Monday, January 18, 2010

Patriots vs. Congress: Hitting the Congressional Funnybone


Some time back, over at Pundit and Pundette, I watched a video of Nancy Pelosi, standing on stage in a Congressional group who were openly enjoying the notion that a reporter had taken a politician's campaign promise seriously. The topic at hand was Obama's promise to air health care "reform" negotiations on CSPAN. Judging from their mirth, Nancy and Charlie Rangal and several others were entertaining absolutely zero respect for anyone who didn't take it for granted that nothing that politicians say is intended to be believed by serious people.

Until that moment, I had not mistaken Congress for a choir of angels, but I did regard them as human beings in extraordinary circumstances, accustomed to telling enormous whoppers but, most of them, also capable of telling the truth from time to time and, on those occasions at least, expecting to be believed. It had not dawned on me that Congress never expects to be believed and assumes, as a matter of course, that everyone who is anyone knows that everything they say is a lie.

I mentally filed my new theory for later retrieval during my next conversation with a career politician (or aide): "Must remember that the person you are talking with will completely discount you upon suspicion that you believe a word he or she is uttering."

Curious, I invested some energy in thought experiments in which I imagined what life would be like in a world where nobody feels obligated to speak the truth at any time and everyone assumes that everybody else is lying 100% of the time. Those musings haven't been pretty, but I must confess that I think they have shed some light for me on the question of what Congress is up to.

Then, yesterday, I came across a post at a blog I've never visited before, Boker tov, Boulder. (I forgot to record who sent me there, sorry). The blogger, Yael, had my next lesson waiting for me, all tied up in a bow. Yael had advanced beyond being repulsed by the disdain of politicians for the honest folk of our country who expect honesty, most of the time, from most of the people they choose to know and deal with. Yael had cut to the chase: Congress is so accustomed to dishonesty that they can't imagine that the rest of us are not lying:
The Tea Party, at least up until now, has been totally honest -- what we've been saying all along is exactly what we've meant.  That must be unusual because no one who lives in the bubble of "politics" has seemed to understand it.  They've tried to spin us this way or that, but they've never simply taken us at face value. 
It's not a shtick ... we ARE true American patriots. And we came together, not because of community organizers or a plan to initiate a political movement, but because each man or woman - young or old, rich or poor, liberal or conservative - suddenly sensed that the very foundation and nature of the country was at risk.  Sensing a threat to our way of life, we felt compelled to respond - very simply and without guile - to protect and to defend what we hold dear.

Washington and its fawning, insular media have not yet come to understand that we are in earnest.  Moreover, they have not understood that, because we are sincere, because our belief in the essential greatness of America is very deeply held, we only become stronger and more determined every time we are demonized, insulted or ignored. And we have been demonized, insulted and ignored quite a bit.
You see, we believe that we are the current manifestation of  'We The People' in the Preamble of the Constitution, though not exclusively so.  Make no mistake, we do cling to that document, and we do intend to "secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Come hell or high water.
Can you hear us NOW?  It does not escape our notice that this latest skirmish occurs in the very place of the first Tea Party. If we are not heard this time, in Massachusetts, then we are determined to be heard somewhere else some other time.  As we have been saying all along, we believe that the future, our future, depends upon us NOW.
Washington is accustomed to those whose words are empty. They need to realize that ours are not. Perhaps this Senate race in Massachusetts will bring them closer to comprehension: The Tea Parties have been but a spark. The flame is everlasting.
Thank you, Yael. I think you've got it.
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