In yet more evidence that the movie Idiocracy was in fact a prophetic documentary, President Obama has yielded to public pressure to do something about Ebola by doing something stupid, he has appointed yet another Czar. Despite the fact that "Ebola Czar" has kind of a poetic ring to it, one has to question what this appointment will accomplish besides adding another bloated salary to the deficit.
I guess we all had that friend when we were kids who would encourage us to do things against our conscience or our better judgement. Never would they engage in an intellectual discussion over the merits of shoplifting or sneaking out to a party. Never would they provide empirical data on how advantageous it was to commit acts of vandalism or join in underage drinking. Never would they participate in a reasoned debate as to the advantages of adolescent sexual activity or high speed driving on a dark country road. No, they used the one time proven tactic that has always worked to encourage the reluctant adolescent to do things against their will: "What? Are you scared?" Those simple words were the equivalent of the challenge of a duel. No longer was the advisability of the action the question; now it was your honor as a teenager that was on the line. It was the evolution of the young child's dare, and to prove that you feared nothing, even things that would rightly have been feared, you were obliged to participate in activities which left to your own you likely would have avoided. It's called peer pressure, and it doesn't vanish as we enter the world of adults; it only dons a slightly more sophisticated mask.
"I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you."
The skeptic philosopher Diogenes among other unusual proclivities would walk around in broad daylight with a lit lantern. When asked why, his response was that he was searching for an honest man. The clear inference was that hitherto his search had been unsuccessful, and that his expectation was that it would always be so. It would seem to be a tenet of modern day skepticism to echo Diogenes, especially when it comes to the political arena, and it has become a mark of sophistication to espouse the assumption that all politicians are liars. To admit to the imperfection of all human beings is a far cry though from equating the fallible with the depraved. Diogenes lamp is employed today less often to search for honesty as it is to illuminate dishonesty, make it appear pervasive, and in so doing excuse it as inevitable.
With the resignation of Eric Holder comes proof positive that even the inside circle is finally aware of what the politically savvy Clintons recognized months ago; the Age of Obama is over. Although Holder's resignation was not totally unexpected, the fact that it occurred before the election is no doubt a concession that the Democrats expect to lose the Senate, and need the time to have his replacement approved before the Republicans take over.
Now that the horse has escaped the barn and is running rampant through the middle east; killing infidels, pillaging cities, and cutting off heads; it would seem that President Obama has decided it is finally time to make some gesture toward closing the barn door. With ISIS acting with impunity and gaining strength daily, the President's speech seems to be an indication that he has at long last been dragged to developing some kind of strategy for dealing with them. It mostly seems to be that we are going to drop a lot of bombs, but keep our boots off the ground. I guess the "trainers" we will be sending won't be wearing boots, at least not combat boots. Sounds a little like Viet Nam. We will be a part of a "broad coalition" which seems to be largely invisible. The mission will be to "degrade and destroy ISIL", which must be words that rated well in a focus group, as the President keeps repeating them ad nauseum. Therein lies the problem with the Presidents response to this conflict, and the problem with many of the military actions we have taken since the Viet Nam war; it is an action dictated more by political expediency than a reasoned and militarily sound solution.
What if Superman was Clark Kent's disguise, instead of the other way around? I mean, what if Clark Kent only pretended to be a super hero in order to pursue his true calling of reporter at the Daily Planet? What if, when he was supposed to be fighting crime and saving Lois, he snuck away to a phone booth to become... ta da, "Clark Kent, intrepid reporter", and busily wrote his next article instead of saving the world? Is a hero a hero if he neglects to be heroic? Is a mighty man mighty if he refuses, or is unable to use his might? When is Superman not Superman?
Police officers are your friends. They are public servants. They are there to keep us safe from criminals. In a perfect world, these would all be statements that were always true. In an increasingly paternalistic and government dominated society, this is not the way many of our communities view law enforcement professionals. Rather, law enforcement is viewed as the overbearing or possibly even abusive parent, who is to be feared more than respected, hated rather than appreciated. Regardless of your interpretation of the facts in Ferguson, it is difficult to deny that much of the community and the others who have descended on the scene have little trust for white policemen. Aside from the motivations of a few of the activists who make their money from unrest, the distrust of the community for the police force comes from a perception that the police are their enemy. One can argue the rationality of this conclusion, but there is little doubt of its cause; the treating of law abiding citizens as though they were criminals. Persecution along side of prosecution. I am not one to see nefarious motives behind every action, but it is an undeniable fact in our history that blacks have often been treated as guilty until proven innocent by our law enforcement community and society itself. Trust is difficult to rebuild, and even innocent actions can be interpreted as aggression by the historical "enemy". I am not excusing the generalizing of enemy status to all law enforcement or even to all white people, I'm simply explaining it; and after all, whites have done a lot of generalizing of their own.
Proving that no portion of these fifty states is immune from liberal fascism, a Texas principal has essentially lost her job for requiring her students to speak English only on the campus. This same immersion technique was used by my high school Spanish teacher, of course with Spanish as the operative language, and is an effective strategy for learning language. The principal's reasoning was that since testing was to be given in English, it might be helpful if students were fluent in the language, supposing that graduating from high school and speaking the language of the country you live in might just be helpful toward insuring successful lives for her charges. "Silly principal... you're fired!"
"When a man's an empty kettle,
He should be on his mettle--
And yet I'm torn apart.
Just because I'm presumin'
That I could be a human
If I only had a heart..."
Yip Harburg, from The Wizard of Oz
It is the unique attribute of human beings that we are born with human hearts. I don't mean the the fist sized blood pump in our chest cavity, which is not essentially different than that of many other mammals; I am speaking of the figurative center of conscience, wisdom, and love... the thing that makes us human. Just as heart disease is common in the physical realm, these spiritual hearts are often found to be corrupted, often beyond resuscitation. The absence of a functioning human heart where one expects to find one, often leads people to seek elsewhere for the succor they had hoped to find in their fellow human beings. Unsurprisingly, they may gravitate toward the simpler hearts of pets, where expectations are lower and disillusionments rare. They join churches and clubs, or throw themselves into careers or hobbies trying to replace that which can only be found in one place. They imagine where man has failed, governmental structures, agencies and bureaucracies can succeed.
"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you? Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's a no go? Why things are what they are?"
William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Remember the days when Barack Obama was referred to as "the adult in the room"? As with the young it's a coveted position for a politician to hold, a perception they very much wish to convey. Unfortunately, saying it doesn't make it so, and desiring to be viewed as an adult doesn't always make you behave like one. Cover-ups, arrogance, belligerence, outright dishonesty, shirking responsibility while finding time for pleasure... these are not signs of adulthood, but of adolescence (though so-called adults often have a hard time moving past their adolescence!). It is unclear whether our adolescent President is the product of the nation, in Benjamin Button fashion, regressing from adulthood, or if the nation's further regression is part of Obama's fundamental transformation of America.