Hey kids what’s going on here?

Big brothers know this tactic well at an early age. Right after Bobby smashes it, he yells out, Mommy! Little Timmy broke the lamp!

War on women. Class warfare. War room for political strategy. Environmental whackos and Feminazis. Thanks largely to Carl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk, the Republican playbook is fairly simple to glean. Whatever offense you are guilty of, accuse the other guys of it first. The more aggressive your approach, the more believable it must be. The same irony comes when we are educated about Reaganomics: Convincing poor people they can become rich by giving rich people more money. The gospel of prosperity may somehow glorify God, who actually asked people to be merciful, turn the other cheek and sell all your possessions.

This is the generation of irony, we must remember. Whatever is actually true, and a little study bears out the facts is much too straightforward for our times. There must be more to anything as simple as taxation, to the idea that a strong middle class yields a strong country and economic future.

The playbook gains strength when you win a few times with it, and it gains more lasting strength when it includes a few parts that are actually true. Morals really should be part of governing. Blindly throwing money at a problem is not a wise approach. There should be rewards for effort and success. Thus, the right has muddied the waters of truth. Mom needs to come into the living room, look around, and carefully ask, “What really happened with the lamp?”

There are only a few leaders who search for the truth as it is needed. I think the original was Walter Cronkite; Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one, and I would add Jon Stewart, Dick Lugar, David Souter, and a few others. Danger comes when anything smacks of idolatry of ideology, when skepticism loses to slogans, when dialogue is truncated by diatribe.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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One Response to Hey kids what’s going on here?

  1. JP says:

    I fear that if you’re looking for grown up behavior from our politics, you’re in for a long wait.
    It’s interesting that we always look to Cronkite as a paragon of virtue and someone who was the most trusted man in America, because that too is little more than another political myth. It was different in the much more limited media world with basically only the three networks. The myth comes from one poll in 1975 where 60% of Americans said they trusted Walter, just ahead of Kissinger with 59%. The headlines were simply Cronkite the most trusted man in America, and it stuck. Interesting how little we hear Henry Kissinger referred to as the second most trusted man in America. I’ve heard Jon Stewart referred to as a modern Mark Twain, and I think that is accurate. He may be the most high profile person in the country able to have substantive, civil conversations with those on the right and on the left. He is a liberal. Can anyone name a conservative doing what he is doing as far as having genuine discussion with the other side?
    No, literally throwing bundles of money at something isn’t wise, and I’m so tired of that meme I just tune it out. I’ve heard it endlessly from the Right for decades. Details please! Examples! Sound bites are just that; sound bites. They sound good and have little to do with reality. (Not saying money hasn’t been wasted; saying that the overgeneralization helps nothing.)
    Oh, and It’s Morning Again in America.

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