The Democrats began what I assume will be a long series of debates last night, and got off to a gradual but good start. Not too much disagreement so far but as a first look I think there are several good Presidential and VP candidates among them.
The most interesting thing, though, was the presence of former Senator Mike Gravel. No one has heard of this guy and he has absolutely no chance of winning, which allowed him to be honest and say what he actually felt. A lot of journalists are dismissing him as the "comic relief," but that seems pretty unfair, they are just saying that because the honesty coming from Gravel is so foreign and unheard of among politicians that people didn't know how to react other than nervous laughter. There is something wrong with people laughing at Presidential candidates when they are not joking. He is definitely not in touch with the majority of American voters, but that by no means makes him wrong. I don't know if I agree totally with everything he said (if not I am close), but I think a lot of the things he said are dismissed because he is the only person saying them, he questions things that nobody questions so we assume are correct without ever thinking about it, but he has a point in everything he says and we should be grateful that someone like him is up there forcing us to confront certain outlooks on certain positions, precisely because his outlook has not been fashionable and all of the other candidates are espousing a more fashionable outlook, and rhetoric, and conceptualization of national and world events.
For those who missed it here is the video. You will hear some things you haven't heard before, most importantly you will hear a politician saying exactly what he thinks without any fear of political repercussions. Gravel might not be right on everything (although he kind of is if you think about it) but he makes good points on many things. We can only learn by considering his views and views like his, and only rejecting them once we have profoundly considered them, conversely we can only become dumber by immediately dismissing his views just becasue they are not mainstream and make us nervous.