Inspection- Loose, Nasty, Lips Sink Ships of State

 Has the way we increasingly “debate” politics brought the ship of state our forefathers brought us to this Titanic moment in time?
 ”Horseface?”
 REALLY?
 We might as well burn every Slim Whitman record and elect a REAL alien. The first may not be the worst idea I’ve ever had, the second I’m not sure rhetorically there would be much of a dif. And I must admit over the years I increasingly have felt like the aliens who tried to shut out Inspectionthe sound of Slim’s yodel-y voice.
 Politics has become the cotton candy of the rhetorical universe. Poison cotton candy. You might as well have Jimmy Jones sprinkling tainted Flavor Aid over it before handing the content-less, substance empty, confection over to the electorate and our children. Might as well have WWE wrestlers slamming chairs over each other’s heads, or the Stooges bonking each other, running for office.
 This is the way “adults” behave?
 If so there are children more wise, more mature, more adult-acting in preschools. Maybe we should elect them. Today’s kids know “bad touch” better than our president, maybe a certain Court bound frat boy, maybe even Al Franken. Maybe.
 You know why I typed it that way, right? Accusations are not fact. They probably should count more than they did during a certain job interview, and regardless of the attempts by some; even on the left, to rhetorically turn Kavanaugh’s testimony into a trial: job interview was exactly what it was. Convict you? NO. Hire you? Maybe not.
 BTW, why the hell should I care what Trump thinks of Stormy, or Hillary, or… ? We have gotten so damn far away from issues we might as well ask Bill Gates’ people to design InsultBot 2020 for our next presidential. Maybe not: “he” would probably just commit botocide, for at least one of the reasons our suicide rates rocket upward. Daily discourse has increasingly become far more nasty since loose lips say whatever the hell they want to say.
 I blame all of this on framing, and every side is participating, often with great glee. IT MEANS NOTHING. I must admit I have a weakness I need to resist. The next pol who’s running for office who says without a sneer, with all honesty, “My worthy opponent;” I damn well might vote for them.
 We have taken bully tactics to a new level. Giving someone a rhetorical wedgie proves nothing, convinces no one: it simply satisfies those who refuse to debate and discuss with respect. We have rhetorically taken “no unilateral disarmament” to insane levels.
 Claims that an opponent is going to bankrupt the nation, bring back Communism, wants to molest you or is actually the leader from Mars Attacks! mean nothing. What did you expect them to say; “Elizabeth Warren has it right, we NEED universal health care?”
 I am not going to pretend any side is pure. I am well aware of LBJ’s nuke ad in the 60s aimed at Goldwater. The interesting thing is as time passed many on the left learned Barry was more moderate than they thought; certainly more moderate than many who followed, but even Lee Atwater finally admitted he had gone too far. Recently it was released that he also admitted Monkey Business was a hit job on Hart.
 I type all this not to slam any one side, but to point out this is doing us no favors, a case could easily be made the quality of our leaders has gotten steadily worse as this tit for tat has increasingly infected politics to the point it’s all we do. It has also empowered stupid people who won’t bother to look into the nuances of policy: what works, what doesn’t, what can be made better, what probably can’t. Name calling and accusation have become the true “fake news;” as well as that content-less, empty, phrase that amounts to “SHUT UP!”
 No one has to shut up. No one. But we do need to ‘smart up.’ We are an embarrassment to our children. Adults often are: problem is how little “adult” applies these days.

                                                    -30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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