T-shirt: "Of all the people ever born, half are alive today. Thus, you have only a fifty percent chance of dying."
You'll die. Whether you find this prospect terrifying, tragic, or a relief, it's just a fact. The point of life is not to avoid death; if it were, everyone who eventually died would, by definition, have had a pointless life. The point of life is ... well, it's pretty much whatever you end up end negotiating your own life to be, working out a series of compromises, attacks on, and retreats from society, your own flaws and potential, and the limits of physics, biology, and your imagination.
Which brings me to my point. Mitt Romney was recently asked what he saw as the most important issue. His response? The spread of radical Islamic fundamentalism. This struck me as so utterly inane that I couldn't stay tuned to hear him explain. This is like a high school guidance counselor or your uncle Freddie asking you about your life plans at 18 and you responding, "Well, diabetes is a killer. I plan to avoid that."
I will make some guarantees about terrorists. They will kill some of us. Guaranteed. They might even have one year when they kill more of us than do cigarettes, obesity, guns, food poisoning, or car wrecks. (They might, but I seriously doubt it.) As with all these other threats, I'd feel glad to know that "our best people are working on it" when it comes to mitigating their harm. But does anyone really think that terrorism is the most important issue?
And I'm left with this question: Shouldn’t leadership appeal to higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy than mere survival? Or is that the best we can do when trying to gain consensus among 51% of the voters in a country as diverse as this?