Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

“Oh! The hateful rhetoric!” exclaimed Howard Bashford. “Oh! The lack of civility!”

Bashford, an aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, was lamenting attacks from tea partiers on the Democratic Party establishment following passage of health-care “reform.”

“Why can’t we all just get along?” he asked rhetorically. “Why do tea baggers engage in such intemperate assaults on their public servants?”

“Maybe it’s because their servants are acting more like masters than servants,” we ventured.

“That’s hateful!” Bashford shot back. “How can you use such uncivil rhetoric?”

“Well, how can you use the uncivil term ‘tea baggers’?” we asked.

“That’s merely sardonic,” he sniffed, “not uncivil.

“The majority leader is so concerned with the decline of manners that he sees ‘the need for all public officials – all members of Congress of either party – to urge the American people and conduct ourselves in a way that provides an environment for civility. … That debate ought to be civil, ought to be constructive, and ought to be designed to educate the public, not incite the public.'”

“How civil is it to call the tea partiers ‘racist’?” we asked.

“Well, they are,” he replied. “We’re just being accurate. Didn’t the honorable Rep. John Lewis report they called him racist names? Would he lie?”

We asked, “Would that be the honorable John Lewis who was party to the secret, backroom bill-writing and political deals – some say bribes – that produced the health-care bill? The honorable John Lewis who helped Speaker Nancy Pelosi flout the will of the people?”

“There you go again,” said Bashford, “more hateful, uncivil, racist talk. You should be ashamed. Remember that Majority Leader Hoyer said such rhetoric is not ‘useful’ because ‘it creates an atmosphere and debate that is [not] constructive and can sometimes be dangerous.'”

“Just so we understand each other,” we said, “it’s OK for you to trash the Constitution, thumb your nose at the citizens of the United States, engage in corrupt deals, write legislation in secret and have the House vote on bills the members haven’t read, but it’s not OK for your critics to respond heatedly?”

“That’s exactly right,” said Bashford. “It’s especially true when the dissenters are effective. You have to remember, when we trash the Constitution, thumb our nose at the citizens of the United States, engage in corrupt deals, write legislation in secret and have the House vote on bills the members haven’t read, we’re doing it with the best intentions.

“Our critics, on the other hand, are merely pawns of the rapacious special interests who want to drive the average American into penury, cause sick children to languish untreated and starve the elderly. They are angry, white racists who want to subjugate minorities and return to the complacent, corporate domination of the 1950s. They’re stirring up the worst, most violent elements in the United States.”

“Nice rhetoric,” we said.

“Thanks,” he replied.

We have a dear friend who provides a perfect reflection of statist thinking. He agrees and reiterates whatever Nancy Pelosi says. Naturally, we find nearly everything he says disquieting, but we were especially perturbed by this recent pronouncement: “Only the federal government is big enough (to solve the health-care problem).”

Beyond this, we learned from him that American health insurance should cover illegal aliens because “they’re people, too,” and the solution is “higher taxes.” And never mind the federal government’s woeful track record of waste and fraud in the administration of social programs. Apparently, American GDP is an inexhaustible wellspring of money.

Next, another friend opined that the Bush tax cuts were “only for the rich,” and denied firmly that they were applied across the board – as they were.

Both gentlemen were demonstrating, unintentionally, the efficacy of the “big lie.” The source of the big lie, of course, is government, and the conduit is American public education.

More hateful rhetoric: Democratic State Sen. Leland Yee and others on the left are raising quite a stink about Sarah Palin’s scheduled speech at a fundraiser for California State University, Stanislaus.

Yee notes that a Palin speech commands a six-figure fee and is demanding an investigation. He is allied with left-wing students, faculty and alumni who assert that the former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor is an inappropriate speaker for an academic institution.

Oddly, the same segments of the Legislature and academia were silent when the nearby University of California, Merced, expended more than $1 million on last year’s commencement address by first lady Michelle Obama.

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