There are some very serious issues at stake in this year's election — so many that some people may not be able to see the forest for the trees. Individual issues are the trees, but the forest is the future of America as we have known it.
The America that has flourished for more than two centuries is being quietly but steadily dismantled by the Obama administration, during the process of dealing with particular issues.
Books about the history of Harlem have long fascinated me — my favorite being When Harlem Was in Vogue by David Levering Lewis. However, a more recent book, titled simply Harlem by Jonathan Gill, presents a more comprehensive history — going all the way back to the time when the Dutch were the first settlers of New York, and named that area for the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands.
It has long seemed to me that there is far more rationality in sports, and in commentaries on sports, than there is in politics and in commentaries on politics. What has puzzled me is why this is so, when what happens in politics has far more serious effects on people's lives.
Perhaps the biggest lie of this election year, and the one likely to be repeated the most often, is that the income of "the rich" is going up, while other people's incomes are going down. If you listen to Barack Obama, you are bound to hear this lie repeatedly.
Even squirrels know enough to store nuts, so that they will have something to eat when food gets scarce. But the welfare state has spawned a whole class of people who spend everything they get when times are good, and look to others to provide for their food and other basic needs when times turn bad.
Since so many in the media cannot resist turning every tragedy into a political talking point, it was perhaps inevitable that (1) someone would try to link the shooting rampage at the Batman movie in Colorado to the Tea Party, and that (2) some would try to make it a reason to impose more gun control laws.
Barack Obama's great rhetorical gifts include the ability to make the absurd sound not only plausible, but inspiring and profound.
His latest verbal triumph was to say on July 13th, "if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own." As an example, "Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Did the taxpayers, including business taxpayers, not pay for that road when it was built? Why should they have to pay for it twice?
There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well. Somewhere along the way, all that changed. Today, the very concept of achievement is de-emphasized and sometimes attacked. Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard has made the downgrading of high achievers the centerpiece of her election campaign against Senator Scott Brown.
In the middle of the 20th century, Sri Lanka had a level of mutual respect and even friendship between its majority and minority communities that was rightly held up to the world as a model. Yet this situation degenerated over the years into polarization and violence that escalated into a civil war that lasted for decades, with unspeakable atrocities on both sides.
All it took were clever demagogues and gullible followers. We already have both. What it will take to nip in the bud the small but widely spreading race riots will be some serious leadership in many quarters and that rarest of all things in politics, honesty.
On CNN's program The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, commentator Gloria Borger said, "if you're going to lower the tax rates, where are you going to get the money from?" First of all, nobody is talking about lowering the tax rates. They are talking about whether or not to continue the existing tax rates, which are set to expire after a temporary extension. And Obama is talking about raising the tax rate on higher income earners.
But when Ms. Borger asked, "where are you going to get the money from?" if you don't raise tax rates, that assumes an automatic correlation between tax rates and tax revenues, which is demonstrably false.