Past is Prologue

The biggest difference between the two parties’ candidates (Obama/Biden v. McCain/Palin) can be explained through the title of this blog, a comment made by Senator Biden in last night’s debate.

John McCain lays out the world in black and white. A decision was either a success or failure, something was right or wrong, somebody’s good or evil, a country is either with us or against us. There’s no in between. So it’s no surprise that last night Sarah Palin criticized Senator Biden for looking into the past, seeing the mistakes, criticizing those mistakes, and explaining how they must not happen again. Palin’s response can be roughly paraphrased as: For a campaign that talks about change, they focus so much on the past. For her the past is the past, there is no benefit in critiquing it or learning from it. One must only look at the present and future. Plain and simple. Black and white.

To Palin’s response, the usually superfluous Biden simply said, “Past is prologue.” How profound. You must know the past and learn from the past in order to create a better future. There are nuances that must be understood, there are events that were both a success and a failure. Not everything is purely good or purely bad that it can be ignored by some politician’s ignorance. Biden very simply represented the same ideals that result in the labeling of Obama as aloof or indecisive – the concept that any generic “thing” in the world is more complicated and deserves a better response than just yes or no. There are times where a “maybe” or “yes, but” or “No, except when” is needed to solve a question or problem.

We have a president who embodies the black and white thought process. It’s been an embarrassing 8 years. Black and white and running a country are oxymoronic terms; they don’t mix and one should never try…past is prologue.