Archive for May, 2010

Yes, I was channeling my internal Jack Soo.  I just read the latest from the Curmudgeon Emeritus.  You should too.

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Sometimes, a person or a voice gets so intrinsically combined with another thing that the person becomes an institution. One of those institutions was stilled this week, but if you close you eyes and listen, you can still hear his voice echoing without fading not just from Comerica Park, but from the corner of Michigan and Trumbull as well.

Ernie Harwell wasn’t just the Voice of the Tigers. He was the Voice of Michigan. A Michigan Icon as ubiquitous as Faygo Redpop, Koegel’s Viennas, Stroh’s Beer, and Mooney’s Ice Cream. It may have sounded corny when he mentioned being invited in to our cabins up north, our back yards, or in the transistors hidden under our pillows, but he was there. He was the sound of campouts next to Lake Huron. He was the sound of summer at my grandparents’ home in Waterford, his voice ringing with clarity from the table radio in the kitchen into the living room, and upstairs on a hot but fragrant summer night.

I would be hard-pressed to say why I feel the need to write about it here, but I went to youtube, and I listened. And remembered. I remembered not just a simpler time, but a time of innocence. I remembered those things that meant “Michigan” to me, and I reflected on those things that no longer exist. And sometimes, I think what it would mean to be six again, having a hamburger and some of Grandma’s potato salad and a slice of her strawberry rubarb pie for desert, and sitting next to my Grandpa as I eat it, sitting on the back deck at their house as the sun sinks lower in the trees and lights up the canal, shimmering until sinks low enough on the horizon that the stars become visible in the eastern skies.

If you will excuse me, I’m going to listen to a little bit more now, and when I’m done, I’ll try to figure out where all this dust in my eyes is coming from.

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“A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity” -Baltasar Gracian

I once kept my list of character traits I wanted in a President very simple. Courage of conviction and integrity were at the top of my list. No longer.

In the last election, we had a watershed moment, when the dimmer bulbs and the power hungry of the nation elected a man who brought something to the office we have rarely had before. Audacity. Not the audacity to lead the nation on a course of preservation, which requires telling those who enjoy the entitlements Uncle Sugar hands out that the days of their unchecked rapaciousness is over. Instead, it was the audaciousness to use taxpayer money to buy failing businesses under the premise that they were “Too big to fail”, and expand into health care, because government has done such a bang-up job with the Post Office, procurement, and the “War on Poverty”.

We got not the audacity to look at the world’s petty tyrants and bullies, and let them know that there will be consequences for unrestrained asshattery, but the audacity to stand in foreign cities, and apologize for American Exceptionalism to people who are owed no apology.

We got the audacity not to dare to make both those who cling to their prejudices and those who cling to their victimhood lay down their burdens, and simply be Americans, but instead, the most divisive American President in recent memory, who cannot even bother to pretend to act in such an interest, but instead helps to enshrine such prejudices by admitting to his own, whether insulting Americans by talking about how they bitterly cling to their Bibles and guns, or talking about how the Cambridge police acted stupidly when they did their jobs and hurt the feelings of a friend of his who has made a career of victimhood.

We got the audacity not of a man who could solve the challenges that the country faces today and successfully use the first real opportunity to close the rifts that exist in society today, but instead a man who, lacking any ability to solve problems, instead childishly blames his predecessor whenever his own shortcomings grow too large for him to conceal, and a unmittigated contempt for those who have no desire to import Europe’s failed policies to our shores, punctuated by endless lectures to people who have actually done something with their lives other than run for office.  It would be amusing if it weren’t so damn tragic.

But the audacity that sells us all short?  They audacity with which he tells a lie.  The way that they are so very effortless for him indicates just how much contempt he has for Americans.  Whether it is the importance of passing the spendulous bill to keep unemployment at no more than 8%, or that the health care bill wouldn’t add a single dime to the deficit, or how much he is committed to cutting spending, even a blind and deaf man can see that there is no lie too big for him not to tell.

My list?  It now includes honesty, and integrity.  Two traits glaringly lacking in the current occupant of the Oval Office.  But then, that’s why we have these election thingies, right?

Crossposted at The Hostages

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