A WALK ON THE LIGHT SIDE
WHERE KNOWING NOTHING HELPS A LOT
It is time for a little walk on the light side. I try not to enjoy myself too much at the expense of others, but I am having a great time with the Republican Party at the moment. There used to be a political party in America in the mid-1800’s called the “Know-Nothing Party” which was anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic. [ http://www.britannica.com/topic/Know-Nothing-party ]. Now here is the best part, it later took on the name “American Party,” presumably to ensure that everyone easily could use "American" and "know nothing" in the same sentence.
I am not making this up. As if to prove my point, the Know Nothing Party is back, only now they call themselves the “Republican Party.” As before, they are wrapping themselves in the red, white, and blue and ensuring that Americans who know little or nothing will have a safe haven for their vote.
The present Republican Party platform is very simple - less government, more god, fewer taxes, more guns, no abortions, less heath care, no immigrants, no minimum wage, and a testosterone based foreign policy. While there is nothing funny about this 19th century platform, it is very entertaining to watch the Republican Party candidates, and those who speak for them, tie themselves in knots when the discussion turns to the public policy details that underlie the party’s platform. Since the candidates themselves can’t seem to ever get it right the first time, it leaves the field to “spokespersons” or “surrogates” to explain what the candidate actually meant to say.
What the spokespersons say the candidate meant to say is almost never the byproduct of a one-on-one discussion with the candidate in which the spokesperson directly asks the obvious question: “What did you mean to say?” It is at best committee work aimed at determining what the candidate should have meant to say. Follow this carefully now - this is because they know and we know that the candidate actually said exactly what he meant to say and that it just didn’t make any sense at all.
Recent news cycles have Trump screwing up the abortion message and suggesting that the US sprinkle nuclear weapons all around East Asia, among other things. If you can’t get “no abortions” right the first time and don’t understand that nuclear weapons are our nation’s ultimate testosterone and not to be shared with others, then how can a spokesperson help the candidate without making both the candidate and the spokesperson look like idiots?
Then just when you think this can’t get any better, it does – Dr. Ben Carson shows up as a new and honored Trump spokesperson. When last seen, Dr. Ben was one of the cast of Republican candidates whose appalling policy ignorance left him vulnerable to Trump’s mindless attacks trumpeted as gospel by the media. [ http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/trump-ben-carson-criticism-220630 ]
Remember that Dr. Ben, the candidate, is a retired neurosurgeon whose path to political stardom was being directed by god. Dr. Ben was just a humble servant of god on a mission to save the rest of us from ourselves and save America from the rest of us. So now, as I sit and watch Dr. Ben, the spokesperson, I am left to wonder if it is god telling him what Trump meant to say and if so, could god be so appallingly ignorant? One thing I do know is that Dr. Ben makes me laugh a lot.
Meanwhile, Senator Ted Cruz, the self-anointed saint-in-waiting, is so overwhelmed with his own Christian aura that whatever message he is trying to deliver gets lost on the road to Damascus and frequently overwhelmed by basic facts. But that is not his biggest problem. His biggest problem is that even Republicans have figured out that he is a complete horse’s ass.
Remember the now famous words of US Senator and former Republican candidate Lindsey Graham about his Senate colleague: "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you." One month later, that same Lindsey Graham endorsed Ted Cruz for President. [ http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/politics/lindsey-graham-ted-cruz-endorsement/index.html ]
As you can see, there is a lot here for those like me to enjoy. But I am saving the best for last. Antonin Scalia, one silly step below Ronald Reagan on the right-wing pantheon of greatness, died recently, overall not a bad thing for the country. This supposedly left a gaping “intellectual” hole on the US Supreme Court for those addicted to Constitutional “reverence” in the 1789 sense of that word.
Now Scalia has been put to rest, and his acolytes are scouring the land for the next bright legal scholar mired in the 18th century who they can launch on a trajectory to the Supreme Court. While we anxiously await this second coming, it is important to note that Scalia appears to have been an academic star, particularly if you are a big fan of US News and World Report Law School Rankings. He went to law school at #2 Harvard, and then taught at two law schools, #4 University of Chicago and #8 University of Virginia. [ http://gradschools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings ]
But then, to top it off and even before his coffin begins to leak, he gets a law school named after him. Not Harvard, not Chicago, not Virginia where he supposedly was such a star, but #45 George Mason School of Law. Here, in honor of Scalia’s 18th century view of cash as free speech, two high rollers offer $30 million to George Mason University (a public university) to rename its law school to the Antonin Scalia School of Law. Without opening the bidding to others (rich friends of Justice Clarence Thomas take note), $30 million was enough to deeply and quickly move the University’s Board of Visitors to act.
They acted so quickly that no one saw the best acronym ever for a law school – Antonin Scalia School of Law (ASSoL). Now they are rethinking the name of the law school, but I doubt it will cause any rethinking about selling the soul of a public institution.
In the end, the most enjoyable tribute to former Justice Scalia will come when President Bernie Sanders appoints his replacement, and the new Democratic Senate confirms a young progressive liberal justice. It will be a joy to watch the new 5 - 4 Supreme Court majority studiously undo Scalia’s dubious legacy.
In the election aftermath, Cruz will be comforted in the political wilderness by Jesus, and Trump will be sustained by conversations with himself and an occasional mutual mind fart with Dr. Ben. And the world will be good again.