America didn’t just get here. But shame on us for staying here. As early as the 1960s radio’s incomparably brilliant Jean Shepherd (whom most Americans know as the creator and narrator of the now-classic film “A Christmas Story”) complained that trivial things are treated as monumental and truly monumental things are never discussed because they’re in bad taste.
There couldn’t be a better example than last week in Washington. You’d think King George’s Royal British Armed Forces had lost the final battle with Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army when House Speaker Boehner, after a futile five-day stand, had to accept the Senate version of the payroll tax extension with face-saving changes so minor they couldn’t save the face of a gnat. At his cave-in performance, he looked like I did when my mother made me thank Uncle Jay for giving me nothing but a book for Chanukah.
OK, interesting. Worthy of mention. A nice sack-job on the speaker. The president’s popularity enjoyed a bump, or at least, a hiccup, and Democrats who haven’t smiled a lot lately almost broke their faces with unaccustomed broad grins. But, as the French say, “Ce n’est pas la fin des haricots!” (“That’s not the last of the string beans!”) The election this drama was supposed to change is almost a year away, and the real winner of national attention was a Washington outsider named Santa Claus.
Did anybody else find it equally noteworthy that on Day 1 of no-more-American troops in Iraq, a pre-meditated carpet bombing of 10 explosions killed 70 Iraqis and answered the huge question, “Will the enemies of a free and peaceful Iraq delay their moves so America wouldn’t look so hapless and helpless, or would they make a point of splashing America’s face with spittle as they splashed their own streets with blood?” Were you convinced by President Obama’s statement that Iraq’s security forces would be “up to the task”?
Do you realize how closely that resembles the Nazis’ optimistic bombast until the Soviets were almost at the Berlin city limits? The German people put up with such futile lies because they had to. Only God knows why Americans put up with it!
And did you get the name of that big player they carried off the field on a stretcher last week? It was “global warming,” a lying, cheating, money-and-power-grabbing villain who tried to appear less villainous by lowering his voice and changing his name to “climate change.” Canada, a modern, sensible nation, just withdrew from the Kyoto Treaty. That’s like the two highest Iraqi officials boycotting the ceremony of America pulling out of Iraq. Russia congratulated Canada. For the cause of “global warming,” that’s like getting bitten by your own dog while the neighbors cheer!
I’m almost fully matured. The only ones I still want to smash physically in the face are those liberals who stop you when you question man-caused global warming, like a referee blowing a whistle and dropping two flags, with the smug assertion, “Don’t go there! The science is already settled.” The only thing settled is the lying, cheating and money-and-power-grabbing aspirations of the warm-mongers. That is email-evident and courtroom-clear. There is no evidence, however, that human activity causes climate change. What part of “no” is vague? Does “zero” say it better? Maybe it couldn’t compete with a downer-for-Boehner, but that was the week the world officially got wise to global warming. Take down the cap-and-trade warnings!
I once made a list of questions you should never ask. It included, for example, “Are you still dating that supermodel?” and “What ever happened with that play you were going to write?” Add to that list, when you’re talking with anybody in the Obama administration, “How’s that Arab Spring working out?” It’s working out just fine, for those who hate America.
Dosage. Proportionality. Those are important measurements for cooks and, especially, doctors and pharmacists. The media understand that, but make too much money ignoring that importance. I once went to pick up my date, and when she opened the door I could tell she was furious. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I asked my daughter what kind of day she was having,” she replied, “and she said, ‘Oh, about 50-50, I guess.’ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked her. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘I lost my job, but I wrote a poem!’” As individuals, we understand dosage, proportionality; call it relativity. But as American news consumers, we’re all too content to shove aside the disintegration of Iraq and global warming and Egypt and the change of leadership in North Korea and the ongoing catastrophes of the Eurozone and Mexico and Syria; the better to focus on the Democrats making a first-down against the House Republicans and Speaker Boehner.
Once, during the racial anxieties of the 1960s, I entered an elevator with a young black man in a Black Panther kind of outfit. His face glowered unhappily. Figuring I’d do my part for racial harmony, I smiled and asked him, “Is everything OK?” His glare then changed into kind of a death-ray.
“Hell no, everything’s not OK,” he said. “My watch is ticking too loud!”