Wednesday, September 10, 2008

POLITICS- Include Me Out

...of the incessant BS of the campaigns.

You notice I don’t write much about politics even though it’s something that I think is important. What is there to say when most of the dialog is like listening to a couple of four-year-olds argue. For instance, this morning the news is about how Barrack Obama used the phrase “you can put lipstick on a pig but that doesn’t make it anything but a pig.” He wasn’t referring to Gov. Palin but the Republicans were quick to say that it was sexist. Because of the joke she told at the convention about hockey moms and pitbulls (lipstick apparently makes the difference, and the legendary scarcity of AK females would imply that it’s funny because it’s true). I’m so sick of this crap. Mommy, he’s talking about me! I don’t like it! He’s being mean to me!

I’ve seen this happen on the playground a few times so let me explain it to you. Imagine that you are seven years old again. There are two boys at the edge of the parking lot having an argument that might become a fight. You know the types. One boy is a lout, a bully. He’s in these situations frequently but somehow they usually don’t seem to come to blows. But he calls a lot of kids out. The other boy is a slightly nerdy boy who “started” all this by saying something the brute didn’t like. It’s usually a different lout and nerd each time, picked seemingly at random from their subsets of the school’s general population. (Funny that I don’t remember many fights where both contestants were from the same group. I guess louts don’t fight louts and nerds don’t fight other nerds.) Anyway, the two are squaring off. There’s a lot of talking. Insults are thrown, there’s some speculation about family customs and heritage. This is the boring part of the fight. The subjects are varied, true. I remember one fight was over whether the British had ever captured the White House, with the lout taking the side of America. Another was sparked when some kid correctly answered about things falling at the same rate regardless of weight. That particular lout fancied himself brainy so there had to be a confrontation. Anyway, the subject was always something different but the argument was always the same. The nerd would start out thinking he could set the guy straight with facts and figures. The lout would grow frustrated that the nerd didn’t realize he was there to grovel, not make the same mistake a second time. This is phase called “one boy is afraid to fight and the other is glad of it” as we used to say. At this point it is the crowds job to try to help by shouting encouragement to one or the other in the hope that he will have an irrational surge in confidence and throw the first punch. Somebody would get called a fag and depending on how secure the person on the receiving end of that bon mot was in his sexuality, an actual fight would sometimes break out. Eventually someone in authority would arrive to break up the fight. If this happens before anybody gets hit, then the audience disperses to decide who was the bigger coward.

So that’s the campaign season in a nutshell. It rarely comes to blows but other than that…

And that’s why I don’t write about politics unless I’m addressing some purely wrong idea. And even then, the campaign brings it into sharp relief that most people aren’t listening and a whole lot of people are just rooting for their side to throw a punch. Doesn’t matter who’s right.

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