It’s everywhere, and while it may by my memory playing tricks on me, I don’t remember so much “stupid talk” in the past. Gary Kiehne, running for Congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, claimed “[i]f you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99% of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people.” (Mr. Kiehne apologized promptly and unconditionally.)
Rep. Ted Yoho (Rep.-Fl.) said: “I’ve had some radical ideas about voting and it’s probably not a good time to tell them, but you used to have to be a property owner to vote.” And the National Review Online published a piece by A.J. Delgado on Monday, Crying Rape, which asks the question: Are women themselves being taught to believe they were raped? (Mr. Delgado answers his question in the affirmative.)
Et cetera, et cetera, yada, yada, yada!
I’m at a loss for what we as a society do about our public discourse. On some level it’s not important at all, for the A.J. Delgados (and Mark Rubins) of the world have keyboards and audiences of varying sizes—A.J.’s is surely larger than mine—and who really cares what we think. Even Mr. Kiehne’s comments don’t matter much, for he’s not likely to get elected. But Rep. Yoho sits in Congress, and has a vote on matters large and small. He does matter, he says lots of stupid things!
The real problem, I think, is the fact that we have big, big problems, and too many people in our public sector—elected officials, policy makers, and policy shapers—are not up to the task. Health care offered an opportunity for a real and intelligent debate about many issues that face us, and unlike most issues, we had the chance to see them macro and micro, and relate them to our lives. Sadly, we never had that debate, and not for want of effort and desire on the part of the advocates for the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act aka Obamacare. Instead, we got “death panels” (non-existent), “no one should get between you and your doctor” (as if that hasn’t been happening for decades with patients and their health insurers), and my favorite, “keep your goddamn government hands off my Medicare.”
I’m working on a long piece about what’s wrong and the steps we might take to fix them. Not optimistic in the least, but what’s the point of mouthing off almost every day if you’re taking a pass on the hard ones? Expect hard stuff soon!