Critical Thinking Is The New Black

    Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.
    --- Henry Ford

The firestorm that has erupted on the airwaves since John McCain chose Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate has members of the punditocracy spitting fire. I've never been a big fan of television commentators, especially political ones, but this latest wave of hysteria that is currently filling practically every news channel has pushed my distaste to full blown disgust.

Critical thinking seems to be in short supply these days.

Have we become so fragmented in our thinking that we have forgotten that we can only put new information into the proper context if we are constantly reevaluating the big picture we are trying to fit it into at the same time?

In spite of all the titillating new information that has hit the internet about Sarah Palin the last few days, in spite of all the adulation that Barack Obama's acceptance speech garnered, in spite of all the importance put on signals from Hillary Clinton to her die hard supporters , or pronouncements from Bill Clinton about the nominees "readiness", there is only one thing that will determine who the next president of the United States is - voter turnout.

The reactionary style of thinking practiced by today's punditocracy is as outdated as the rayon shirts we wore back in the 70's, as funny sounding as the shirts were funny looking.

One of the things that some people have had a hard time accepting about Obama is the way he seems to have risen almost effortlessly from community organizer to presidential nominee. His ability to achieve a certain clarity - that is, his ability to look through the exteriors, the camouflage, and the smokescreens allows him to focus on the actionable juncture in a given situation. Combine this with an affinity for thinking both globally and locally simultaneously, and a lot of the distractions we as Americans tend to agonize over don't seem to clutter his mind, or the minds of his key staffers.

For all the talk about issues, even from those who are students of the science of politics, there still remains an awful lot of Americans who make their political decisions based on how they feel about the candidate. And they often gauge their candidate's chances of winning on how many ads they run, or how photogenic they are. But in the end, it all comes down to the numbers - how many voters turn out in each state, and how many of these states each candidate garners.

Registering more voters, according to the Obama campaign strategists, enlarges this electorate, increasing Obama's ability to run a competitive race despite the challenges his candidacy presents. So what was the Obama campaign doing this Labor Day weekend, insted of slamming John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin, or stoking the fire underneath the Palin family's domestic drama? They were conducting the biggest voter registration drive in the history of modern politics.

Critical thinking, it seems, will be the new black this fall.

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