High Noon In America

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Putting aside the somewhere-between-creepy-and-supremely-twisted electioneering with which the Democrats infused President Barack Obama’s “return to civility” speech last week in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, the honest observer has to offer credit where credit is due. Obama’s address — while certainly no “Morning in America” — didn’t, well, suck. Let’s call it “predictable acceptability.” Obama struck all the right notes of measured non-partisanship. He issued a reasonable call to people across the fruited plain to “use their words.”

So, it’s a bit of shame that his party missed his message. Perhaps they were too busy printing the partisan t-shirts which they issued to attendees at an event which was billed as a memorial/prayer service for the victims of a freak show reject, the accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner; but descended into a “what dead and/or injured people?” carnival atmosphere which evinced memories of the appallingly grave-dancing political rally which replaced Senator Paul Wellstone’s 2002 memorial service.

While Obama endeavored to quell the partisan fires which had little to nothing to do with Loughner’s break with reality, the Democrats kicked into high gear their desperate effort to handcuff Loughner’s murderous rampage to pretty much everyone who has ever knocked back a cup of hot Tetley’s.

Against this backdrop of finger-pointing and flame-throwing, a number of members of Congress have announced a bipartisan effort to turn the State of the Union into a Congressional love-in. Americans who have grown used to seeing the two parties (and Bernie Sanders) separate like the boys and girls at a junior-high school dance will evidently be treated to Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer holding hands with Republicans like Senator Olympia Snowe.

Some pundits have suggested that the Democrats are pushing for the mixed seating to cover up their numerical minority. That’s possible. Others claim that both sides are simply making another hollow symbolic gesture. That’s also entirely likely. We are, after all, talking about politicians.

The image of Nancy Pelosi proverbially sitting in Eric Cantor’s lap, while marginally unsettling, doesn’t fill me with a sense of burgeoning civility in American politics. I know that the moment the cameras have been turned off they’re going to head back to their respective sides of the Capitol and begin plotting to undermine each other with every tool at their disposal.

The people of this nation don’t require bipartisan symbolism from their elected representatives. We require greatness — or at least an era of limited embarrassment. Instead of vacuous pronouncements about political cooperation between adversaries from both sides of an institution which enjoys approximately the same popularity as a cat in the dog pound, perhaps those who tread the halls of American governmental authority should consider actual accomplishment.

The Republicans, their numbers swelling with the addition of Tea Party-backed conservatives, should break with their own traditions of grandiose rhetoric and actually effect real change. It goes without saying that the new Republican Congressional majority is a direct result of voter dissatisfaction with the borderline fascist government-by-fiat proclivities of the Democrats. They should seize the opportunity to reward the electorate’s trust.

Go ahead and sit with your little Democrat friends at the State of the Union, Republicans. Heck, go ahead and rework the office assignments so that Pelosi gets a little desk in the corner of Speaker John Boehner’s office. However, don’t be swayed by the plaintive cries of bipartisan cooperation from the same Democrats who have attempted to connect Loughner to every Republican since William McKinley.

You’re there to do a job. Stand up for the beleaguered victims of years of Democrat economic mismanagement. Help restore respect for the individual which is burned into the lines of the U.S. Constitution. Provide a bulwark against the statist steamroller of Obamacare, of the constant incursions against free speech, of the right to keep and bear arms, of the right to show due respect to the Almighty (or not, if that’s your choice).

If the Democrats require a boost to their self-esteem, let them seek therapy. Maybe they’ll get free t-shirts.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.