by Myles Spicer | September 11,2209 • OK…that the current political environment is pretty ugly is likely not “new” news, but it is the “scary” part that should concern us all.
That politics can be ugly, mean, biased, untrue, and even cruel is a continuing fact in American history. But when it gets “out of the box”…weird…crazy…and even bizarre is when the caution flags should go up. So it is now. And sadly it often finds our most progressive and forward thinking leaders as its victims. From Lincoln to Bobby, Martin and John, those who were agents of change and sought new directions were often the most reviled with terrible results.
|Graduate U of Minn 1954. Flying officer USAF 1954-57 honorably discharged from reserve with rank of Capt. Owner several ad agencies in the Twin Cities and San Diego for over 45 years. Won several national creative awards in my career; and was a published author. Active politically entire adult life, and civil rights activist since age of 21. 76 years old…and an unrepentant liberal!|
Abe Lincoln was the object of dislike, ridicule and worse. And his opponents minced no words. When one of them called him a “two-faced liar”, he calmly responded: “If I am ‘two-faced’, why would I be wearing the one I have on now?” Humorous as that may be, the hatred for Lincoln bubbled over to a tragic result.
The tragic history of the Kennedy clan showed similar outcomes. Though John was immensely popular as he entered his Camelot period, the kooks and crazies could never accept him as our President; nor would they permit Bobby to ever achieve that position; and Martin fell victim to the fringe cult of racism. Again, there is an element in our society that is not only irrational and dangerous – but they are fueled and ginned up by right wing ideologues, outlandish media hosts, irrational blogs, and far right fringe elements. And that is exactly the political environment we are living in today. That is scary.
The animosity toward Obama has a discomforting historical pattern. To begin with, the fury of the right against him is not based on policy or governance – it is totally related to him personally. That is scary. The “birther” controversy is not a policy debate, it is strictly a personality issue, rejecting his legitimacy to serve. Further, it never goes away, and probably never will, despite the ludicrous claims that now reach into his supposed birth in countries that did not even exist when he was born. That matters not to the fringes – they simply do not want or like a president (or first lady) who does not “look” like what they think a president should “look like”, and has a middle name of Hussein.
The vitriol of the town hall meetings were not policy or fact based. They were irrational shouting matches on the part of folks (some with guns) whose agenda pure and simple, is to damage Obama. They, too, are personality-based — there was no finished legislation on health care, and it was Congress who was doing the drafting, yet the animus was directed toward “Obamacare”. Additionally, if anyone took the time (and had the stomach) to listen to various right wing talk show hosts, you would hear words like “gangster, National Socialist (Nazi), insane, dangerous, Socialist, Communist,” and worse to describe our President. Lincoln’s “two faced liar” looks pretty tame to these epithets. That is scary.
But, here is what scares me most of all. The fact that there are nut cases out there that represent a threat is scary in itself, but not as scary as the fact that there is not a single rational, intelligent, bold and courageous voice in the Republican Party to disclaim and quiet the voices of this vitriol. When mainstream GOP politicians like Grassley, McCain, Hatch and others of a similar ilk cave in to the ranting of the Bachmanns, Palins, Limbaughs, Savages, Becks etc, then we know we are in for trouble. Mainstream Republican leaders are now silent at best, and in tacit agreement with the fringe at worst. The far right has now become the disloyal opposition. An outrageous congressman yells “liar” at the President, and there is no Republican outcry, let alone GOP caucus censure. The country needs a responsible conservative opposition voice to take us to balanced and bi-partisan ideas. It also needs some one, or some entity, to tamp down the fringe elements and clearly point out “the Emperor has no clothes”. But there is no such voice; there is nobody home in that party willing to take a sane, reasoned leadership role…and that isreally scary.
Finally, we come to the bizarre events surrounding the President’s speech to school children. The whole incident reminded me of a very old joke I heard years ago. Seems a family lived near a very risqué burlesque theater. The young son was admonished over and over and over again by his father: “that he was never to go into that theater because he would ‘see things he should not see’”. So, naturally, one day the son motivated by such intrigue, just had to go into that theater…and he saw his father! So it is with the parents who admonished their kids to “not listen to that president”. Eventually, they too actually will hear what the president has to say, and when they do, they will no doubt hear things their parents did not want them to hear. The truth!