Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Moment(um) of (Un)truth

When I go to Detroit Tigers baseball games at Comerica Park, there is an interesting event that takes place in a between-inning time slot sponsored by Dunkin Donuts. On the large screen out in left field, three candidates (a donut, muffin and bagel) line up at a starting line, hear a starting pistol and then race around a track with eventually one of the three winning the race on behalf of one third of the fans in the stands. This all takes about two minutes and serves as a pleasant diversion. The last time I was there (when the Tigers beat the Yankees in the third game of the American League division series) the Republican party was well into their series of presidential debates. At the time of the game I was struck by the similarity between the two events; namely, the stark superficiality of both events. Did you notice the donut stumbling just before the finish line allowing the muffin to win? In the debates, viewers have been treated to a spectrum of human conduct of the candidates and viewing audiences that tell us what kind of world these people envision in our near future. Example #1; A soldier risking his life daily while serving in Iraq was booed by the audience for the mere fact that he is gay. #2; An audience soundly applauds Rick Perry for executing over 200 people even though the procedural apparatus for making those killing decisions have been found wanting, to put it mildly, in Texas. #3; An audience cheers in support of allowing a man in a coma without health insurance to die. #4; A candidate has denounced the use of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer (Bachmann said it was potentially dangerous and reported that one woman said the shot caused mental retardation in her child and, #5; The candidates other than Perry trashed him for allowing in-state tuition to qualified students of illegal immigrants (the only hint of compassionate conservatism in all the debates). Since that game, the candidates have gone on to systematically regurgitate a whole variety of ideas that appear to them in the same whim and fantasy as the Dunkin Donuts production. Thus, Michelle Bachmann promotes her “Two Happy Meals” tax plan. Rick Parry bats .667 on telling us which two of the three cabinet departments he would eliminate. He strikes out on the third. Oops. Meanwhile Ron Paul stands right next to Parry and says the number of cabinet departments eliminated should be five while Romney guesses that the EPA is the department that Parry is trying to recall. Herman Cain dances toward the finish line, pursued by the bagel and the donut, as he maintains that his sexual aggression towards women is a figment of their respective imaginations, in spite of the fact that one of these women received a $45,000 settlement. Excuse me, an agreement? Having practiced law for thirty five years and settled (agreed upon) hundreds if not thousands of cases, I can assure you two things; There is no distinction between the two and that the sum of $45,000 is a substantial figure of settlement, not a nuisance value as suggested by Fox (what would you expect them to do?)

Who has the character and integrity to distinguish themselves from this field by standing up and addressing this “bat-shit crazy” stuff rather than fawning all over the people who advocate such things? I vote for the muffin.

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