Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stop Fighting, Start Fixing
Or, Don't Go Down Fighting, Just Go

When it comes to politics, I must admit to "fighting" fatigue. Hillary Clinton tells us she is fighting for families. Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX 17) tells us he is fighting for veterans and families not wanting welfare, but some other vague non-welfare welfare so their children get health care through SCHIP. All this political "fighting for" never addresses the fact that the "fighter's" victims/opponents are simply other American individuals and families that basically want to mind their own business and have others do the same.

Even in high school I thought the "fighting" word pretty stupid. I remember standing at parade rest in the end-zone, Friday Night Lights glaring, as the stadium announcer welcomed the "J. Frank Dobie Fightin' Longhorn Band." What a stupid statement: fightin' Longhorn band. Were we some sort of uniformed gang standing in the end zone looking for an opportunity to march onto the field clubbing our opposition with our musical instruments? Even then the whole "fighting for this" or "fighting for that" seemed inane.

Don't people ever just talk, come to a conclusion of the best course of action, and then proceed in an amicable fashion? Or have common sense and civility left us entirely? Has the the "fighting" mentality of the Contrary Generation been going on so long that they are incapable of accepting defeat when it comes their way? When the President vetoed Congress' expansion of an approved expansion of the S-Chip Bill, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX 17) told his constituents in his weekly WTAW radio interview that Republicans and Democrats needed to come together in "good faith" and write an (obviously identical) bill. The reality that the Democrat position was overruled was completely ignored.

The "good faith" line always reminds me of the rite of sharing a campfire with the caveat that I disarm myself while allowing my comrade to remain fully armed and dangerous. Common sense is the casualty of this wall/head banging, creating a psychological disconnect to reality. Senator Kennedy's fighting seems to be obsesed with water. And does Senator Kennedy really think he can pontificate the "torture of water boarding" when a number of people remember a poor girl drowning in Ted's Cadillac as he wandered the shoreline thinking how to save his political career? The irony of such a situation has the makings of magnificent farce; yet it is accepted as not only normal but profound. The shrill, viper-tongued, lamp-throwing Hillary is the champion fighting with, er, for ... the family? David Mamet--even Shakespeare--could not have written a more sublime farce.

As we enter this next year of political campaigning in earnest, any candidate using the F-words ("fighting for") instead of ardent declarations to defend our American strengths and values (the Constitution, our troops, free enterprise, individual freedom and family) should be instantly and firmly advised to get back to specifics. Irresponsible rhetoric attempting to engage fighting between fellow Americans is just plain tiresome. The republican (little "r") ideal of the best idea winning upon its own merit must resoundingly rebuke the F-words mentality of boilerplate bludgeoning that passes for political discussion.