“You may ask yourself, my god, what have I done?”
—Lyrics from “Once in a Lifetime”
by David Byrne
I was at a genuinely swell party last Saturday night at a stylish Baldwin Park address. The food and beverages were spread out over four rooms with drinks available by a glittering pool. I kissed the hostess and hugged the host.
I mingled. I chatted. I could not resist. While standing next to the dessert table (in the designated dessert room!) — and while eating brownies without even the good manners of placing them first on my plate — I asked the five folks who were generously piling sweets on their plates if they thought the Republican presidential debates would have the net affect of giving the election to the Democrats — so obviously asinine the GOP candidates, so infantile their beliefs, so absurdly simplistic their proposed policies.
One woman, taking my prompt, looked up from the assorted delicacies and cautioned against any such confidence. In a quiet voice she suggested, in so many words, that the American electorate is not particularly bright, that “we” could be likened to that famous quote erroneously attributed to P.T. Barnum that “There’s a sucker born every minute.” I nodded approvingly.
A couple — whose eyes immediately averted downward — quickly loaded up their plates with bonbons and the like and hastily made for the exit. They were going to have none of this! Hrumpf! Who is this cad? To suggest that the Republican nominees are asinine, infantile and simplistic! We thought this was a party! See if we RSVP next year!
Folks think that when I tear into Republicans that I’m blind to the shortcomings of the Democrats. But my gawd, not even my father (Mr. Republican) would go for these clowns. I think Rick Perry has even embarrassed Texans, which takes some doing. (Please recall George Bush.) Rick Santorum, if he ran the world, would outlaw birth control. That is the “pill!” What a joker! C’mon Ricky, not every woman wants 10 kids, whatever the number you’re working on. Amazing, isn’t it ladies, how men would ban birth control. If only. If only men were the ones getting pregnant. They might not be so cavalier in requiring women to have babies until their teeth fall out.
All of the candidates have swallowed the Grover Norquist/National Chamber of Commerce Kool Aid concerning taxes and government regulations. Taxes… bad! Regulations… bad! Government oversight… bad!
If only the marketplace was liberated, was free to work its bountiful magic. If only Ayn Rand’s Objectivism was the prevalent economic system, all would be “right” in America. (Oh! And don’t forget! God likes a good return on investment, too!)
The Gilded Age of Excess never happened in America. Teddy Roosevelt never felt compelled to break up monopolies. The Great Depression never occurred. America, today, is not inexorably moving to more wealth concentrated in fewer hands. And Noah loaded dinosaurs on the Ark.
Sometimes we have epiphanies. Humans are capable of change. I hope enough Republicans arise Election Day in a cold sweat and say, “My god, what have I done?” To my country. To America.
I don’t hold by breath.
Rather, let’s all hum along to these classic 1972 lyrics, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
Much more apropos.
Jepson is a 24-year resident of Florida. He’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal, likes art and embraces diversity of opinion. Reach him at Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US