Saturday, September 06, 2008

Obama Cries "Mercy"

We had a bully or two in my eighth grade more than half a lifetime ago, guys who were bigger and stronger and meaner than most, and ill-tempered. To get their way among their classmates or those younger, they used intimidation when possible, force when necessary. There were two ways other students could respond to Mike and Tim: win a fight with one of them, or cry "Mercy" loud enough for all around to hear. Those who fought were not bothered further, while those who caved would have to go through it all over again and again.

Yesterday, while enjoying a $30,000 per plate lunch with 100 of his working class friends at Bon Jovi's house, Barack Obama made a few comments to his companions before sitting down to the delicious arugula salad. He prompted my memories of Mike and Tim swaggering through St. Elizabeth's playground when he promised his audience, "We're not going to be bullied!"

The senator is reputed to be quite a wordsmith and a speaker without peer, but what kind of candidate, what sort of president promises not to be bullied? For Pete's sake, his election opponents are a 72-year man who can't lift his arms above his own shoulders and a 44-year old mother of five. He's a Chicago pol, the leader of the largest political party in the country, his wife is forged steel and he's surrounded 24/7 by Secret Service agents.

"We're not going to be bullied."
Not exactly the language of a profile in courage.

If there are no deeds, then man must live or die by his words alone.

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