Today one of my students was telling me that he got stumped by one of his university interview questions over the weekend. Considering the student as well as the outcome, I am going to have to say “stumped” is a wee bit of an overstatement, but none the less, the question was interesting. As a future lawyer, he has applied for a Law and Politics program. On seeing that the interviewer said, “I see that you have aptly demonstrated your interest in law, but what about politics? What interests you about politics?”
“Uhhh….” He began. “Politics is interesting because it is the element of the system that works on enforcing law… like, they work together to effect change…”
Okay, so not bad. Always good to fall back on interdependence and relationships.
He asked me, what I would have said. What a perfect day to ask me such a question. I told him I was not sure I could answer the question in light of the current political sh*tstorm underway in the States. He persisted. I gave in with little more encouragement: “I think that politics is fascinating because it is like the crystallization of all the best and worst extremes of the human condition. It is the fun house mirror of our society.”
He laughed and then looked at the clock. Maybe I should have re-thought my answer.
In the wake of the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill the nature of the extreme right in our country has been disclosed to such a degree that even the “mostly extreme” right sees the red flags. Like I said yesterday: It is embarrassing. I am frightened to see the potential for hate that this has brought out in the people who we have chosen to represent us. Jesus – if this is who we have become we really are a Generation of Swine.
At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.
Bob Herbert’s op-ed piece in the New York Times pretty much summed up what I was trying to say yesterday (that is why he earns the big bucks, yo.) and I know lots of people are going to say that he is some liberal-leftist-socialist-racist-tyrant. So before you go there, consider what David Frum had to say about what the GOP has earned themselves as a result of the past few weeks years:
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat… by mobilizing [the Republicans] with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. He went on in another piece to say that “Conservatives have whipped themselves into spasms of outrage and despair that block all strategic thinking.”
The behavior that Herbert describes in his piece defies any sort of rational explanation – oh, yeah BECAUSE IT IS IRRATIONAL. Beyond that it is inexcusable, but it was at the hands of a bunch of Teabagger Morons. So what then of yelling “Baby Killer” at Bart Stupak, (who frankly does not speak for my uterus in any way) on the floor of the United States House of Representatives? Randy Neugebauer [from Texas – HOW SURPRISING] came forward to admit it was him (though made up quite a justification for it) a day late. In the military don’t they have punishments for “conduct unbecoming”? Why do we have to put up with this kind of bullshit in the hallowed halls of “the greatest Democracy on the planet? [Be sure to read the comments following the Neugebauer article if you check the link.]
Yeah, the greatest “democracy” on earth. Maybe, as the Aussies point out, that is not necessarily the best thing.
“In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile—and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson, 1979