Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shame on Them

I found myself in an actual conversation with a teenage girl last weekend. That's pretty rare, not, I hope, because they all dislike me, but because they just seldom have any real reason to talk with me. To them, I'm just another old guy. I understand.
This particular teenage girl is a crack student, as well as an athlete. She plays on her school's varsity basketball team even though she's only a sophomore and not yet 16 years old. I asked about the team and got a surprising answer, one that gave out some gossipy details describing which teammates are friends and which aren't. This was in the conversation's first two minutes. We were in a large noisy arena, and so our time was limited, but it reminded me of something I should never forget: males and females see things differently, and heaven help the coach/teacher/church leader who forgets it.

I have stated before in this space that not all the good guys in our political world come from one side, and that the nature of a "one winner" system means that both sides are tempted to bend the truth. It's a "tough old business", no question. When you throw in things like the radio right, the "punditocracy", TV's talking heads and even a comedy show or two, the lines can become very blurry.
Having so stated, I still have to shake my head in disbelief over the recent disclosures regarding the next GOP campaign plans. Through the ineptitude of one attendee at a strategy meeting in Boca Raton, FL (in winter these events seldom take place in Fargo or Camden), we learned that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are all in line for caricature treatment as cartoon characters, and that the GOP battle cry will be something like "Save the country from socialism!"
When this was disclosed, Republican leaders started backing away from the specifics, though not completely. A Party strategist named John Feehery attempted to do a kind of "end justifies means" play by stating "If you can't scare the hell out of donors, you're not going to get any money." Is that meant to be reassuring? Should we just take for granted that anything coming from the Republican National Committee (which this did) is short on truth, while long on "truthiness"? Why not just leave the real nasty stuff to the radio guys or Congressmen with safe seats in places like Oklahoma or Georgia?
I think we have to realize something: the Republican Party has stopped thinking of itself as being for much of anything. Their legacy going back to Lincoln isn't going to win the next one, they seem to be saying, and so why not just think of ourselves from now on as the "not Democrats" and put a "caveat emptor" sticker on our candidates' foreheads? That way we could scream that Democrats AREN'T using stickers. Heck, that could be good for a few votes, don'tcha think?
When one of our two major Parties gives itself over to this kind of thinking, I think they deserve to be publicly shamed. It's one thing to have some shady ally out there spreading garbage on the land, but quite another to have the Party itself doing it. Shame on them.


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