Friday, November 2, 2012

Why We're Doomed (Unless We Learn to Find our Inner Teenager)

Some have accused me of being pessimistic when it comes to evaluating humankind's potential to fix its historically persistent problems. They're right. I am.

This morning, I heard a news report from one of Mitt Romney's speaking engagements. A (Republican) woman being interviewed criticized Governor Chris Christie (a Republican) of New Jersey of being "too effusive" in his praise of President Obama's help with the storm crisis in New Jersey. She feared it would go against Mitt Romney's chances of being elected.

Am I going insane, or is this as absurd as it sounds?

Hold on, my fine Democrat readers. Before you clap me on the back for exposing Republican stupidity (a stupidity that does apply to a lot of Republicans, for sure, just as it applies to people in general) let's consider this little meme posted by a friend of mine on Facebook -- from a site that proclaims itself to be "Sick of the Slant" -- because there is no slant in the chosen pictures, of course (you can click to enlarge the picture):

Sure. Why allow a Democrat and a Republican to come together in all sincerity as Obama and Christie have done? Why allow them to put their conflicting political views behind them and work together for the good of the people? Let's make sure we ridicule the Republican for political purposes instead of praising him for doing what every politician should: thinking of helping his citizens and forgetting about party divisions for a minute. Let's use it against him when he does the right thing. And let's attack him from within if he is too nice to a Democrat.

Sweet Jesus, it's embarrassing.

Is there any hope in politics? Not when the majority of blinder-wearing morons want to rub feces into the wounds of partisan bickering. People do not want bipartisanship. They don't want healing. They don't want cooperation. They want to be right. They want their guy to win.

But they don't want this, no matter how much they might protest my accusation:

We're lost...

...unless we learn to think like the kids:

The other day in class, I was doing a lesson on language-manipulation in the campaign and I referenced the use of the phrases that are engineered to discredit one candidate or the other, even if the phrases don't necessarily carry the meanings applied to them. (Think of Obama's "horses and bayonets" -- meant to show that Romney is out of touch with the modern military and, also, of the Republican comebacks about bayonets still being used by Marines, which were loaded with "how dare you forget about our men on the ground?" Things like that.)

After some discussion, a young lady -- a senior -- raised her hand. She looked very disoriented by all of this. I called on her. "Mr. Mat," she said, "I don't get it. Why play all of these games? Why don't they just want the best guy to be President?"

I almost welled up with tears at the beautiful, innocent wisdom of that statement. "I wish so-called adults could learn to think like you, G--."

And I really do. It's weird how crossing my classroom threshold is like moving from despair into hope. Maybe I should just set up a cot and a mini-fridge and move in, because when I leave, it's back to being hopeless.


  1. As far as I'm concerned, that "Sick of the Slant" photo-meme has it exactly wrong.

    Obama and Christie are political enemies, not bitter personal rivals. That photo-meme doesn't see that a governor in his official capacity is seeking help from a president in his; instead, it imagines a fantasy in which a humbled regional warlord has to kneel before a king.

    In the world of that photo-meme, political rhetoric is real, while a republic that operates beyond the partisan or the personal is unthinkable. When we stop wanting to see the difference between an individual and the office he holds, we're on our way to a sort of political warlordism.

    (Which is, I suspect, where we're quickly headed. The up side: huge market for epic poems.)

    1. So well put, Jeff. I'll tell you -- I have been waiting to see the return of the epic poem. I can see it now: The Obamyssey...The Christiad...