Inspection- Knee Jerk-ism Isn’t Just for Liberals Anymore

Knee jerk-ism isn’t just for Liberals anymore.

And it never was.

The old man started the story…

“When I was a teen and part of the New Conservative movement, no, not “Neo” as represented by Bush II, Bachmann, Beck and their ilk, but ‘New’ as in Buckley and Goldwater, I remember my father ranting about “‘knee jerk Liberals….'”

Damn, I am getting old and sounding more and more like Grandpa Simpson, ain’t I? Hopefully this story goes “somewhere” for you, unlike my toon-ish twin’s stories.

Back then I was a bit too young to recognize the fact that knee jerkism was not a disease inflicted only on one side of the partisan divide. But I was getting to that realization. And not “slowly.” It became obvious the partisan divide was a two way street when it came to knee jerk-ism when I noticed big “jerks” from my father, like when Gays became a big target, suddenly the man who had said squat about Gays was ranting about them as if just the letters G-A-Y spelled the end of all existence. When the Right got super Christian suddenly the man who hinted at being Agnostic and told me my mother was probably still alive in another dimension, or plane of existence, was going to a bible thumping church. I don’t mean to pick on my father: I noticed it amongst many of my Con friends, including my best friend Glen from Junior High.

Never guess who invited him onto the Conservative bus back in the Buckley days?

Oh, the damage I have done… sigh.

When Glen climbed on board he said he hated the disrespect Liberals showed towards Conservatives. The last time we talked he was spouting Rush-isms. You know, the kind that exhibit the same kind of disrespect, only for the Left? Glen was very pro-union. Want to bet now he’s anti?

The current Libya argument is a perfect example of knee jerk-ism on the Right. John McCain demands we go into Libya. Barack goes in. McCain’s knee jerks right up into his own bottom jaw as we hear, “Too late!” “Not hard enough!” “Not fast enough!” “We should just take Qaddafi out!” “He didn’t get permission!”

Hey John! Are these cue cards you’ve created in advance just so you’ll have some old man grumpy, Neo Con approved, knee jerk thing to say no matter what Barack does? Seems all I ever hear from the man who so desperately wants to be the extreme Right’s bitch is, “Bitch, bitch, bitch.”

Ever been in one of those relationships? Don’t do what they want, they bitch. Do what they want, they bitch. About as pleasurable as having your partner critique every move during sex.

“Too hard!”
“Too fast!”
“Too much!”
“Too little!”
“Too big!”
“Too gross!”
“You want to me to do what with what? Hell, I can hardly see it!”
“See it? Of course I ‘see it.’ Hell, I can’t find my way around it!”

I was in one of those kind of relationships once: just before I met my wife, though sex wasn’t the problem. Almost from the start if I said it was a nice day she would have argued. If I had said it wasn’t a nice day, she would have argued. I’ll never forget being surprised, after we broke up, when she asked to go for a long walk. What, you really want to spend time with the guy you seem intent on continuing to crap on, seem to enjoy making miserable, even now we’ve broke up? So we went for a walk. When I started to talk during the walk, as if rebuking a child, she said sternly, “I don’t want to talk, just walk.” So we walked. Got coffee. Came back: all without talking. When we got back I mentioned it was nice to walk without talking so we could hear all the birds and other wild life, feel the wind and watch it blow the leaves, and that I found it peaceful. I could tell immediately the comment really pissed her off. She got mad because I wasn’t pissed.

That’s John McCain.

That’s a knee jerk partisan.

And when someone is that disagreeable in a relationship, or after a relationship is over, in politics, religion… just stop arguing with them. Stay the hell away from them.

I haven’t talked with her in over 30 years, and I’ve not shed one damn tear over it.

And Barack? If you think you’re really going to get anywhere with John McCain and his ilk, I can only hope one of those knee jerks finally knocks some damn sense into your foolish head.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 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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