Election 2008: a study in learning disabilities

Anecdotal evidence is always suspect, but my wife has made an interesting observation from her perspective as a special education teacher:

Students with autism support McCain; students with ADHD support Obama.

Why might this be so?  If I might be allowed the privilege of a sweeping overgeneralization that does a disservice to those afflicted with these conditions but serves to cast light on the political arena, autism is the condition of too much focus on too narrow a field, where ADHD is the condition of too much diffusion in an attempt to focus everywhere at once.

Stated this way, a correlation between the respective conditions and candidates readily suggests itself.  A campaign slogan of change, characterized by promises to improve everything by lowering taxes, stimulating the economy, achieving world peace through unconditional diplomacy, implementing universal health care, and raising school standards through education reform — this is fertile ground for both hyperactivity and attention deficit.  It typifies the politics of distraction, overloading the prospective voter with rapidly shifting images to create the illusion that everything can be accomplished at once, without allowing him the time to contemplate the impracticality of all that has been promised, the 4 trillion dollar price tag and, most notably, the absence of any specifics as to how all this will be accomplished or whether its advocates are competent to accomplish it.

On the other hand, the focus on competency, on experience, on character, and on credibility, even in the absence of wild promises of utopian prosperity — this is the essence of a democratic republic, where the electorate ought to chose leaders not based upon promises, rhetoric, identity, or personal advantage, but on the credentials of prospective leaders to lead successfully, to set realistic goals, and to possess the qualities and the experience to get the job done well and right.

But hyperactivity creates a lot more noise, much the way that rattling a piggy bank containing only a single coin makes a lot more noise than shaking a bank stuffed to the limit with money.

What will you have to show for your efforts, America, when you break open your piggy bank on Wednesday morning?

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