust the media (perhaps in the next week or so).

C'mon, think about it... ignore, for a moment, political considerations... and just think about when something you really knew about was featured in a news story. Did they get it right? I can think of a time when I was involved in teachers' union activities and... well, not tonight, it's getting too late and this is too long an entry already... maybe in a few days...

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