Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ring, Ring Goes the Bell....

I voted for John McCain last November. I am, point in fact, a registered Republican. I throw those two pieces of information out there - front and center - to set up this third piece of information. I feel compelled, with alarming frequency, to channel Captain Jack Ross (Kevin Bacon's character) from A Few Good Men. Particularly when - during the scene in the bar when Kaffee (Tom Cruise's character) tells Ross that Lt. Col. Markinson is going to testify for the defense at Dawson and Downey's court martial - Kaffee makes a rather scathing observation about the Marines in light of the conduct of Col. Jessep and Lt. Kendrick. Ross responds, "Don't you dare lump me in with Jessup and Kendrick just because we wear the same uniform."

Not having read the text of the President's address to the nations' schoolchildren until yesterday morning, I must confess that I thought all of the quasi-hysterical rants of the talking heads on the far right of the lunatic fringe was simply a ratings grab. After reading the remarks yesterday morning, I started to think it was something even scarier. It is not simply about ratings anymore. It is about dictating the debate on each and every issue of substance (and we have a number of them confronting us these days - just in case you and Rip Van Winkle have been bunking together) by an overwhelming frontal assault on our senses.

Once upon a time, it was the weight of one's position that carried the day in debate. Now, weight has been replaced by volume. Unless and until we come to understand that the sheer amount of noise any one individual makes - be it a "conservative" blowhard like Beck or Limbaugh or a "liberal" blowhard like Olbermann or Matthews - tends to belie and not underscore the strength of his position, these folks will retain an unwarranted amount of power to shape our public debate.

Remember the old PSA's from back in the day? "R I F" - Reading Is Fundamental. Do not simply rely upon the "world according to Coulter or Maher" to masquerade as knowledge. Go get yourself some. It is right here for the taking.

And let us tell those noisy morons on the far left and the far right of the room to sit down and shut the f*ck up. You and I are here to learn something. And all they are is a distraction.



-Phil P. said...

I believe it's all about perpetuating the cult of personality Obama has erected...

Adam Kenny said...

Candidly, I have two issues with that assessment of things (simply my opinion). First, the issue of the President of the United States speaking to the nation's school kids - and the opposing party freaking out about it irrespective of content - significantly pre-dates this administration. Second, I think Laura Bush summed it up nicely when she spoke of the fact that there is an absence of respect in this country for the office of the President, which also pre-dates this administration.

To me (to paraphrase my musical idol Mr. Springsteen), "it ain't a Republican thing, it ain't a Democratic thing, it's an American thing."

We've become a nation of folks who believe what we see and what we hear - as long as it comes from a source we favor. Intellectual curiosity is out of style.

Sorry, far too long a response to what was a wonderfully succinct comment. Thanks for reading - a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me - and for sharing your point of view.