Discernment: Which Candidate has it and why is it important?

Discernment is the quality of being able to grasp what is obsure; the power to see what is not evident to the average mind; the act of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; the keenness and accuracy of mental vision; the capacity of tracing out minute distinctions.

Certainly this is one of the most important qualities of a president. Hillary has it. Barack does not.  It comes from experience. The errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment. People say that Barack Obama will surround himself with good advisors and so his lack of experience will not matter.  But his lack of discernment will matter.

Good advisors have their own schtick. Good advisors are steeped in their own specialty. Their knowledge is deep and narrow; they specialize. They advise on a particular concept or area of specialty. The president’s knowledge must be deep and wide.

The president must be able to take the advice of the specialist and put it into the context of the whole.

The wider the vision of the president, the more able she is to put that advice into it’s proper context. The wider the context, the deeper the perception. The wider the context, the greater the ability to discern the appropriate decision in a given situation. 

There is an old Russian myth about a young girl named Vasalisa who must learn all the aspects of intuition in order to save herself from the old witch Baba Yaga. In the story, Vasalisa matures by conquering more and more difficult hardships. She gradually rises to the challenges that affect her growth and ultimately her power in the world. The last task given to her by Baba Yaga is to separate poppy seed from dirt . . . the task of discernment . . . the minute task of separating one thing from another. She also discerns what questions are appropriate to ask of Baba Yaga and which ones are better left unasked, thus developing a keen sense of human nature and a heightened capacity for knowing. She learns to adapt to constantly changing circumstances. All this experience she gains from her time with Baba Yaga.

Does Vasalisa sound like someone we know? Someone called Hillary Clinton? Someone who has stood the test of time? Who has discernment that comes from experience? Who has the “grit” to endure? To stand up for the middle class? For our future? For our children? 

Myths are meant to teach us about life. They give us the archetypes to help us understand our experience. To help us make decisions that will serve us. Many of us have lost our connection to these myths, but they are a form of understanding that we can feel and that helps to shape our understanding.

People often find it hard to describe the qualities that Hillary has—that Barack has not yet attained. She is the candidate that has taken the archetypal journey. She has captured the golden fleece. She has undertaken the tasks of Baba Yaga. She has learned discernment. She has stood the tests of time. She is the best candidate for the democratic nomination. She is the candidate to beat John McCain (a candidate with a compelling personal story). She will be the best president.  You can read the story of Vasalisa here.

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13 Responses to Discernment: Which Candidate has it and why is it important?

  1. coldH2Owi says:


  2. FYI coldH2Owi

    You were warned already that your Clinton bashing was not welcomed here.

    This blog is one of the few blogs where Clinton supporters have the freedom to support her in the blogosphere. If you want to bash Hillary Clinton — take it elsewhere.

  3. Janis says:

    I’ve grown impatient with the constant excuse that so-and-so “will attract good people” so we don’t have to worry about them having any brains themselves. This is a constant excuse made for all incompetent leaders. They said it about Reagan, they said it about Bush, both Bushes.

    “They’re not that bright but they’ll attract smart people” is like the blind date who has the fabled “great personality” or “great sense of humor.” It’s a blanket phrase clearly meant to make up for deficiencies that they hope you don’t notice.

    And you can bet that the blind date so described has no personality at all and wouldn’t recognize a joke if it bit them on the ass. Similarly, not-terribly-bright people do not attract geniuses. They attract sharks, like all chum.

  4. Yet, I do think that Barack Obama is bright. And I think he will attract bright people. It’s just that it takes more than that. JoAnne

  5. hummingbirdv says:

    Hi Janis, Pamela, all! This is a wondrous post Joanne. Thank you for elevating the discussion for just a little while. So very good to remember there is something much larger happening here…. archetypal journey for us all…. especially our country. It is time for a brilliant, thoughtful, courageous, and strong woman to lead. Hillary is indeed that woman.

    Have been making calls to PA today from Seattle. My last call was from a gentleman named Frank who is a WWII veteran. He was in the infantry with General Patton. He asked me, ” Have you heard of General Patton?” I reassured him I definately had.

    He is a Hillary supporter and needs a ride to the polls tomorrow. He was anxious because he talked to someone a few days ago and they never called him back. So I called the Headquarters in PA and relayed the info. I’ll call him back too, to make sure they made arrangements for him.

    Not calling right now because it’s dinner time there. Will call more later. Lot’s of Hill support…. so far 14 definates out of 42 calls… 6 undecideds….. 8 hang ups…. and the the rest ans machines or other polite but don’t want to talk folks and won’t say. More calls later. Go Hillary Go….

  6. coldH2Owi says:

    You are just like Sen. Clinton. Just can’t face the truth, whether it is the lies about Tuzla, the fear mongering at 3 a.m., the inability to dump a philandering & lying husband. If for no other reasons than those, I hope Sen. Obama wins.

  7. coldH2Owi

    Truth? Who’s truth? Your truth? We all see things differently. That’s the thruth. Like it or not.

    And if I choose as the owner of this blog to say, negative comments about Hillary Clinton are not welcome here – links to blogs with negative posts are not welcome here – that’s my perogative as the owner of this blog, just as it is the perogative of the owners of Obama supporting blogs to not welcome negative comments about Obama. And yes — plenty of Obama supporting blogs moderate comments about Obama.

  8. Janis says:

    Okay cold — so you hate her because of the difference between “under sniper fire” and “under threat of sniper fire,” because of something her husband did, and because of one political commercial.

    Very profound.

  9. Want a balanced view of Hillary Clinton? Read ‘A Woman in Charge’ by Carl Bernstein.

    Great and very interesting material sourced very well.

    Hillary had my vote but this material made it all the more obvious.

    Blasko: You write extremely well at a depth that we don’t see often in the left political blogsphere! Keep up the good work.

    And Cold: Bill isn’t running for office. And she didn’t ‘dump’ him for reasons made obvious in the book above. I recommend you read it if you are open minded enough.

  10. I liked Carl Bernstein’s book as well. Very balanced view. I also liked John Harris’ book, The Survivor. It’s about Bill, but there is a lot in it about HIllary as well. John Harris was the Washington Post Whited House Correspondent during the Clinton years, and he knows of what he speaks. I wish more people would read these books.

  11. Janis says:

    Stuart,I suppose this means that he would vote for the woman who could keep Bill C’s sexual attention. Cold, I anticipate you phone banking for Genifer Flowers or Monica Lewinsky should either of them ever toss their hats into the ring? Or maybe Nina Hartley?

  12. old91A10 says:

    to Stuart O’Neill, et al
    I still owe WoodStein thanks for the Nixon Watergate revelations. But, look how they turned out. But, before giving laurels to Bernstein, you might go to Media Matters and do a quick search.
    (The first and last site I visit on any given day)

    You’ll find he is full of crap. Here’s one to start with:

    On O’Reilly, Bernstein vs. Bernstein vs. Bernstein?


  13. old91A10

    The suggestion to search MediaMatters.org was sufficient. Thank you.