I have to say, the remarks made by Rand Paul (R-KY) and his opponent Jack Conway (D-KY) at their latest debate were both deplorable and typical of the new low that we are seeing in American politics.
The latest round of “ape-like” and “gorilla” remarks that I am hearing in reference to our nation’s first lady, Michelle Obama, indicate that a lot of what is wrong with this nation — politically and socially — is still alive and well, sadly.
The repugnant art of the insult — from the racially-devious (yes, calling Mrs. Obama a gorilla goes past the point of satire into a realm best left in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries) to the tragically-inhibiting (how can we better ourselves as a nation if we are fixated on trashing our competition instead of bettering them?) — is in full swing. We have seen everything from Meghan McCain calling Christine O’Donnell a “nut job” to Jerry Brown calling Meg Whitman a “political whore.” There has been a constant stream of everything we would not want 7-year-olds to do in a school cafeteria.
We can blame the kids at the table, but as along as we act like the adults snickering to ourselves at the mess we are observing, we are never going to get any better. In fact, things will merely continue to devolve.
Make no mistake: in today’s America, everything of actual or implied importance can be captured in a sound bite and projected into the national conversation. And regardless of how much we want to blame the producers of this new cuisine, as long as we are the ready consumers, willing to take in bite by bite, we have no one to blame but ourselves for what we see in the mirror.
The hope was that between “hope and change” and a diet of the Tea Party, a new way of doing politics could come about. But both the liberal and the Tea Party movements have shown incidents of betrayal towards their bases and, more importantly, our collective hopes for something different at a time when it is sorely needed — a time when the belly-aching is reaching a peak and the remedies are few and scarcely available.
Instead, insults are in vogue more than ever. Until we as a nation agree that decorum is the national pastime in American politics, we will allow disrespect to be the new language of government — and from there, cronyism, classism, and divisiveness will be the only branches of government that get any results from the powers that be.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the host of “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister” at 5 AM on The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM WVON (www.wvon.com) He is the author of the upcoming edition of the book, “The Obama Era, Part I (2008-2010: Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative).” Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook .