Friday, May 11, 2012

The Unanswered Question

Three of us... NTodd, karmanot and I... have been engaged in an extended discussion of the question "why should one vote for Obama," or in another version, "Name one reason you are going to vote for Obama."

Maybe it's just because I'm feeling old, tired, decrepit, sick and cranky today, but the whole discussion reminded me of this work by Charles Ives (which at least the Vermonter among us will know, and I'll wager karmanot knows it, too).

Which part is ours? The chattering woodwinds, of course! Increasingly agitated, more and more discordant, less coordinated. If you recall, Ives's question remains unanswered. Ours will presumably be answered on Election Day, with as many answers as there are voters for Mr. Obama.


  1. Another Vermonter! We lived in Bennington for four years before returning to CA a few years ago. And, yep there is something about that granity, self reliant, independent North East that lies at the bedrock of democracy. Voting for Obama has not come easily, but not voting and allowing a sociopath like Romney will only bring the destruction of this country sooner than later. One can make a case for anarchy and I still consider it. The test will come when I fill out my ballot,

  2. Apparently I'm just an Obot, so cannot appreciate the music.

  3. A perfect example of cognitive dissonance! Lighten up. Commentary here is play not personnel. When interpreting music it is always judicial to examine the foundation score. I'm sorry to have hurt your feelings. You must know what a pleasure it is to meet up with a sharp intellect.

  4. Piffle. I don't get hurt, I get snarky.

    And fuck woodwinds, sayeth this T'boner...

  5. Robert Heinlein, in one of his cranky Lazarus Long epistles, once said "If you can't vote for someone, vote against someone -- but vote." That's how I feel about the upcoming election. I haven't been overly impressed by the O-man, who has at best been tepid tea. But the Ayn Romneybot... dude. You really want to wake up the morning after election day to *that*?!

    - Badtux the Democracy Penguin

  6. Wow. An actual long and lively discussion across two threads on my blog... and I wasn't even here to appreciate it. Partner-driven social obligations and all that stuff...

    NTodd, I don't believe anyone called you an O-bot, though I don't have the other thread in front of me at the moment. Even when I disagree with you... which, face it, I don't, at least very much, here... I always perceive you as one of the brightest young men I know, knowledgeable in the particulars of the American tradition beyond any of my other friends, and they're a knowledgeable bunch. As to the music, Ives is not for everyone, and not for every day even for those of us who like his work. Northeasterners tend to appreciate him for where he lived, if nothing else.

    Ives was an insurance agent by day, inventing (among other things) estate planning, while by night he composed truly bizarre music... uniquely American music, often containing references to marching bands. A more creative spirit is seldom to be found in American history. But I cannot answer for any one person's reaction to his music... or to anyone's taste in instruments, as well over half my career was on woodwinds. At least you can admire the trumpet in this piece.

    karmanot, old friend, OT1H you are right when you say (on another thread) that neither ntodd nor I can fathom the experience of the prevailing hostility to gayness and to permanent gay relationships... de facto if not de jure marriages... in these dog-awful times. But I am more than a bit surprised at the vehemence of your earlier reaction (somewhat mitigated on this thread) to what ntodd said. You, too, have an incisive intellect and a righteous passion for human rights, however differently you may frame it from ntodd's way. You are also, IIRC, about twice his age.

    I hope you will give each other a break. You're both too good to waste energy scrapping. We all have work to do.

    And I'd better post this before I lose it to a third lightning strike in an hour...

  7. BadTux, you got that right! I don't want to wake up to a President‑Elect Rmoney the morning after Election Day. Shudder! I'm too old to pack up and leave, and too fragile to withstand even four years of what today's GOP would enforce on us. I didn't ask for this at the end of my life, and I'll be damned if I tolerate it quietly!

  8. An answer for you:

  9. I'm adjusting my meds! LOL The other day I yelled out when the fake thunderstorm and water mist at the Safeway produce bin startled me. As I turned around and saw in the the startled faces of other shoppers an angry old man, my heart melted.

  10. karmanot, I'll take that as an apology. You may want to address it to ntodd.

    ntodd, I was mistaken; you were in fact called an O-bot, point-blank. I am sorry. It is the nature of comment threads that even good people get carried away sometimes.

  11. Both of you, let me clarify if possible. karmanot, you have known me online a pretty long time. ntodd, you have known me online even longer. Both of you have more than earned the right to be snarky with me, to take positions for the sake of argument, to debate matters of principle and matters of purported fact. But apparently the two of you have just now met on my threads. There is no history that would provide context for any astringency between the two of you as there is between you and me, ntodd, or you and me, karmanot.

    I hope you will both stand down before this unfortunate turn of conversation becomes political combat. You are both too valuable as members of the left-leaning American community to waste energy fighting each other.

    karmanot, I hope you will acknowledge my assertion that ntodd knows more deep American history and American philosophy than you and me put together. He is by inclination and (apparently) self-education a genuine expert on the founding of our nation and the outlooks of our founders. Yes, he supported Obama in 2008. So did I, for that matter. Only ntodd can tell you his reasons, and I believe he is trying to do that.

    I don't mean to say "let's make nice, gentlemen," but I do hope the exchange henceforth is more substantive and less personal. Thank you both.



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