Saturday, January 5, 2013

Government we deserve

I can't nail down its original source, but it's become popular to suggest that we get the government we deserve.

That has been no truer than it is today. Do you doubt me? I offer for my only exhibits a handful of recent posts from Post Talk, the Post Register's message board and veritable sewer of free speech. I do not provide the names of the authors to protect the guilty.

Let's start with a doozy:

"Hitler never wanted war with Britain, only a dictatorship and absolute power in Germany. Much like our presidents today, he wanted to be a great German historical figure like Bismarck. He sought revenge from the treaty of Versailles Treaty. He wanted to restore German pride and enlarge the German empire to the east. He wanted to rid Germany of Jews and gays and destroy Bolshevism. He wanted Germany to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Whether these things were right or wrong is not the issue. Hitler never wanted war with Britain, and certainly not with the U.S. He never wanted a two-front war, let alone a world war. He wanted Germany to be a world power, not the ruler of the world. Today, the U.S. is guilty of the very same desires of Hitler. "

OK, that one's unfair, since the author is a known John Bircher and conspiracy monger. So, let's move a little closer to the mainstream.

"Once in a while the liberals pause to address the out-of-control spending ("investment" in liberal speak) but then simply blame it on GWB! Their indoctrination by the uber-liberal teachers/professors has worked well."

There's some classic anti-intellectualism for you. (Just this week the latest list of the world's top universities was released. Eight of the top 10 are American, and that proportion continues through the first several dozen. We are the envy of the world in many respects, and our colleges may be at the top of that list.)

From the left:

"Makes me wonder when the Republican Party will take responsibility for the economic mess we are in today. After all, Reagan started Class Warfare increasing the flow of wealth to the top and Bush capped it off with his unfunded tax cuts, Medicare D, and two wars; culminating in the crash of 2008. Republicans love to crush the hopes and dreams of the poor and middle class while preserving the wealth of a few."

I know a lot of Republicans but can't think of a single one who is bent on crushing hopes and dreams.

"Obama has shot another volley over the bow of the Republican-led House by promising he won't negotiate on raising the debt limit. This individual is determined to completely bankrupt this country - although it seems we have already achieved that "goal". Boehner and McConnell must hold firm and demand spending cuts that will more than equal any raising of the debt limit. Medicare and Medicaid are the drivers of our debt and congress knows this but seem too timid to make the difficult choices."

This writer used to refer to our president as BO until I put a stop to it. Now, she uses "this individual," and is quite certain he is "determined to bankrupt this country." Of course he is. Every president runs for office with a deep desire to screw things up or, worse, has a specific "destroy our country" agenda. No, wait. It's only Obama who came to power with that objective.

"No level of gun control will remove guns from most who should not have them. It would only keep law abiding citizens from owning them. I have a hard time understanding how owning an assault rifle somehow translates in it being used to kill people."

The last sentence is one of the more remarkable things I've ever read, anywhere. There's no point in debating with someone who would write such a sentence.

"I haven't been in a theatre since the early nineties - except for "2016: Obama's America", which I saw this past summer. I got tired of paying good money to watch poorly-written and poorly-acted ho-hum movies. Once in a while I will rent a DVD - but even then, it's sometimes a waste of my time and dollars. Give me a good book any day!"

Here we have a person who hasn't seen a movie for nearly two decades, except, of course, for a propaganda flick so full of lies and conspiracy innuendo that it's hard to imagine even hard-core Obama-haters can take it seriously. This person votes, presumably.

"Many of us who were in the military and in war zones saw firsthand what some folks with guns in their hands or bombs and rockets at their disposal could do to other human beings. We didn’t like that either. I don’t keep semi-automatic pistols and rifles with 30 round clips around for hunting nor did I buy them for that purpose. I will always have them, out of reach from the grandkids for sure, but ever present. I always strive to be at least as well armed as are the folks who would do me, or my family harm, be they thugs, thieves, rapists, murderers or government goons."

Yes, we need assault weapons to protect ourselves from "government goons." (Never mind that if "government goons" really wanted to take you out, they would have access to weapons that would make your assault rifle seem like a pea shooter.)

Let's end with a note from the populist left, a crusader for pro-union laws.

"Let's all thank the Right To Work law and all those who voted for it. Idahoans now have the right to work for less and qualify for Medicaid for their children and Food Stamps for the family."

The most instructive issue presented on this one is the depiction of our tendency to snatch up simplistic, one-size-fits-all causes for our various ills, which plays nicely into sound-bite politics.

I close with the lyrics from a classic Supertramp track, Crime of the Century:
Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory? 
Rip off the masks and let's see. 
But that's not right - oh no, what's the story? 
        There's you and there's me That can't be right

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