As you may have heard, there is this weird and awesome call on—in light of the shooting rampage of Jan. 8—for something called “civility.”
There are so many utterly bizarre aspects to this call. For starters, I find this word choice weird on its face.
“Civility” means you don’t fart in church. It means you don’t eat your co-worker’s lunch; it means you don’t stare at someone’s birthmark. Not communicating in such a way as to appear to be advocating political assassination is not “civility.”
It’s just common sense. It shouldn’t even bear mentioning. I mean, if you have to explain to your 12-year-old that it’s not nice to shit in his hand and throw it at people, it may be time to start looking into a tower to lock the kid in for the rest of his life.
So. I don’t think we’re actually talking about “civility” here. I think what we’re actually talking about is a big basket of “duh.”
The other thing that strikes me as odd about it is just the sheer absurdity of the logic at work. Somehow, “civility” wasn’t important before, not when a presidential candidate was being accused of “pal-ing around with terrorists,” or when the President is being likened to Hitler and to a voodoo witch doctor, or during the State of the Union speech or anything. No, it takes a horrific shooting rampage for our policy leaders to take up the cause of “civility?”
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something that seems somewhat…disproportionate.
But. Even if what we were actually discussing was “civility,” achieving such an aim would actually be impossible. Because in order to advance the policy positions advocated by the Republigoats, you pretty much have to be an asshole.
The over-arching philosophy that informs Republigoat politics, championed by the likes of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, is, in a nutshell, that a person is entitled to be an asshole, and there’s not a damned thing that society can do or say about it.
Consider the current debate, that over health care reform. The law as it stands provides breaks to small businesses, allows you kid to be on your policy until he’s 26, requires insurance companies to actually spend money on care, abates prescription costs for many seniors, disallows discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, bans annual and lifetime limits, bans rescsission, provides free preventive care, among a host of other reforms that benefit Americans, American businesses, and the American economy as a whole.
And one of the very first orders of business these assholes want to take up is to repeal it.
I’m sorry. But if your entire legislative aim is to take all of that good stuff away, you are an asshole. And there is no way in heck you’re going to be able to even begin to approach “civility.”
Remember, a Republigoat President VETOED HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN. Remember, Republigoats have repeatedly stood firm against extending unemployment while fighting like cornered rabid leopards for tax cuts for zillionaires. Remember, this guy
is a Republigoat.
He is also an asshole. That’s then Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a guy with an impressive baseball record but an abysmal record as a legislator. At the time, you might recall, Bunning was single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits. The reporter following him was merely seeking an explanation of such an asshole move. Bunning’s asshole position on the matter would later become business as usual for congressional Republigoats.
So long as one political party is slavishly committed to the notion that “free markets” can accomplish anything and that all Ameurka needs is to pull itself up by its own bootstraps*, do not expect there to be “civility” in American politics. The very policies pursued and advocated by the Republigoats render this hope to be impossible.
*a phrase originally coined to simply refer to an impossible task, by the way.