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Opening Arguments


Sheer nonsense:

Americans continue to name Hillary Clinton as the woman living anywhere in the world whom they admire most, and name Barack Obama as the man they admire most. Clinton has held the top women's spot in each of the last 13 years and 17 of the last 18, with that streak interrupted only by first lady Laura Bush in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks. Obama has been most admired man in each of the last seven years, beginning with 2008, the year he was elected president.

They should really call it the "People who are in the news so often that even dimwits know who they are" poll. Whoever is president almost always tops the male list, regardless of their party or philosophy. Come on, people, they're politicians, and to succeed at that level they have to be narcissists of the worst kind. What's to admire there? And how in the world do Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Warren, Princess Kate and Oprah Winfrey get on the same list? Because, admit it or not, celebrities are our royalty.

You want someone to admire, I give tou Maya Lin, who, I'm sorry to say, hasn't been in the news lately. If you were around in the early '80s, perhaps you remember how controversial the Vietnam Memorial was. It wasn't a tradtional monument (gasp! no statues!), it merely listed names without context, like a police blotter. It was neutral over whether the war was a good or bad idea. One critic even called it our "black gash of shame." But the memorial has now become the standard by which all others are measured, and it probably did more to heal the wounds of Vietnam than all its politician and pundit critics combined did. When you look at the names on the wall, you also see your own reflection in the black marble. You are standing with the fallen. How can you not be moved by that?

And Lin was still a 21-year-old undergraduate student when her design won the public design competition for the memorial. She did exactly what the design committee asked of entries: Memorialize the war without commenting on its wisdom one way or the other. She was born in Ohio, by the way, so we can claim her as a Midwesterner. The fight to fund a memorial, by the way, was a private one, not a government-sponsored one, led by one driven Vietnam veteran, Jan C. Scruggs. So he goes on my list, too.