I click on random news items from my Comcast homepage regularly. It’s a bad habit and wastes a colossal amount of time, but I’m pretty much addicted to any link where someone “slams” someone else. Jen lashes out at Angelina! Rosie rips Oprah! Axl hammers Slash! Mayer porks Bieber! Boehner shanks Barney Frank! In almost every instance the actual confrontation turns out to be some mild disagreement or manufactured insult and it reassures me how enticing the prospect of public confrontation is, and how rarely it delivers. Monetary scandal, sexual transgression, and celebrity shit-talking are the three muses of modern entertainment, but even the actual goods like Bernie Madoff or Tiger quickly devolve into a wearisome parade of carefully-worded statements.

Which is why the commentary following each link is so fascinating. Unlike a boozy Federline massaged by his handlers after slagging someone outside the Viper Room, anonymous posters sink their claws into one another openly and viciously. There are few ramifications in airing these opinions and therefore zero self-censorship, which is not only liberating but possibly the single most honest reflection of what the internet purports to be. Until you’ve read about twenty posts. And then skimmed through twenty more. A vast majority tend to be both grammatically cubist and intellectually constipated, a fact which doesn’t seem to lessen their number or frequency. It baffles me that anyone has the endurance to continue shouting into a collective wind with so little prospect of being heard. Why, for instance, did Ponygirl54 feel the need to share her thoughts on the Kyoto Accords beneath yesterday’s review of The Blind Side? What inner turmoil drove Shahbagger9 to respond by calling the Octomom a douche? Even Budonkadonk66’s wife can’t possibly care about his musings on North Korean intransigence, can she?

I didn’t. Until a few weeks ago, when I was reading an article on the passage of health care (Fox gutshots Pelosi!) that included a transcript from one of Glenn Beck’s radio shows. Beck polished all his usual trinkets: Ronald Reagan (awesome), global warming (feh), socialism (deviltry), William Ayers (still whispering in a certain ear), ACORN (ha-ha, cornholes), and the evils of progressive thought (even more evil than suspected, run!) before sharing an uncanny knowledge of the Founding Fathers’ takes on a variety of contemporary issues. It turns out John Jay would not be feeling the stem cell research. Ben Franklin would almost certainly have eaten his wig (Whig?) over the usage of reconciliation. And Alexander Hamilton was practically born to open-carry a Tec-9 into the Weehawken Starbucks. Which makes nothing particularly clear, except that if the Founding Fathers’ original intent was to be regularly fellated by a gin-soaked Elmer Gantry who two centuries later would make a fortune grafting his wholly divergent thoughts onto their defenseless backs, it has certainly come to pass. At any rate, beneath this particular article was a truly endless scroll of posts, a group of responses so lengthy and virulent they glowed like a lump of iridium. I spent hours re-reading every last one. Opinions decamped along the entire political spectrum, from Incest Militia Right to Kennedy Martini Left, but each was crammed with its own particular brand of fury and invective. The voices were so unrelenting that after a while I began to suspect I’d stumbled upon something greater than its individual parts. Like the Virgin Mary’s face scorched into a tortilla, these posts may not have been just a random wishful representation. Maybe they were a message. To me. A perfectly chosen, mathematically precise cross-section of voices representing the utter and incurable dysfunction that is 2010 America.

Later that day I was jogging down by the waterfront, wondering what my discovery meant. Sure, advances in technology allow us to do things even Prince couldn’t have conceived of in 1999. Chat Roulette. Live-Cam Chubby Dorm. The ability to, without government interference or restriction, refer to one another as “dogz” on the Tool Academy website. But have these things, in the end, actually improved our ability to communicate? Further, was it possible for someone (me) to pull on a few yards of sackcloth (itchy) and write the rare lucid yet conciliatory post that didn’t scream, accuse, or alienate? That tried to incorporate the valid points of both Right, Left, and nougat-filled Middle? That could, like Martin Luther nailing 95 pixelated theses to a message board door, kick off a revolution of non-partisan thought?

Probably not. But I decided to try. So I sat down without reflection or guile, attempting to be as open and honest as I possibly could, a human Camp David. I avoided saying obvious things like “if you drive a Hummer in 2010, there’s a lonely nub where your penis should be.” I avoided mentioning the cash-besotted freedom-ride that is Sarah Palin in any way. I ignored the fact that the last time I attempted to join one of these conversations, the only direct response I got was “Yer a fag.” And although I responded by saying “Well, no, but it’s tempting to join, if only because of how apoplectic being gay makes those who decry government intrusion in their lives while trying to legislate my orgasm.” To which I got no response at all. Nevertheless, as I warmed up the keyboard, I felt weirdly confident and newly attuned to my fellow countrymen.

Here’s what I wrote back on the Beck stream:

 

We are all Americans, are we not? Why do we persist in acting like all liberals are evil and all conservatives stupid? There was a time in this country when most people recognized, despite their party’s current electoral success, that the duty of government was to find common ground upon which to pass legislation. Congressional leaders are now so locked into a continual cycle of re-election campaigns, media baiting, and ideological tactics that they are unable to take stands according to their conscience or constituents. Polemical commentary from both FOX and MSNBC hand-feeds the inertia. Far Right television propaganda is brilliant at manufacturing false divisions and corrosive to reasoned thought. The far Left propaganda arm is scandal obsessed and too whiny to be corrosive to anything. Both sides can flash all the pie charts they want, but no one truly knows if the health care bill will lower our deficit in the long term. In a decade we’ll look back on its passage as a decision of either brave genius or unbelievable folly. Meanwhile, entitlement Ponzi schemes continue to gobble both liberal and conservative dollars. George Bush failed to address them for eight years, mostly because he’d already spent his lunch money on Colin Powell’s WMD/Yellowcake tour. So if not this bill now, what and when? The only people who’ve won during Our Year of Procedural Ploys are the insurance companies. And the Chinese, who nurse our debt. Why can’t we pull together and stop using liberal and conservative as epithets and craft legislation that may not be perfect or ideologically pure, but at least represents movement? (yes, I realize it’s because lobbyists now pretty much write the bills themselves, but let’s stay on point.) Barack Obama won the presidency with a clear majority. Allow him to enact his agenda. In three years, if his decisions seem unwise, vote Romney. Or Non-Lesbian Cheney Daughter. It’s clear the congressional minority is willing to stall away all of our lives as a cynical campaign tactic. Why doesn’t this infuriate across party lines? The wearisome McConnell/Kyl/Boehner refrain that they are “not being heard” neglects the fact that their voices are justifiably marginalized because their side lost. Democrats loathed George Bush and frequently acted in their own self-interest during his administration, but they still managed to find compromises on many of the bills he proposed while hugging the pommel horse like Ving Rhames over the ones they couldn’t live with. That’s how politics works. Being in power sometimes means having the freedom to fail spectacularly. If John McCain (sadly broken by Karl Rove in South Carolina in 2000 and now without a single genuine conviction except remaining in office) had been elected president I’d be making the same argument: he won, let him do his thing, and in a couple of years we’ll check back and see, since no matter what demented legislation he proposed while trying to metabolize a Cialis bubble it couldn’t possibly be worse than our current gridlock. So the time has come to be honest about the sources of our anger. Disagreeing with the president, our president, is not the same as constantly questioning his legitimacy. Americans who claim to be patriotic but cavalierly wave placards of Obama with a Hitler mustache are exercising a speech which is not only not free, but void of both historical context and moral root. Americans who hold signs bearing conveniently truncated quotations about “the blood of tyrants” or “taking our country back” are really saying that our president should not be allowed to act on promises made during a winning campaign that sixty-five million people voted for. Which is, in effect, saying that they do not believe in representational Democracy. They do not believe in voting. Their patriotism is malleable and dependent upon being governed by someone who simply touts their narrow interests. Can it be true that every single thing Obama stands for is utterly wrong and false? It’s a seductive idea, because jettisoning nuance is an underrated pleasure. Particularly with language. Like when Tea Partiers say “Obama’s a socialist” what they really mean is “I have zero clue what socialist economics actually entails, but it makes it easier to hide the fact that I wish my head of state were more alabaster.” When they say “Obama’s a Muslim” what they really mean is “If I can attribute to him interest in a religion that’s safe to publicly ridicule, I can more easily call him things that should otherwise have me arrested for sedition.” When they say “Obama was not born in this country”, what they really mean is “Sure it’s a state, but Hawaii is on the very far left of most maps, and, frankly, that makes me uncomfortable.” The unpleasant truth is that Republicans and Democrats both have valid ideas. They’re also both represented by those who do nothing but parrot taking points and flash capped teeth. Scandal is not aberration, it’s inevitability. This very second John Ensign’s parents are writing a fatter check, Eric Massa is snorkeling his own private reef, and Larry Craig 2.0 is pulling The Wide Stance in some Capitol Hill bar stall. We are all weak, vain, duplicitous, and unable to consistently curb our uglier impulses. But we are not all running for public office. When our three major qualifications for election are raising money, going to a church where in the history of videotape the preacher has never said anything remotely controversial, and being the candidate who most effectively sublimates their personal brand of kink, we will continue to get exactly the representation we deserve. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are the same person: marionettes hired by network-owning billionaires whose political ranting is calculated not only to reinforce what we already believe, but to convince us to buy burgers, cars, and other burgers. We are constantly made to hate things that have no value while being blinded to the advantages enjoyed by the ruling class (by which I mean not Democrats or Republicans, but generational affluence). There were no Tea Partiers railing about a “redistribution of wealth” while George Bush’s deficit-financed tax cuts passed, mostly because more than fifty percent of the benefit went to the top five percent of the economy. Cash is its own lobby. And that money will trickle down eventually. Of course, when it does it’ll be in the form of frozen piss dumped by a commuter jet bound for Cleveland, but at least it’ll create thousands of new jobs in the umbrella industry. Fomenting anger over meaningless social issues is a diversionary tactic that goes all the way back to Millard Fillmore insisting Christmas be re-named Millardmas. Or at the very least Christmard. From flag burning (Iran Contra) to swift boating (Enron) to the notion that somewhere lurks a generic family by which to gauge what constitutes family values (Goldman Sachs), a succession of wealthy people have repeatedly and cynically increased that wealth by dangling the Carrot of Irrelevance high above all our heads.

It is time, friends, that we begin hating things that actually matter.

Together.

 

 

Of course, it should come as no surprise that my comments were absolutely pilloried. By the time I’d posted, the thread had gone cold. But once my words went up, the coals were stoked, and within hours a frenzy of responses stretched the server limit. I was called every possible name, from Marxist to Dickhead to Dave Matthews fan (ouch!), but the only one that really bothered me was unpatriotic, which I take to mean there are those who will always remain blind to the ridiculousness of their certainty, even while identifying the ridiculousness of mine. The bottom line is that I don’t need to be agreed with. But I do want to be listened to. At least long enough to argue that discourse is only a slightly dirty word.

 

 

 

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SEAN BEAUDOIN's latest novel is Wise Young Fool. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Onion, the San Francisco Chronicle and Spirit, the in-flight magazine of Southwest Airlines. www.seanbeaudoin.com.

44 responses to “Writer Slams Dick Armey, Kiss Army Snubbed”

  1. Marni Grossman says:

    Maybe this is my liberal, Seven Sisters education talking, but I’m not sure that I take your point that Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck are one in the same.

    I’m not an Olbermann fan. He often seems self-important, pompous, and vaguely misogynistic. That said, he doesn’t seem to incite violence in the same way that Beck does. Olbermann likes to wag his finger and stare daggers, but he rarely seems to be calling, “off with their heads!”

    That said, I enjoyed reading your reasoned, even-keeled comments.

    • Well, it’s true saying Beck and Olbs are the same is more rhetorical device than reality, but they both have their shtick and neither does much beside confirm what their audience/ad demo already believes. The real question is, which one would you rather have come to your party? Being cornered at the keg by a weeping Beck would be far more entertaining than being hectored by a double-dipping Olbermann I’m guessing.

  2. alice Jones says:

    Listen Dickhead….You really can write.

  3. Katie says:

    Here here! I, an admitted liberal, have been making that point about Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck for quite some time. While I think that Beck takes things a little bit further and gets a lot more outlandish (the Nazi stuff and what not), centrist media (I’ve given up on the idea of neutral media) no longer exists. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  4. Thomas Wood says:

    Sean, Fantastic.

    You’ve touched on a few points that really matter to me. First, the ridiculousness of the road-rage that seems to come from internet commenting anonymity. Second, the ridiculousness of discourse between sides whose entire rhetoric can both be reduced to “yay us, boo them.”

    First, the commenting. I tried to write a few funny comments on a blog who’s sole purpose is a weekly update of naked-lady photos. The comments were not taken well. And when I wrote about it in my own blog, I was ransacked by the mob. “Douche, fag, dick, imbecile, moron” etc. And it’s funny because I actually take a lot of the stuff personally.

    I think maybe you and I might have the same optimism, hope, naiveté in the end, which is that intelligent writing will overcome knee-jerk reaction. I think that if I write something thoughtfully, with a voice that clearly demonstrates a willingness to debate or, at least, banter, that I’ll be heard.

    But I can’t argue that I’m a douchebag (which I probably am) nor that I spend all my time hammered in San Francisco’s hipster paradise, Dolores Park, waxing my oh-so-ironic mustache and itching to get back on the open road on my fixed-gear new bicycle (which is only half true on all accounts).

    Second, the party politics bit. There’s got to be some scheme we could hatch to avoid all the useless rhetoric. I’ll be thinking.

    Fan of your style.

    • Thanks, Thomas. The Fixed Gear Mafia! Man, that’s an article right there. Aren’t they digging up Delores Park? It’s a metaphor for something. Not sure what, but as long as you name-drop Ferlinghetti you’re probably safe.

    • Carl D'Agostino says:

      You are right, It is” all yay us , boo them’ on the news article comments and no matter what the topic from strings beans to volcanoes to fire ants or the hubble telescope the Palin mockers spew their stuff and the Obama haters spew their stuff and the right are called Nazis and the left are called commies. And in none of it is there a sensible rational argument for alternative views or a critical analysis of an opposed policy. And no matter what the pro Jewish or pro Palestinian arguments get infused, that lady about Jesus stuff is in every one of the comments re stories. I am very worried about the sanity of our country

  5. Joe Daly says:

    OK, this is literary gold.

    First, I learned long ago that flamers and keyboard warriors care little about reason, right, wrong, consistency, spelling, or the subject they are discussing. Too often, message boards are simply a wireless sandbox, with everyone throwing sand, closing their eyes, and jabbering, with the inane expectation that somehow someone will change the way they think because of one of their posts.

    Secondly, amen to everything you said. God forbid someone express opinions that contain elements of Democratic and Republican platforms. Or *gasp* something outside of those two parties!

    I now keep my fool mouth shut with regard to politics. Especially on Facebook, where people seem to think that outrage and “clever” Facebook groups constitute productive political discourse, and that by posting some random article they found online, they can change someone’s view of the world.

    Phew! You’ve got me all fired up now! Thanks for the killer piece.

    • Thanks, Joe. Is now the time to mention that I love the Velvet Underground? Hey, if you really want a track list, I’d be happy to make one. Loved your take on people getting mad at you for having the temerity to be bored silly by their musical heroes. There’s a direct political correlation to that line of thinking. All Rush songs, incidentally, are note-for-note analog representations of what it feels like to be a furtive 13 year old self-pleasurer. So if you hate Rush, you hate that part of yourself. Just a theory.

      • Joe Daly says:

        >>There’s a direct political correlation to that line of thinking.<<

        So true. If I don’t like their band, I must not be a real music fan. Yes, that extends perfectly into the political realm.

        And I appreciate you cracking the Rush code for me. I thought I was onto something when I tried to take the first letter of each verse and cross-reference it with the chord being played during that first word of the verse. Using the mixolydian scale, I then was able to create an algorithm that spat out binary code that I used to translate into French, then back into English. Until now, I thought all Rush songs were about “dessert.”

        Fire away with the VU playlist! I promise to approach with an open mind.

  6. admin says:

    Christ, Sean.

    I feel like you just performed some sort of exorcism.

    Well done.

    And welcome!

  7. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    Thanks for this lucid piece. If only the phrase “grammatically cubist and intellectually constipated” could be plastered across the top of all political message boards like a warning label.

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    Man. Trying to bring reasonable discourse to the Wild West of the internet… Wyatt Earp himself would have gone down bleeding in a dozen places from the avalanche of lolfag!s.

    But I applaud your effort. And your well-reasoned, and well reasonable piece.

    Welcome aboard, Sean!

  9. Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz says:

    As always, just.so.good. I’m exhausted – from absorbing, contemplating, and laughing.

  10. chris says:

    Wow, amazing post. Just need to collect up my brains off the desk by scooping them into a cup here and I’ll be all set.

  11. Jimmy O'Hara says:

    You write of a new kind of distance a new sort of isolation and alienation -a product of our time and this new kind of space — no one listens – everyone listens – the common man has lost representation and his words are shorn of relevance because they are embedded in the Babeling streams. Yet, because he has a keyboard, he thinks he is qualified as an observer and a leader and a follower. This isn’t discourse — this is talking to imaginary friends and enemies.

    Bottom Line:
    When was the last time you saw someone change their mind?

    • Thanks Jimmy. You raise a good point. I’m fairly sure I’ve never seen anyone genuinely change their mind, but I have seen innumerable people change their stripes. I also think “Babeling streams” might be the name of my new cover band.

  12. Ian Brady says:

    screw you!
    your probibly a comunest anyway

    • Thank you! Someone finally willing to slag me. My adherence to communism is largely dependent on this year’s potato yield. Otherwise, I’m switching to a Hugo Chavez brand of populism. Or, wait, is that misspelling a brilliant piece of covert irony? I’m a Throbbing Gristle fan, too, so I get the feeling Ian Brady might be an alias. Either way, Ian, thanks for weighing in. Consider me screwed.

  13. Lisa Naymik says:

    Wow, that was even more satisfying the second time around. Thanks for an incredible piece of writing.

  14. Erika Rae says:

    “Grammatically cubist” is my new favorite phrase!

    Sean, welcome to TNB! This is a fantastic debut and I’m glad to read such a beautifully (and comically) phrased call for civility and intelligence.

    Also, I can’t believe there’s another Budonkadonk out there. (Bearing fist to sky)

  15. aggie "o" says:

    Wow…. So well thought out and articulated. What a gift. I look forward to more commentary.

  16. Paul Ollinger says:

    you’re stoned out of your damn mind, you Commi-freak! Why don’t you go give Bill Maher a handy.

    (Hi, Sean. Tell Cathy I said hello)

    • What makes you think Bill and I haven’t already shared “a moment”? Probably the same thing that has Cathy’s lawyer wrangling for 73% of our real estate holdings.

  17. […] a new column at The Nervous Breakdown that looks like it’ll be required reading. Check it out here. The second is a terrific piece from William Greider, whose book Come Home America is on my […]

  18. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Just started to participate/comments news stories. The illusion that I was participating in adult political and social discourse was quickly eliminated.

    No matter what the topic from string beans to volcanoes the Palin haters, Bush haters, and priest haters for some reason unknown to me insert their nonsense into the conversation. On the left, everyone who disagrees is a Nazi.

    When they say it’s in the Constitution it usually isn’t. If it’s in the Bible that’s literal fact to some and it usually isn’t in the Bible anyway.

    As a history teacher 33 years I am astonished at the number of misrepresentations and downright ignorance.

    Few of the people can spell and at least 20% resort to insults and name calling instead of offering alternative views.

    The only ones that really get read or rated are the first 100 or the last several, so if you’re interested in seeing how your opinion was rated, forget it.

    Some don’t know the difference between a term paper and a comment, above company excluded of course.

  19. Jordan Ancel says:

    I love this post, Sean. It is so irksome to read these inane comments online. They remind me of when some heckler asked Barney Frank how he could support “Nazi tactics” in regard to health care reform, and he responded by saying to the woman, “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to talk to a coffee table.”

    These flamers of of the same ilk.

  20. Kim Schavey says:

    Lordy, Sean, thank you so very much for the resonance of unity that enveloped me as I read your “comment.” I have almost given up on even scrolling to where the comments begin, because any real news, good news, insightful analysis would be tainted by the profanity and illiteracy which followed.

    We’re having a little thing called the Sydney Writers Festival down here in a week and a half. I think you should jet down (just don’t fly Emirates, your post might have been misconstrued by some bureaucrat somewhere). Raj Patel, who is apparently your pimp, turned me on to your post. He’ll be there. And Bill Maher’s main bitch, Chris Hitchens. Maybe he’ll bring Bill. I volunteer to do the handy.

    I would be honored to buy all you all a couple of beers. And beer is better down here than up there.

    • Hi Kim

      Man, I’d love to jet down for the Fest. Throw down with you and Hitch. Been meaning to get to Sydney my whole life. You’re right though, I may now be on a No Fly List. And if Raj is my pimp, I need to upgrade to someone with a flashier suit, but I’m glad he connected you to my post. Hoist one with him for me.

  21. Greg Hansen says:

    An interesting and incite full read Sean! It confirms what I have long suspected, there is more to you than meets the “word”. I appreciate your observations, and ability to articulate your message, with out being mellow dramatic. I can stay with your writing to the end, without losing interest, and am a little disappointed when I do come to the end, because I want to read more. Intellectually constipated, how do “you” come up with this? These witty phrases that I find thru out your work – you should keep track of them, and publish it as a separate piece of work, I would buy it! I am looking forward to reading more, keep up the good work Sean!

  22. Thanks, Greg. Actually, you’re pretty good yourself. Incite Full. Can I steal that? Anyway, thanks for the kind comments. New post coming very soon….

    • Greg Hansen says:

      That’s funny Sean! I didn’t even realize I had wrote incite full instead of insightful, I think subconsciously I meant to though. Yes, please steal it, I would be honored 🙂

  23. Zara Potts says:

    Fantastic.

    Welcome to TNB. It’s going to be a lot of fun having you around I can tell.

  24. Props Sean on the shoutout from a Colbert Report writer.

    “Should be required reading,” he says.

    Pretty dang cool.

    As for your article here. Loved it. And I feel you on being called unpatriotic and the annoyance that brings. About 12 years ago, I created my first website. I was 16. Had a guestbook. One day I hop on my site to check it out and I’ve got like 30 new comments. Apparently, relatives of mine had discovered my website, sent the links to all of their friends, and I was getting slammed big time. Not that I really cared. My political beliefs are pretty much the opposite of theirs. Over and over again, I got comments like, “If you don’t like it here, move” and “you’re unAmerican” or “unpatriotic.” They totally missed the point of what I was writing. Completely. Entirely.

    I’m all about giving credit where credit is due. I’m originally from a very conservative place. Where I live now is what would be called “progressive,” or as Glenn Beck likes to say, “code for communist.”

    Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are the same person: marionettes hired by network-owning billionaires whose political ranting is calculated not only to reinforce what we already believe, but to convince us to buy burgers, cars, and other burgers.

    Thank you for that sentence.

    Both commentators annoy the schlit out of me. They make everything right/left, black or white. I’m not sure if the media will ever change in this country but sheesh I can at least wish more people got their news from PBS and NPR than where they get it today. And the internet has made reinforcing one’s beliefs so much easier.

  25. Hey Jeffrey

    Funny you mention your move from Birmingham to Berkeley. I wonder sometimes if living in a super “progressive” location is as much preaching to the choir as listening to the pundits. Is being surrounded by organic chard and anarchist collectives as much a detriment to reasoned thought as living in the middle of a monster truck pull? I mean, once you’re too pandered too anywhere along the spectrum it becomes impossible to see other viewpoints. “You can have my Chomsky t-shirt once you pry it out of my cold, dead hands….”

  26. Mike Reed says:

    Sean, I’ve been reading your stuff for what seems like decades now – it just gets better and better. I hope for decades more.

    As to your “comment”, it was so comforting to discover something on the net that appeared to have been written by an adult…not many of them still around or it would so seem.

    Couple of remarks
    – congrats to Marni for “even-keeled” – Excellent!
    -sunday morning/waiting for the man/femme fatale/venus in furs/heroin/i’ll be your mirror…a weak list to be sure but not unlike other lists I am wont to uncork, usually at inopportune times.
    -Carl, I as well am frequently amazed and more than a little disheartened that the literalist Christians’ dogma has so very little to do with the Book they claim to accept so unreservedly.
    -Our Country – Our Constitution. Most people who claim to adore the Constitution are likely to actually be mainly enchanted with the Declaration and thus less in touch with the real America than the Ideal (or idea) of America.
    -The Constitution as originaly, somewhat hastily and more than a little irascibly, patched together wasn’t a very freedom granting instrument. The amendments (thank you James Madison) have been the major mileposts along our development as reasonably free people.
    – As to our government, it may still be the best of all possible such, but it is antiquated to say the least. “America is such a young country” is often used to placate or tolerate us. Not true…just the opposite is the case.
    We are a “young people” but actually one of the very oldest countries extant…older than virtually any other in the western hemisphere or Africa, Ethiopia being something of an exception…Egypt is only a continuing name for a very changed entity). The same is true of most of Asia. We’re have been a country longer than Italy! or Germany!…
    And, as a government we must be older than about 95% of all others. France has had any number of governments in past two centuries and in Italy it sometimes seems like the government of the month. England, with an unwritten constitution may claim a continuing government but they would be hard pressed to make believers of Edward “Longshanks” or George III.
    My point, if feebly made, is that while our Constitution and the government upon which it is based are very much to be venerated by both the right and the left (middle?) they are also, in another sense, venerable. It might be well for all of us to work together to continue ” …form(ing) a more perfect union.

    Once again, thank you Sean for providing an fine example of a voice of reason…at least in writing…but, then, you do more and more seem to be striving to become a more perfect author …and person.

  27. Wow, Mike. Great thought-provoking comments. Is that actually possible from a fellow VU fan? Or a James Madison fan? Particularly like the little-mentioned disparity between the ideal of what the Constitution is supposed to stand for being transposed into a “favorites” list from the Declaration. And any post that mentions “Longshanks” automatically goes way up in my estimation. Thanks for taking the time to air your refreshingly cogent thoughts.

  28. Greg Olear says:

    Weehawken Starbucks. Ha!

    Not sure if someone said this already on the boards, but it seems relevant:

    “In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary, patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.” – Ambrose Bierce

  29. […] no one can accuse him of claiming he can see a foreign nation from his front porch.  Not even Dick Armey, or some Internet troll.  Heck, he once edited a zine called Zapruder Head Snap.  In fact, he can pretty much solve every […]

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