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Semiformalishmaybe

Migraines and Politics

In political commentary, I think it's important to keep one's criticisms on-target; we don't attack arguments because of personal distaste for candidates, nor do we work ourselves up to hate candidates in a personal way. We may decide that we really dislike someone's effect on the political landscape, but we don't want them off the playing field for that reason alone.

Recently, I've been bothered to see attacks on Michele Bachmann because of her history of severe migraines. The attacks draw comparisons to Caligula. I reject this; migraines, unless they are frequent or are easily connected to actual suitability for a position, have little relevance to discussions of policy. Insulting Michele based on her suffering them is no more acceptable than insulting her for being a woman. There is plenty of room for deep distaste for her policies (or her flagrant disregard for truth or science), but one would have to make a real case that she is medically unfit for public office through them to make her migraines relevant.

On another note, we're seeing struggles in Iranian politics where Ahmadinejad (right-secularish-nationalist) is defending the (currently integrated) university system against some right-religious-forces that want to introduce segregation. Ahmadinjad has fought this battle before; he defended the existence of women's soccer teams against roughly the same forces that wanted them banned in Iranian society. Message: be wary of vilifying any political figure or faction too much; you may find yourself wanting to support them in some conflicts.

Comments

Bachmann

I fully assume that the migraine story was pushed by sane(r) Republicans scared about her rise, and trying to find something that might make her supporters pull back. The people whose minds they're trying to change actually like her policies and her flagrant disregard for truth and science.
Insulting Michele based on her suffering them is no more acceptable than insulting her for being a woman.

and one blog post I read draws a connection between the two.