Thursday, 31 January 2008

Thank you, John and Elizabeth Edwards, for Focusing on What Matters

“We, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.”

That’s the way John Edwards started his speech yesterday withdrawing from the US presidential race. “Thank you,” his website says today.

But I think the one who deserves thanks is John Edwards. As an example of tenacity in the service of principle, he has few current equals in public life. As an example of a couple that has emerged stronger from more than the usual travails of life, he and his wife Elizabeth have none.

Without Edwards around the discourse of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have skittered off into irrelevancies and clouds of fine words. He kept them focused on issues, which as Paul Krugman said on Monday, was his “great contribution to this campaign.” He added: “What the Democrats should do is get back to talking about issues…and about who is best prepared to push their agenda forward.

As Hansard—the official record of the Canadian House of Commons--would put it: Some honourable members: “Hear, hear.”


A Red Mind in a Blue State said...

What does the end of poverty look like?

John Edwards concluded his Presidential campaign yesterday, but not before securing pledges from Obama and Clinton that they would make the ending of poverty central to their presidential campaigns.

Regardless the road we choose to take, be it a conservative path or a liberal one-- at what point will we consider people out of poverty? Can somebody tell me. Not platitudes like "when every person is living in dignity and without fear" or some other claptrap. I can't measure that, and unless we figure out how to achieve some communistic land of perfection, where everyone is robotically equal, we will always have different strata in society. The poor will always be with us.

So, please somebody tell me-- What does the end of poverty look like?

Martin Langeland said...

When everyone has food sufficient in easy reach to avoid malnutrition and nutritional deficiency based illnesses; When every one has adequate shelter to temper the storms and other vagaries of weather; When everyone receives the medical care they need readily; when opportunities to learn are available to all who pursue them; when useful work is available to all who seek it; when the work of homemakers and caretakers is honored and valued as much as the work of factory or office hands and they all can hold their own in society compared with factory owners; Then a society might meet to discuss their position. Have they ended poverty? Or not? I think they have if they maintain a free vote to to change their society as their experience and intelligence prompt.
The outline of a free society without poverty is not hard to see. If one looks. Unless it is imperative to one's position not to see.

Martin Langeland said...

Another thought: If we achieve the material ends I mentioned in my previous comment, then, perhaps, we might better understand that the poor we have always with us are the poor in spirit -- not the poverty stricken in a world of plenty.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Excellent comments, Martin.

As for Red Mind in a Blue State, I suggest he (or she) read The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman, which outlines the ways in which the US has become more unequal in the last 30 years. This is a situation that must be addressed without getting caught up in rhetoric.