Old America vs New America

June 14, 2008

Peggy Noonan writes an interesting analysis of this year’s presidential campaign. The first several paragraphs are just about difficulties Barack Obama and John McCain have had this week. But then she describes this year’s campaign as a contest between the Old America, represented by McCain, and the New America, represented by Obama.

“In the Old America, love of country was natural. You breathed it in. You either loved it or knew you should.

In the New America, love of country is a decision. It’s one you make after weighing the pros and cons. What you breathe in is skepticism and a heightened appreciation of the global view.

Old America: Tradition is a guide in human affairs. New America: Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique.”

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Two lefties running for president

June 6, 2008

Two southpaws, that is. I dislike using the term lefty as a political label, partly because I have most often heard it used in a derogatory sense (e.g. “loony lefty”), and also because the label – like any label – assumes that people fit in neat pigeonholes such as left and right.

It’s much easier to pigeonhole people by their “handedness,” of course. Most people are unabashedly and unalterably right-handed. Very few are truly ambidextrous. (There also are “mixed-handed” people who use one hand for some activities and the other hand for others, but as they are generally categorized by which hand they write with, there are no clear statistics as to how prevalent they are.)

Then there are us lefties – depending on whose statistics you go by, somewhere between 8% and 15% of the population. They make up a much higher percentage of recent presidents however – at least three of the last six, four if you count Reagan (some claim that he switched from left- to right-handed when he was young).

And as it seems highly unlikely that our 44th president will be anyone other than John McCain or Barack Obama, that will be one more lefty to add to the growing list. Naturally this is fueling renewed speculation as to why more lefties are ending up in the Oval Office.

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