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By The Reverend Published: March 23, 2008


I learned something new recently that I thought was worth sharing.

It's about this word 'vetting' I keep hearing so much about. Back in the day, 'vetting', would be like when I got to drive my brother's 1964, 327...... 100mph on Gilchrist Rd in 1970. We called that 'vetting'. What did we know? I see today that trying to keep an American Classic sportscar on the road at high speeds while shifting is not what all the really smart guys.....who are always smartly talking about politics....are talking about now when they use the word 'vetting'.

Thus the learning process began for The Reverend.

No place better to start than a dictionary....

Vetting......To subject to thorough examination or evaluation.

This definition made it clear to me that what Barack Obama, and of course the other candidates as well, are going through, is a "thorough examination". The remaining presidential candidates, I gathered from the definition, were being subjected to a "thorough examination" for "evaluation" purposes.

So I went about applying what I had learned.

When I watched David Gregory that evening, from the patriotically ethical MSNBC network, playing cleverly constructed YouTube clips of black men, video clips strung together to make what could be considered a bigoted hit piece, I applied my newly learned definition. Initially, my response to David Gregory's fine work could have been called hotheaded. I received Gregory's video as racially charged, divisive, a bit hateful and totally out of place. It kind of looked like David was just being David, acting out his inherent assholery. Eventually though, armed with my new learning tools I was able to better understand that Gregory was simply 'vetting' Obama. Just putting Obama through a "thorough examination". That's all it was.

Then having learned that.....I began pondering other potential incidents of this 'vetting' stuff, you know, this "thorough examination" stuff. And I remembered the turban topped African garb picture of Obama that the designated patriot Matt Drudge released to exponential repetition by media experts. Silly me...while Drudge's turbaned Obama picture was breaking news I thought it was all an attempt by the Mighty Wurlitzer to unfairly plant Muslim insinuations about Obama in the minds of viewers. But showing that turban photo a couple of hundred times was never meant to be hateful slandering. No...that wasn't it at all, I came to find out. It was really only the totally normal election cycle process of.....vetting.

My mind wandered to the high-brow examination of the madrassa school accusation. The one where someone, no one knows who, said that Obama actually attended an extremist Islamic school, the dreaded a child. All of those really smart guys I was telling you about, they just kept bringing this madrassa business up. Even though Obama, himself, and his campaign had repeatedly explained that the Indonesian elementary school in question was a public secular school.....the smart guys continued talking about this "nagging" issue that "isn't going away".

I thought at the time that I first heard about it that this was only another fear tactic with the intent of raising doubt about whether or not Obama was, in fact, Bin Laden's Right Hand Man. But now, because I've taken the time to learn, I know that this "nagging" Muslim school problem that "isn't going away" for Obama is just all part of the vetting process. Just part of a thorough examination. Routine. Standard operating procedure.

Then with all these light bulbs going off in my head, it finally came to me. That's what all the past stuff has been. It was just vetting. You might imagine how embarassed I felt. Past political events flooded my thoughts. A triple amputee veteran being accused of being unpatriotic.....only vetting. What looks like a racial smear accusing McCain of having illegitmate black children...just vetting. Swiftboating a highly decorated veteran and accusing him, repeatedly, of being a traitor.....just part of a thorough examination process called vetting.

As I pulled back and focused more broadly using what I had learned about vetting, I settled on the eight years of non-stop charges and investigations into Bill Clinton that went on during the 90's. All this time I've been thinking that period was a frenzied, partisan, witch hunt in search of invisible witches, incestuously concocted by extremist Republicans with the help of a sleazeball teevee industry. See how wrong I was? Clinton was only being vetted. Ordinary examination, that's all it was.

To help recognize this process in the future, thus cutting down on any potential confusion, I offer this simple litmus test.....

If what you're witnessing by political media experts sounds trivial and substance free, yet at the same time it all feels mean spirited and wildly partisan, bordering on hateful and intolerant......then you know for certain that what you are really witnessing is the vetting process at work. Nothing to concern yourself about.

Hope all this has been helpful.



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