That’s Entertainment?

Yesterday, a very minor annoyance began to trigger my thoughts regarding a disturbing trend occurring within the public discourse on American politics.  The Facebook page dedicated to the website “A Hollywood Republican” posts several small bits of commentary and article links throughout the day.  Comments are received from a readership numbering 1400.  Predictably, most are conservative and echo the sentiments of what arguably are the views of the majority of Americans.  Some comments, however, have a liberal bias in an attempt to debate some of the points made.  That’s a good thing.  Ideas and beliefs should never go unchallenged.  Debate is a necessary process to vet the facts and draw reasonable conclusions.

Unfortunately, situations occur when one or two individuals decide to focus on a Facebook page or a website and stir things up for the sole purpose of, what I believe to be, entertainment.  The internet term for them is “Trolls”, who amuse themselves by issuing personal attacks on other individuals participating in legitimate debate.

True, some people may use pejorative terms against politicians in order to vent their frustrations.  That’s understandable.  After all, politicians become fair game simply because they chose to enter into the fracas called professional politics.  And yes, I realize that the term “Trolls” could also be considered pejorative as well.  You be the judge. But derogatory statements such as “your conservative retarded bubble” and “your pathetic life” clearly have no place in sincere political discourse.

Don Rickles may have built a career on stage by insulting people as part of a comedy act, but any considerate person realizes that the current situation playing out in the United States of America is anything but funny.  These are extremely serious times that will ultimately decide the fate of who we are as a nation and what our future holds. How serious?  Here is a sample of some of the disturbing Internet chatter this morning.  Each topic serves to illustrate gravity of the situation:

  • Yesterday, John Boehner made his remarks during the opening session of the 112th Congress.  Speaker Boehner said, “our spending has caught up with us and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy”.
  • Bill Daley, the Midwest chairman for J.P. Morgan Chase, who is also the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, will most likely be sworn in today as Obama’s next chief of staff.  He replaces Rahm Emanuel, who is now vying for mayor of Chicago.  The Chicago political machine continues to use its revolving door to the White House.  Nothing has changed with this administration.  They simply rearranged the chairs.
  • Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York is the outgoing chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  So you might think it’s surprising that he criticized the proposal for Congress to read the Constitution on the House floor.  Specifically, Nadler characterized it as “a ritualistic reading”, “total nonsense” and “propaganda“.  He continued by saying “you’re not supposed to worship your Constitution.  You’re supposed to govern your government by it”. Yet all evidence of the 111th Congress suggests a total disregard for that same Constitution that throttles unlimited government power.
  • Howard Dean spoke at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.  During his speech, he pejoratively described Tea Party Patriot members as racist and offered that they are “the last gasp of the 55-year-old generation”.  Considering that Democrats lost the House, he implies that the majority of Americans are racist, 55-year-old white people.  Its the same, tired, race baiting strategy of the Democratic party.
  • In her final press conference, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed “Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us.  It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.”  For the record, when she took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, the national debt was $8.7 trillion.  The day she stepped down four years later, it surpassed $14 trillion.  That’s correct, on the opening day of the 112th Congress, the national debt surpassed 14 trillion, which is perilously approaching our legal debt ceiling $14.3 trillion.  So much for the Democrat’s “mantra”.  It’s insulting.
  • Not to be outdone, Senate majority leader Harry Reid used his platform on the first day of the new Congress to proclaim, “The American people love government, but they don’t like too much politics and government”.  Again, that’s insulting.  The American people do not “love government”.  November demonstrated that we are sick of government’s unparalleled intrusion into every aspect of our lives.
  • Robert Reich, former secretary of labor and now professor at Berkeley, is now doubling down on his Socialists rhetoric in the midst of the complete failure of progressive ideology.

“Republicans are telling Americans a big lie, and Obama and the Democrats are letting them.  The big lie is that our economic problems are due to a government that’s too large, and therefore the solution is to shrink it.  The truth is our economic problems stem from the biggest concentration of income and wealth at the top since 1928”. In other words, this Berkeley professor believes that the United States federal government should continue to grow unimpeded. He also implies that big government is the solution to all problems. At what point does it become too big? Should it eventually take over the entire private sector? Should every US citizen work directly or indirectly for the benefit of the federal government?  I thought our country was founded on the opposite principle.

  • Gov. Quinn of Illinois is considering raising the state’s individual income tax rate by 66% in order to balance its books.  For the record, Chicago’s office vacancy rate is 17% downtown and 25% in the suburbs.  They have lost over 400,000 jobs in the Chicago area.  And yes, Chicago has been a political model for the White House.  That is hardly encouraging.
  • The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which is an arm of the U.S. Congress, recently revised its 2008 report.  CRS now believes that the United States is dangerously close to defaulting on its legal obligations.  They further admit that the consequences are unknown, both domestically and internationally.
  • Republican Darryl Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has called the Obama administration one of the most corrupt in history.  Is that a partisan viewpoint?  Perhaps, but before you disregard his statement, check out the 300 articles posted on the Obama White House Diaries.  That should give you some idea.

The short list above suggests that America is at a cross road.   So it begs the question, is the fight for preserving American concepts of individual liberty, personal responsibility and government accountability simply fodder for personal ridicule?  Should today’s center-right dialog be used as a prop in order to incite those trying to speak their mind?  Trolls may try to taunt and demoralize conservatives, but that will not stop the debate. The stakes are too high.

Yes, we have serious problems that need to be addressed by serious people.  This is not reality TV.  This is not entertainment.  This is real life.


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