Thursday, August 21, 2008

By rote

Recently a Republican came to my door campaigning for votes. I won't tell you who it was, but I will say this person was coming out of retirement to run and seemed like a decent person. I asked him why he was leaving retirement to take up politics, and I was struck by the mechanical nature of his answer. He complained about taxes and a lack of common sense in government. I fed him Lilly Tomlin's line that common sense isn't all that common and asked him where his common sense would be applied first. "Businesses are being taxed to much", he said.

He was a good republican soldier saying what republicans say no matter what problem is at hand. One could easily picture him shedding genuine tears for besieged aristocrats.

I was tempted to trick him but I instead thanked him for sharing his common sense and sent him on his way. My trick was going to be to ask him this, "Is it patriotic to gripe about taxes in a time of war?"

Today's republicans like to equate disagreement with insufficient patriotism, so I was genuinely tempted to practice the politics of Karl Rove which McCain seems to have embraced like so much Bush-flesh.

But, I know that people are looking for answers in this confusing and complicated world and when they find them they cling like barnacles to a boat, or fanatics to dogma. People are always afraid of the questions that make life more interesting. I don't know why that is, but I could see fear in his eyes of the hunted. He was visibly relieved at not being challenged and left secure of his common sense.

Republicans are scared enough right now, I decided, no sense kicking a man when he's down and out.

As the front door closed while he went on his way I felt the power of metaphor stir my thoughts.

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Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin