A reality check

How easy it becomes to fault government policy when you think, or know, what is the blame because it is staring you in the face. Like a buddy told me the other day, Ray Charles can even see how the current administration is leading us down the road to hell through its arrogant folly of a foolish war. And as most of you know, Ray Charles is not only blind, but is also dead.

But invariably, someone occasionally comes along who can hammer your head back into reality. Such a person can inject a heavy dose of perspective, no matter how you feel about their political philosophy or on which side of the aisle they seat themselves in Congress.

An Esquire profile on maverick Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska serves up a reality check that should show even those with vision difficulties that political party is not the most overwhelmingly important ingredient in governing. Instead, says this excellent piece, it is the person and all of his or her combos of triumphs and hard knocks that ensure the nation will indeed be served by its government no matter how much we pout over the thought.

Among the reality as flashed through the seen-a-bad-moon-rising eyes of Chuck Hagel in Charles Pierce’s piece:

“He’s not accountable anymore,” says Hagel about Gee Dubya … You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don’t know. It depends how this goes.”

Hagel bluntly explains to his own in committee about hard decisions: “If you wanted a safe job,” Hagel said memorably, “go sell shoes.”

The portrait of Hagel is a fascinating one that explains his convictions as to why opposing a war isn’t the mark of cowardice or is not malice against one’s country. One who reads this profile may not be inclined to go right out and elect Hagel president. But, who knows? Perhaps reading about why Chuck Hagel is a conservative Republican who thinks the Iraq war is insane might just inspire a badly-needed bit of respect for those of us who have difficultly finding much to admire about many of our so-called nationals “leaders.”

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