Evil, President Romney, and my daughter’s future

Mitt Romney’s hard right swing makes it difficult for me to ascertain what his real values are.

First, Chris, in answer to my answer, writes:

You bring up Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears. However, my husband is studying for a military exam, and the honors that his company won during the “Indian Wars” is considered part of their venerable history… And then I think of Hitler and Genghis Khan and I wonder, were they genuinely trying to do good by their own?

This is why I picked him over the more obvious choice such as Hitler. History, at least the history most of us have read, has already assigned Hitler with the “evil” mantle; he doesn’t need me. Whereas Jackson’s place in history is a more of mixed bag. I have an ex who could talk your ear off (probably not literally, though I’m not sure) on the topic. I would submit that GWB’s war in Iraq may have been – OK, probably was, in his mind – initiated by “trying to do good” for his own people; didn’t make it right. I daresay most ethnic cleansing is done to “protect” one group from “the other” (see: Rwanda or Yugoslavia in the 1990s for recent examples). Whether the “good intentions” of mass murder are relevant inevitably will be written by the historians.

Maybe a better question is “What do you consider evil?” What is good and what is evil, really?

I defer to Potter Stewart, who famously said, concerning pornography, that he knows it when he sees it. I do agree, for example, with the sentiment in the article Condemning foreign governments for abusive acts while ignoring one’s own is easy. But the U.S. leads the way.

American slavery was evil, and you had good Christian people defending it at the time, though almost no one does now. People in the US North who were involved in the “triangular trade” at the time seemed to be oblivious to their role in the “peculiar institution.”

Not incidentally, I wouldn’t argue against your notion that this “American life” is supported by a modern-day form of slavery and exploitation, which is, however, much harder to see, though some of us do try.

Jaquandor of Byzantium Shores provokes me:

At the risk of provoking a more political post than you might wish…

Almost certainly true, BTW.

how bad do you think a Romney presidency might be? (I, as you might suspect, think it would be an absolute train wreck that might make us pine for the days of George W. Bush.)

Here’s the thing: I don’t know. His hard-right swing makes it difficult for me to ascertain what his real values are. I’m not a big fan of pointing to “flip-flopping” when a person’s view on life has changed over time; I know mine has. But Romney would contradict himself and even lie about his position from weeks earlier during this campaign. And I don’t remember him doing that during the 2008 race.

Let me go wildly optimist: Maybe he really is that guy who was the Massachusetts governor who could manage to have some sort of health care plan that would be palatable to Republicans.


I believe that he would expand on the covert military actions that both GWB and Obama have overused; difficult to put that genie back into the bottle.

I believe he, with Republicans, will dismantle regulations pertaining to banking (such as they are) and the environment. I expect that the pipeline from Canada, which Obama has partially resisted, will be expedited, and a massive catastrophe will ensue.

I believe, if the Republicans still control the House, that there will be pushes to go into either Syria or Iran (or Lord help us, both), to terrible outcomes.

I believe that not only does the divide between the rich and poor increase, but there will be hunger in America with a safety net that has been rendered totally inadequate, so apparent that there will be demonstrations a lot more confrontational than Occupy has initiated to date. To Chris’ question about evil: some of it, at least, is all that Biblical stuff about NOT feeding the hungry, NOT clothing the naked.

What’s a movie or book that you were convinced you would hate and ended up liking a good deal?

Any number of movies billed as raunchy but I liked anyway, such as 40-Year-Old Virgin, and, to a lesser extent, Knocked Up. Dolphin Tale, which I saw with The Wife and The Daughter, I thought wasn’t awful, and Ramona and Beezus, which I saw with the Daughter, I rather liked. I actually did try to read The Bridges of Madison County, but just couldn’t, yet I liked the movie. But, in general, I go to a movie EXPECTING to like it; sometimes I don’t, but I have my anticipation.

Even more true, I just don’t read books I don’t expect to like. Well, when I was in my church book group at my former church, from about 1986 to 1995, we would read from various genres; that’s how I read Margaret Atwood, which I didn’t expect to like, but I did.

Are there any careers you’d like to see your daughter pursue? Or, on the flip side, any careers you would be deeply troubled to see her pursuing?

To the former, no. I’m REALLY TRYING to give her room to figure out her path. Although she could do worse than to be a librarian or teacher. There COULD be a parental bias here, however. She is starting to write stories, and while I would not wish a writer’s life on her – full of rejection – I’m happy about the learning aspect of her activity, at least. She likes to dance, and I don’t know whether that is a career path she’ll want or not. Maybe she’ll be a pastor; that was my dream when I was about 10 to 15.

But I wouldn’t want her to be a politician, because I just think it’s too brutal, with candidates decided upon with too much superficiality.