While the White House and the NFL alternate volleys of adolescent tweets and contrived anthem protests, I thought it noteworthy that tonight’s game featuring the league’s two most offensively named teams (Redskins and Chiefs) generated virtually nothing in the way of commentary. Were it not for a rash of natural disasters, the news cycle would still be reanimating the events of Charlottesville and the attendant debate about our collective perspective(s) regarding slavery, the Confederacy and segregation. But doesn’t our nation have equal culpability when it comes to the atrocious treatment of Native Americans? The answer is probably “who cares?” as most of us have become inured to ever widening claims of victimization. We have lost our ability to register distinction or nuance under the barrage of blah, blah, injury and injustice, blah, blah, entitlement and restitution… blah, blah, blah.
Because we find ourselves in an era where political correctness is strangulating civil discourse, the only fertile soil for the seeds of pragmatism – namely, an ideological middle ground – has all but completely given under to the unrelenting polarization and demonization of modern American politics. Without hope of a resolution to any one of the polity’s copious ailments, we are left to vacillate between outrage and the snarky pleasure of exposing the most sanctimonious among us as charlatans and hypocrites. Recall Joe the Plumber, held up by John McCain as an exemplar of the Conservative everyman, a gleaming rampart against the burgeoning Socialism of Barak Obama. As it turned out, Wurzelbacher was not properly licensed or accredited to work his trade and furthermore failed to pay his taxes.
So now from the Left comes Liz Phipps Soeiro, the librarian at the Cambridgeport School, who refused to accept Dr. Seuss books donated by Melania Trump. In a letter to the First Lady, the librarian made several valid points about budget cuts and other debilitating policies championed by Secretary DeVos, but just couldn’t stop there. She went on to denigrate Dr. Seuss as “tired and worn,” and colored his artwork as “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures and harmful stereotypes.” It was then that the Internet disgorged Soeiro’s 2015 Twitter post celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday by posing in Cat in the Hat attire while holding a copy of Green Eggs and Ham. She has, in other words, the approximate moral authority of televangelists Jim Bakker (recall: a Cosby-ish drug and rape) or Ted Haggard (think: any number of gaynal creampie viedos).
The rain of bullets in Las Vegas will certainly revivify the gun control debate, which, predictably, will produce nothing but shouting and irrationality. Once again, the NRA tactic will be to go dark for a few months and then hammer on about something inauspicious the assailant did with finger paints in a day care center. Talking heads will clog the airwaves and social media with the same tired arguments and counter arguments, reaching conclusions both spurious and conspicuously self-serving. Given that Congress remains unmoved by assassination attempts on its own membership (Giffords, Scalise), we can hardly expect them to relinquish hefty campaign contributions from the gun lobby simply because school children are slaughtered in broad daylight (Sandy Hook, Columbine). Lawmakers care not that their ostensible heroes, policemen (Baton Rouge, Dallas) and military personnel (Ft. Hood, Washington Navy Yard), are no longer able to defend themselves.
Clearly, we need a fresh approach. What if instead of gun control, we merely legalize the shooting of gun owners? You know, just let them kill each other off. I floated this idea with my friends at lunch and one of them mentioned he’d read a book in junior high school that sounded vaguely similar. Well, then, I replied, what if the wounded were parked in wheelchairs along the sidelines of football fields where they would be forced to witness their mothers, wives and daughters getting sodomized by immigrants. Refs would signal “touchdown” upon every consummation. We could call it Half Time.