Search This Blog

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Baleful Trinity of Power, Alcohol, And Delusion

US lawmaker's aide draws ire over first daughter scolding
Washington (AFP) - A US lawmaker's communications director was facing social media calls she be sacked after her Facebook rant about President Barack Obama's daughters prompted widespread anger.

Elizabeth Lauten, spokeswoman for Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, wrote a scathing post to her Facebook account scolding Malia and Sasha Obama, 16 and 13, for looking bored while attending a public event with their father on Wednesday.

In the post...  Lauten tells the girls to "try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play."

The girls stood beside Obama -- looking vaguely bored -- as he issued the annual Thanksgiving turkey "pardon," saving two birds from the dinner table.

The underwhelmed expressions of the teenaged sisters sparked mainly amused comment, but Lauten's remarks were notably more caustic.

"Then again, your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter," Lauten wrote in her post.

"So I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department.
"Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you."
Supremely inadvisable Facebook posting. In fact, it is the type of social gaffe that we would expect Ms. Lauten to preach to young folk about not doing, something like,  "Once you post it on the Internet, it'll be there forever! Use some good judgement, youngsters!"

It was Thanksgiving. There was probably alcohol or other feel-good stimulants. It amazes me how easily we forget that feel-good stimulants very often leave us not feeling good, but that is a post for another day.

Ms. Lauten needs to realize that she deals in politics, not in religion and metaphysics. It is dirty, power-grubbing politics, and it has many participants, and each participant has different views. To pretend to be above it all with her own glorific vision of the shining city of the USA on some hill... probably overlooking some heavenly Jerusalem... is painful to watch as it meshes with her mud-slinging and self-demeaning nastiness.

It's politics, Ms. Lauten. It is the parliament of differences. If difference to you means a moral short-coming, what have you learned from your own mess?

The USA is no shining city on a hill.
There was plenty of good seasoned by lots of evil. The notion that somehow this country has a blessed history is the stuff of kindergarten tales.

The country had slavery, and that evil could not be negotiated out of existence. There was no politics able to deal with it, so began the great blood-letting of The Civil War.

At the same time, there began the genocidal war against Native Americans:
The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More
The opening of a national historic site in Colorado helps restore to public memory one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated on Native Americans
... When hundreds of blue-clad cavalrymen suddenly appeared at dawn on November 29, a Cheyenne chief raised the Stars and Stripes above his lodge. Others in the village waved white flags. The troops replied by opening fire with carbines and cannon, killing at least 150 Indians, most of them women, children and the elderly. Before departing, the troops burned the village and mutilated the dead, carrying off body parts as trophies.
Col. John Chivington led the raid. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division)

There were many such atrocities in the American West. But the slaughter at Sand Creek stands out because of the impact it had at the time and the way it has been remembered. Or rather, lost and then rediscovered. Sand Creek was the My Lai of its day, a war crime exposed by soldiers and condemned by the U.S. government. It fueled decades of war on the Great Plains. And yet, over time, the massacre receded from white memory, to the point where even locals were unaware of what had happened in their own backyard...

It seems to be our common condition to see things in black and white, we are either supremely good or we are incorrigibly evil; Wall Street is doing well or Wall Street is headed for disaster; it is the best of times or it is the worst of times... but not both: either Judgement Day or endless Progress to Utopia.

Politics is constant palaver and negotiation. If you make your opponent a devil, you impugn him and degrade yourself.

... and a "shining city" descends not into the valley of darkness violence.

Ms. Lauten goes on:
In her apology, Ms Lauten wrote: "After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were."

It really took you "hours of prayer" to see how nasty you were being? Others can see how crude it was even without having recourse to the Deity!

No comments: