Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

High Noon for S-CHIP

In the President’s favorite movie, the righteous hero stands alone and guns down the bad guys. Bush has played Gary Cooper in the showdowns over Iraq, and now he is facing down the villains in the S-CHIP fight.

But Bush has modeled himself on the wrong 1950s western. True to Washington and Hollywood, “High Noon” is more about pride and calculation than humanity. Those who care about people rather than power have always preferred “Shane.”

At the end of “High Noon,” the hero, after gunning down the bad guys, converting his Quaker wife to killing and showing his contempt for everyone else, rides off with Grace Kelly to some Olympus denied other mortals, all as a reward for his concept of manhood.

In “Shane,” a retired gunfighter reluctantly takes up arms again to protect a family he loves and their hard-working community against ruthless power. His reward is to ride off to die, alone.

That’s a concept that the man who the former President of Mexico calls a “windshield cowboy” fails to understand. (In his memoirs, Vincente Fox recounts Bush’s skittishness about getting on a horse, preferring to drive a pickup truck instead.)

This time Bush is playing cowboy with the health and lives of millions of children. Senate Democrats are trying to round up enough Republicans to override his veto in tomorrow’s vote, but the First Moviegoer is sticking to his guns.

It may be too late to stop Bush’s acting out of old oaters, but those who have to belly up to the ballot box next year should think hard about the consequences of the shootout.


Carl Gordon said...

These are some sandpaper rough days to be a republican. The inbred NASCAR fans back in Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Florida, and other primeval palookavilles of this great country are wearing paper sacks over their heads in shame because their team is getting bitch-slapped out there. You can throw a rock (and make it a big one!) in any seedy public lavatory throughout the country and hit at least one deeply conservative, self-righteous, holier-than-thou congressman, senator, or mega church pastor, leaving the true deceivers/believers to wonder--WTF?

"Oh heal them, Lord, in the beautiful blood of the lamb!" they beseech in prayer, "I heard voices, and I heeded the call, as I selected these, my public servants, these Godly soldiers, these nadirs of probity, to represent both me and your will and enforce that same unchanging certain correctness on my town, my state, and this whole nation. I empowered them so that they might smite the harlot-filled Babylon of Hollywood, so that they might purge the filthy restrooms of various Gomorrahs throughout the country, so that they might force the accursed liberals and other fornicators from the dank dens where they blaspheme. I trusted them to raise high the blow torch of decency, restore the fear of god, and enshrine your holy will in law, by this holy Jihad!"

Yet, it is dumbfounding to consider how many professed conservatives have been violating the traditional values they profess to hold dear. For every knucklehead you recognize--Larry Craig, David Vitter, Ted Haggard, Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Tom Foley, Tom DeLay, Randy Cunningham, John Doolittle--there are hundreds at state and local levels whose hypocritical indiscretions never make it CNN. And don’t even get me started on all those pedophilic Catholic priests out there. They count too.
Isn't it incredibly obvious that those who align themselves with social conservatism are far more likely to engage in inappropriate behavior than those who call themselves liberals. I’m not talking rocket science here.

We all have urges, some we’d prefer not to see the light of day, but these are people who seemingly lack the skills of introspection, or even common sense. And along with the obvious repression they struggle with, the repercussions of their stunted emotional state are likely to be exacerbated because the same factors that make self-examination impossible--loveless parenting, strict religious upbringing, for example--also tend to magnify their less-savory natural urges.

And that is the reason so many conservatives, doubtful of their own ability to control their sleazy desires, and projecting their own failings and bewilderment on the rest of humanity, come to be what they are. That is why they push for strictness in the home and to have morality rammed into law. They recognize a looming menace from which we must be protected, but cannot grasp that the foundation of the danger lies within themselves.

This is not to suggest that the majority of those who appear to be values-fixated Republicans are in fact pedophiles-in-waiting, repressed homosexuals, or thieves, waiting for opportunity? They are probably generally decent, doing their best to get by and perhaps willing to live and let live. But it also means that there is something in their experience with their family or community that guides them to believe that people are not to be trusted to contain their seamy urges.

It is not hard to identify those who pose the greatest danger to us, those who are incapable of self-examination, and are oblivious to their own transparency, for they are the ones that shout the loudest, spew warnings of moral rot and disobedience, that seek to exploit the fear they provoke to advance their own power and influence, that seek to raise an army of the self-righteous to march on the seat of wickedness and double standards. Imagine their shock when they realize that the seat is made of porcelain. That they themselves are the one besieged and the army they raised waits for them, right outside the stall door. said...

I hate that to comment at Moderate one must log in!

Anyway. USA Today today had a very good editorial about how wrong Bush is to veto this program and how misleading -if notg downright untruthful- his reasons are.