If the US taxpayers aren’t blue in the face tonight (Thursday), it’s never going to happen.
We had planned to write about Kevin McCarthy of California, Republican Representative, ready to assume John Boehner’s spot as speaker of the house. We believe we are not alone in wondering what the hell this twelve year old thinks he’s doing, beaming out at the Fox t.v. cameras on Tuesday and admitting publicly, proudly, that he and his playmates in Congress have squandered millions of dollars and wasted hundreds of hours of the US’s time and treasure setting up Hillary Clinton for a fall: squawking for months about the diplomatic killings in Benghazi, Libya, laying them at her door, accusing her of dereliction of duty.
Now, with a grin that is even younger than a twelve year old’s, McCarthy tells us that the entire operation was envisioned to defeat Mrs. Clinton in 2016, to see her polling numbers sag, to create doubt about her abilities and her loyalty to this country.
Whether or not one had planned to vote for Mrs. Clinton is beside the point. What matters is that all the anger and disappointment Americans feel towards their political leadership turns out to have been well and truly earned.
For years commentators and voters alike have wondered where an adult is when one is needed. What we now know is that there isn’t one on the Republican side of the aisle in the House. Millions of us have suspected this. Now we no longer have to even ask the question.
Unsuspectingly, we turned to television to hear what people were saying about Mr. McCarthy’s gang. What we see instead is pandemonium on an Oregon college campus where (at this moment) thirteen people have been killed, twenty-some wounded, by another lone gunman, sane or berserk. (Numbers later altered: ten dead, 7 injured.) His weapon of choice, naturally, was a firearm.
Ninety percent of the nation wants stricter gun purchase controls and background checks and has over and over again told Congress this. But of course, we now know Congress can’t hear us because they’re having so much fun fascinating each other with plots and conspiracies of a political nature. They’re not interested in public safety, or indeed in anything public, period. They’re strictly interested in keeping their jobs, their pensions, their social security and healthcare, their perks and travels, their book contracts, their positions on television and radio networks.
We knew all this before, too.
Just as we know that whoever the Oregon gunman was, his real problem was his mental health, not the availability and manufacture of handguns. Like every gunman since 20 children were killed in Connecticut in Newtown, his or her allegiance was to one or another gun-toting, rifle-bearing lobby financed by men like himself: unable to have grown up learning that there is a difference between what they see on film and actually experience in real life.
Yes, Virginia, actors get up and re-appear, often on the same show on which they’ve just been killed. More often, however, the same dead actors show up on another show somewhere else. You see – no one is really hurt when you shoot at them. And wait! Think how many bodies you can maim and demolish playing video games. No one ever bleeds out, no one loses a limb, no one is ever widowed. What is all this for? To persuade the public that the collection of income matters more than anything else in the world.
Not that any of this would matter to you. You’re exceptional. Just like your Congressman. Rules don’t apply to you. Society is other people, not you.
After a summer of fires in the west, of race riots and looting in the Midwest, we lose Yogi Berra and have to take Brian WiIliams back on MSNBC. ISIS is picking up steam. The Russians are proving to be as exceptional as we are. The stock market is disaster. People can’t find work. Refugees are flooding Europe as they haven’t since the end of World War II. Volkswagen will do anything for money. Funds are pledged to fight disease and hunger and homelessness, and the donors somehow forget to send their checks. Trying to find a decent presidential candidate is impossible, in either party.
You get a telephone call around six-thirty, just as you’re trying to stabilize your family at meal time… “Would you say the country is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?” a woman’s voice asks. (It’s only a voice. To have real pollsters would be too expensive and God knows our stockholders would …)
You have two choices: (a) to answer honestly, or (b) to hang up.
How, you wonder, did they get your phone number?
Exceptional is as exceptional does.