Radiating all the vigour and enthusiasm Kerry had surgically removed at birth, the honey-toned Edwards found himself adored by the media for his "two Americas" stump speech, a Disraelian portrait of Dickensian gloom conjured in the tones of a Depression-era sob-sister.Ha ha. I came up with a Mark Steyn column when I Googled for what I was looking for:
Even if you have never heard it, you know how it goes: there's one America where Dick Cheney's oil buddies are swigging down Martinis and toasting their war profits; but there's another America where "tonight a 10-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry, hoping and praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today because she doesn't have the coat to keep her warm".Oh, what a huckster that John Edwards was!
I embarked on that Google search as I was writing the previous post, disapproving of reasoning/arguing with empathetic anecdotes. I thought it might help you, as you steel yourself against the political rhetoric that comes in the form of anecdotes, to remember that disgraced prettyboy John Edwards and his 2-Americas mascot, the (nonexistent) coatless little girl.
I've been writing about the shortcomings of the human imagination as we get hung up on one thing — such as a person in the room pleading with us — and neglect to think about all the people who aren't here in our presence. But when politicians use anecdotes, they merely paint a picture for us to see in our minds, and the thing that we fail to see may be more real in the world than what's painted in that picture, such as Edwards's nonexistent coatless little girl.
There must be a little girl, you were supposed to think, because her story is specific. She's 10-years-old and I see her there, kneeling by the side of the bed, and it's a cold night.
You can see it — the unseeable nonentity — in your imagination. The anecdote-purveyor clogs up your head with phony pictures. Fight the fake little 10-year old that the ultra-fake politician would use to gum up the imaginative mechanisms of your mind. Feel the oiliness of the fakery as it lubricates those mechanisms, and visualize the things they'd prefer to be left unseen.