The Infinite Carpet of Public Opinion

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/opinion/10kristof.html

OP-ED COLUMNIST
A Modest Proposal: A King and Queen for America
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: June 9, 2010

The national campaign to get President Obama to emote, throw crockery at oil executives and jump up and down in fury has failed. But here’s a long-term solution: Let’s anoint a king and queen.

William: Do you honestly believe that Americans could possibly be pleased with any leader? Tell me which president in the past 60 years has been most popular and why. It is the American public which is gullible enough to elect several actors to high office. The American public watches one or two educational channels and twenty to thirty Reality/Judge Judy type shows. Can you (or anyone) honestly look me in the eye with a straight face and tell me that McCain or Palin are worthy of any high office, intellectually or morally?

Melissa: You have a point, but NK’s point is that having a ceremonial post would make it easier for the president to get the job done. And IMHO, the fury about Obama not acting emotional enough is fury that the media isn’t getting a ratings boost from an Obaman display of emotion.

William: Public opinion is like an infinite carpet with wrinkles in it. No matter hard you try to smooth them out, they merely move somewhere else. One might say there is a mathematical necessity, and Aristotelian “anangke” behind this phenomenon. The IBM OS mainframe operating system was considered in it’s day to be the most complex of human creations it consistently had about 1000 “bugs” similar to our infinite carpet of public opinion with its wrinkles. America is always looking for someone or something to blame its shortcomings and failures on. Will America ever come out of denial and realize that it is we as a people, as a culture, who are a failure and furthermore who are irredeemable. The tastelessness of our media is a reflection of the consumer public’s lack of taste and discrimination? Lincoln supposedly said something about “you can please some of the people all of the time and you can please all of the people some of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.” If our legislature were really smart (and they are not) they would amend the Constitution with something similar to term limits to guard against one family getting into a position of power for a century, grooming sons as governors, running wives for office when their own term limits run out, etc. Our ancestors came to the New World presumably to escape the tyranny of monarchs, royal families and class distinctions.

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