It is amazing how often in life we are offered the illusion of choice. For example, there is the Hobson’s choice. This is a choice between something and nothing. A classic example would be ‘you can have it in any color as long as it’s black,’ or ‘take it or leave it.’ You appear to be being offered a choice, but in actuality you have no choice.
Then there is blackmail and extortion, where your choice is to do something (usually something you don’t like) or suffer some rather unpleasant consequences.
And then there is the dilemma. This is a situation where both of your choices are of relatively equal value - but it’s most common usage is in situations where both of your choices are equally distasteful.
This election season poses a dilemma.
If you are (nebich) a Democrat, look at what you are faced with. On the one hand you have Hillary Rotten Clinton. Here we are being offered a chance to return to the good old days of the Clinton White House - where every morning you would wake up with the near certain knowledge that some moral or ethical code of conduct was being breached, you just didn’t know which. Where you could look forward to dazzling displays of verbal obfuscation designed to dance around the edges of outright lies all the while desparately trying to obscure the truth. (Who can forget ‘it depends on what the meaning of is is.’) I have no doubt she can lie with the best of them.
On the other hand, you have Barack Hussein Obama (rhymes with Osama). Here is a man who can talk for an hour and a half, utilizing the most lofty rhetoric, and say absolutely nothing. And while he gives away little of his true philosophy in his canned stump speeches, there is much that can be gleaned about him from other sources. I recommend that you read the article on him that appears in this issue beginning on page 98.
On the Republican side there really doesn’t appear to be any choice at all, as one by one the candidates have fallen by the wayside, leaving John McCain as the presumptive nominee. Yes, I know, there’s still Mike Huckabee, but as I write this on Tuesday morning it seems quite clear that by the end of the day today, he too will be gone.
And so we are left to see what sort of choice we will ultimately have come election day. Will McCain prove himself to be mildly worthy of support so that we will have a Hobson’s choice between something and nothing, or will he prove himself unworthy thereby providing us with our usual dilemma of worse or worser. Stay tuned.