Friday, February 21, 2014

Common Sense and Decency

What passes for common sense in one era changes in another, and common sense is often not sensible. When I was a teen it apparently was regarded as common sense that a baby’s bottle had to be warmed before feeding him or her. That is no longer the case. Similarly, it was common sense that girls/women could not go swimming when they were menstruating. And some of us even believed it was common sense that eating watermelon seeds would bring on appendicitis. I’m sure we had all kinds of other common sense notions that we no longer hold. It is not difficult to understand why common sense changes over time.

It is not so easy for me to understand why common human decency has also changed over time, or at least so it seems. Perhaps a good first example of this is the recent report that teachers (or someone) took school lunches out of the hands of some children, put them in the garbage, because their parents had not paid some kind of fee on time, or perhaps at all, thus shaming and humiliating the children in front of their peers. I might be wrong about this but I do not believe this would have ever happened to a child when I was in school. No teacher or person I can imagine in our town would have done such a thing to a child, had the same situation prevailed, which happily it did not. I’m pretty certain such a thing would have been unthinkable. There are undoubtedly reasons for this which I will not bother to mention, but the bottom line is that basic human decency would have prevailed. Not so today, apparently.

But the current lack of common decency goes much further than this one simple example. Throughout most of my life there has always been respect for the Office of the President, if not necessarily for the individual occupying it. Of course there were occasional times when someone might have disrespected the President and perhaps violated the proper respect for the office, but such occasions were rare. This seems to be no longer the case, especially since President Obama has held the Office . You might well say that indecency towards Obama and the Presidency has virtually reached fever proportions at the moment what with the vitriol and unconcealed hatred directed at him on a now daily basis, primarily by Republicans. When someone like Ted Nugent calls Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and still has influence with major Republican politicians that even ask him to campaign with them, you realize just how far indecency has crept into our lives. Similarly, when a woman during a Republican meeting says Obama should be hanged and no one objects there is no longer even a pretense of decency. There are many more instances of this kind so there is no doubt indecency is now common in our politics. In the particular case of Obama there is obviously a racial bias at play, a bias that was at first covered up initially at least with code words, but more recently it is not even hidden any longer.

I do not believe this trend towards indecency began with Obama. I think it began at first with President Clinton. When Republicans could not defeat him with ballots, under the tutelage of Rove and others, what was once a legitimate political party began to morph into little more than a criminal enterprise, willing to use anything and everything to bring him down. Outright lying became commonplace (did Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others ever tell the truth about anything), the technique of “roviation” was created, human decency disappeared, and what I termed the “Brafia” was born.

At this moment human decency has disappeared from Republican ranks almost entirely. This can be seen clearly in their attitude towards their fellow citizens. They are entirely unmoved by the plight of the poor and the unemployed. They are opposed to unemployment insurance, minimum wages, Medicare, Medicaid, universal health care, unions, legal abortions, fair pay for all, taxes on the obscenely wealthy, public education, infrastructure improvements, and apparently anything that might make life better for ordinary citizens. Find, if you will, or can, any shred of human decency here, any empathy, any understanding, any desire to help others, even any interest in so-called “Christian charity.” What was once a legitimate political party has now become a hateful, racist, indecent, uncooperative, semi-criminal organization, primarily devoted to the destruction of the Obama Presidency and taking from the poor to give to the rich. Having alienated women, Blacks, Hispanics, Gays and Lesbians, Muslims, and other minorities, virtually everyone except White Trash like Ted Nugent, they think they may have a chance to take over control of the Senate. They might. Welcome to the reality of a culture without either common sense or common decency.

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