Point of View Columns

Seriously Mad – Madly Serious

You have to hand it to the Teapublican Party. There is simply no bottom to their barrel of tricks for the American people. The inane bible-thumping loon named Michele Bachmann was replaced by a cowboy with a permafrost brain named Rodeo Rick Perry. A moderately successful pizza salesman by the name of Herman Cain was wildly popular until it turned out he couldn’t tell the difference between a friendship and an affair.

And all along there has been the morally challenged and failed Speaker of the House trying to make us believe that he is an “outsider” even though he has amassed a considerable fortune by working in Washington most of his adult life. Ron Paul continues to bounce off the walls of logic attracting too many people who are too lazy to think through the simplicity of his policy proposals. Mitt Romney points in more directions than a weather vane and has tried to use the power of his Super PAC’s to pound his opposition into submission. And then there is Rick Santorum.

There is a useful rule of thumb in life – beware of the zealots. From Savonarola during the Italian renaissance to the mythical Elmer Gantry to the very real Jimmy Swaggart, zealots always know what is best for you even as they struggle with their own weaknesses and challenges. This is not a psychological column so there will be no analysis of reason why Rick Santorum is the way he is. His very public statements give a very real insight as to what the United States would be like during the administration of President Rick Santorum.

Mr. Santorum has said that public schools are a “relic” of the industrial revolution and should be discarded. On the Planet Santorum education would no longer be the province of the federal government or the state government – or even local government. Education would be the responsibility of parents.
Presumably the children of parents who are themselves educationally challenged would just be out of luck. The same would hold true for the luckless children of parents who have to work and therefore simply cannot afford to stay home and engage in home schooling.

There is so much that is wrong with Rick Santorum and his view on public education. Every reasonable historian will tell you that the establishment of universal, compulsory, free public education during the 19th century is what provided the foundation for this country’s progress in the 20th century. Despite its challenges and faults, the American public education system has made a profound difference in the quality of life for most of this country’s citizens.

There is not a Teapublican who is not a beneficiary of the American system of public education. Even if an individual only went to private schools right through graduate school, we can be sure that the employees of their companies, the drivers of their limousines, the chefs in their kitchens and the pilots of their private jets certainly benefited from public education.

The Santorum campaign states with a straight face that it supports women’s rights even though Saint Santorum is rigidly against a woman’s choice when it comes to abortion, even in the instance of rape (Saint Santorum says that a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape should consider it a “gift from God”) and is also against all form of contraception.

The Santorum campaign sanctimoniously states that it does support the right of a woman to stay whom. Presumably women staying home while barefoot and pregnant, home schooling their children would be the cheery future for all the women who currently aspire to become senators, corporate executives, lawyers, engineers and doctors.

Saint Santorum has also criticized President Obama for not running the country based upon the theology of the Bible, but pursuant to some “other” theology. Presumably this is Rick Santorum’s dog whistle message to evangelicals that he really thinks Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or at the very least some kind of Kenyan, anti-colonialist, “other” mixed race Negro who can never be trusted even if he proclaims himself to be a Christian. And just as clearly, it is Saint Santorum who can tell a genuine Christian when he sees one.

Rick Santorum suffered the greatest defeat ever experienced by an incumbent United States Senator when he lost by 18 points in 2006. Obviously the people of Pennsylvania knew and saw something that millions of American who are now flocking to the Santorum bandwagon do not see.

Saint Santorum is against so many things it is hard to remember what he is for. His zealot’s vision of the United States dangerous because too many people are looking for too many simple solutions.

Beware of the zealots!

Point of View Columns

Sarah Palin v. Michelle Obama? No Contest!

The former governor of Alaska has had a pretty nice run so far – especially for someone with no discernible talent or evidence of ever having had an original thought. There are many ambitious men and women who aspire to the national stage, and Sarah Palin has arrived, seemingly without effort or a defined strategy.

While the ultimate demise of John McCain’s presidential ambitions began on the day that he chose her as his running mate, Sarah Palin has given new meaning to the word “Teflon”. The fact that she might be responsible for the stunning defeat of the Republican ticket in 2008 has only burnished her star.

Most people who admitted on national television that they don’t regularly read newspapers, magazines or books would probably remove themselves from public view. Sarah Palin wrote a bestselling book (that was actually written by a ghostwriter).

Most people who admitted to a lack of knowledge of global events and geopolitics would just be quiet on the subject. The Mama Grizzly in Chief weighs in on such topics about which she knows nothing with ease that can only be described as breathtaking.

Lately, Sarah Palin has trained her sights on Michelle Obama. First she criticized the First Lady for stating during the 2008 campaign that, for the first time in her life, she was truly proud of America.

Mrs. Palin, either through ignorance or barely disguised racism, refused to understand the context of Mrs. Obama’s statement; that African Americans who have witnessed lynching and “No Colored” restaurant signs might not be that proud of everything American. But Sarah Palin was able to make her veiled attack without any serious criticism. The power of Teflon is indeed an awesome thing.

Now she is attacking the First Lady’s campaign against childhood obesity. She has mocked Michelle Obama’s efforts to get Americans to eat in a more healthy fashion and in the process has managed to distort this laudable campaign into another example of how government is endeavoring to control the lives of ordinary Americans. Presumably it is one more reason why this faux warrior queen wants to lead the battle to “take America back”.

This latest Sarah Salvo could be dismissed except that her stupidity trivializes the very serious health issue that Michelle Obama is trying to highlight. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 32.7% of adult Americans are overweight, 34.3% are obese and 5.9% are extremely obese. Further the NHANES reports that 16.9% of American children are obese. The number in low income communities and communities of color are even higher.

These are stunning – and damning – statistics by any measure. These numbers indicate an incredible health problem that threatens the fiscal and physical health of this country.

This is no laughing matter, this is not a subject for catty tweets. Perhaps Sarah Palin could put her political bow and quiver aside for a nanosecond and express some concern for the health and welfare of the people to whom she presumes to give advice, if not lead.

Here is a direct quote from Chairwoman Sarah: “Instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician’s or politician’s wife’s priorities, just leave us alone . . . ”

It would be shameful if government just sat by while children engorge themselves with Lil’ Debbies and Slurpies and adults Big Mac themselves to death. It is shameful that Sarah Palin would try to link a worthy effort to spread the message of health through nutrition to her perverted political worldview.

I have to wonder at what point this Elmer Gantry in high heels will meet her comeuppance. Is it possible for Sarah Palin to say anything about anybody at anytime without consequence?

Sarah Palin is a winking, malevolent comet blazing across the American sky. Clearly, the sooner that she burns out, the better.