End of the Line

I had one of my recurring dreams last night. I’m in college, and it’s finals week. All of a sudden, I remember I’ve been enrolled in a class that I forgot I was in about the third week of the semester, and my final is coming up. The stuff of the dream never includes the final itself or anything like that; it’s always just the anxiety that comes from having to explain myself when I show up to take the test.

I watched the first presidential debate last night, and if the rumor is true that Nader is off the Georgia ballot, I suppose I could vote for John Kerry. I actually found things out about his policy proposals last night. From Bush I found out that questions not leading naturally to recitations of the party line are ignored so that Bush can recite the party line. But then again, I know that pretty well from the scant press conferences he’s done over the years. I was trying hard not to focus on body language so that I could hear what the candidates were saying, but Bush’s smirk will not be ignored. When asked whether he lied to get his invasion of Iraq, he smirked as he denied knowing any better. When asked which pre-emptive war will be next, he smirked as he claimed to hope that there would be no need for any more. When asked to account for the deaths that the Iraqi invasion has caused, he smirked as he claimed that every life is precious. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but when asked questions that confused him (this happened a couple times), the smirk disappeared instantly. Likewise, when Kerry was calling his policies into question, he traded the smirk for his “he took my candy” look. I’ll be in substitute teacher training during debate number two, but I might have Mary tape it for me.

Niebuhr’s book continues to impress. Again, I think that some of his categories are too dependent on the categories of nation-state and modern church, but his descriptive power is nonetheless impressive. If I can pull a political thread away from the trolls for a little bit (and this close to an election!), I think that a discussion of his work would be quite good.

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