ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The most amazing thing about our politics is that the same phony premises keep reappearing and crowding out more relevant people and ideas. Politicians, zombie-like, stare into cameras uttering outlandish opinions that have no rational application, and survive only in the wild gyrations of mental gymnasts and the media outlets that provide them with air time.
We continue to be tormented by the likes of Rand Paul staring zombie-like into the camera, delivering hyperbolic nonsense newly arrived from pals like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Every once in a while, someone in their camp shares a tidbit that almost makes sense, quickly overtaken by the irrelevant discourse more typical of this genre. When I operated a small shop in Connecticut, I was engaged in pleasant conversation with a seemingly normal customer until he began a scary monologue about sixes and Satan as I tried to determine if I could escape without confronting Satan or his surrogate. I experience that same helpless feeling when the right engages in its endless meaningless harangues - - a sense of dealing with people who are just nuts.
Hillary Clinton had the look of someone who suddenly realized she was dealing with a deranged gunman when Paul asked her about a Turkey connection during the Benghazi hearing, a possibility that seemed to have no factual basis, relying rather on the fevered night vision of Glenn Beck one suspects. The New York Times used to claim it covered all the news that was “fit to print.” These days we are deluged by a first-amendment freedom that assures every strange perversion of factual material will be published and debated as if it really had some meaningful intellectual content.
The Republican Party has made a point of saying it wants to stop being the “stupid” party. Whatever gave them that idea? Perhaps it’s their knee-jerk response to almost every issue of import - - whether it’s immigration, gun violence or sexual orientation The absurdity of the NRA trying to put a happy face on gun ownership after the horrific events at Sandy Hook and the daily shootings across the country is stunning. And of course they had to put out a statement about the new regulations regarding women being allowed to participate in combat. Men, they said, are naturally inclined to be protective of their female counterparts, which could interfere with their military assignments. Ah yes, the prevalence of rape in our military and the lack of redress for those female victims on the part of male officers speaks to a protective veil, but one that mostly covers the perpetrators, another phony excuse for views that simply support male dominance. Chivalry may not be dead, but it isn’t covered by military procedures that matter when it comes to women in the military.
It’s possible that one day we will be able to face up to the contradictions between how we describe our virtuous nature as a people and how we actually behave. But finding a sensible, honest approach to the problems that plague us it isn’t exactly a ‘slam dunk.’ and Republicans have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to stop being known as ‘the stupid party.’