The question is: Are you completely nuts? Are we?
I've told the story, how my three years younger than I sister somehow, miraculously managed -- in less than 45 minutes -- to burn out the clutch of my brand new, less than 100 miles on it 1967 Mercury Cougar. Upon her staunch assurance she knew how to drive a manual transmission, I'd given her the keys, so she could take her friend Mary Bravo for a short drive.
Yeah . . . Ford replaced the clutch. Now, if, following that repair, my sister had asked for the keys . . . just one more time, and if I had considered acceding to her request because she was a good Christian girl with impeccable family values, a good Christian girl who didn't think gays should be allowed to marry, and that everyone should stand tall on their 2d Amendment right to wield an AK-47 -- are you GODDAMNED NUTS? Or think that I am?
During winters, I live in a Palm Springs mobile home park for seniors. A quite elderly, hard of hearing neighbor took her sister-in-law with her to the doctor's. After leaving the doctor's office, Bernice turned to my neighbor to explain the physician was completely wrong in his diagnosis. And Bernice should know: she cuts hair in a salon in which the Dr. Oz program runs on the TV every day.
Are you GODDAMNED NUTS? Are we?
Some time ago, I was trying to converse with a truck driver acquaintance concerning economist David Ricardo's proposition that an economy generally wends toward a standstill. "Wasn't he the guy that was married to Lucille Ball, on that 50's television program?" my friend inquired of me.
Yeah, and Greenspan is the name of the south Tampa Bay bridge linking Bradenton to the small town of Palmetto. And you want to suggest that my acquaintance has an opinion that's the least bit worth paying the most fleeting moment of attention to concerning Republican economic postulations? Or, perhaps you want to ask this fellow about what sort of fund mix should compose your nose-diving 401k? After all, he drives a truck, and he should know. Are you GODDAMNED NUTS? Are we?
Or maybe you want to ask your friend how you ought to handle some sticky legal problem, because she watches Judge Judy every afternoon. One more time: Are you GODDAMNED NUTS? Are we?
Here's a rude fact of life that's sure to upset: Not all opinions are equal. It's why we consult those members of our society who have demonstrated and met certain standards of proficiency in the given subject matter. Or . . . at least why we should consult those members of our society who have demonstrated and met certain standards of proficiency in the given subject matter. Say, as opposed to our neighbors, our relatives, and associates who just happen to think they've something to say. But that's exactly what we do, rather than vocally posing the completely reasonable, logical and thoughtful request to our neighbors, our relatives and associates to "just shut up" because they have no idea what the hell they're talking about.
As with a recurring nightmare, all of this came crushing down upon my despairing soul as I juxtaposed what I'd heard coming from several callers to CSPAN's Washington Journal, from a morning interview with Mike Pense (Google the name), and the near omnipresent Patrick Buchanan; each and all of whom were pushing the current Republican orthodoxy that the looming monstrosity that is the soaring national debt, the charging "Lights Out!" wreck at the abyss that will be an unelevated debt ceiling, and the end-of-days consequence of an uncontrolled Medicare crisis requires we hunker down.
"Now is not the time to raise taxes on the American people," they asserted. It mattered not at all that no one is suggesting that taxes be raised on "the American people," only that the millionaires and billionaires who have done really, really well, while everyone else has been taking it in the shorts for more than three decades, might be asked to . . . you know . . . chip in just the tiniest bit. Nope. That is NOT on the table.
Everything is so Clockwork Orange surreal: that so many among us have bought into David Stockman's (Reagan's budget director) "trickle-down/supply-side" economic theories. Or, if we're all just nice enough, if we don't invoke the un-American "class warfare" proposals that the one percent at the top, that those one percent who are the only demographic to have realized genuine economic improvement over the last 30 years, maybe, "just maybe" as in an absolute econ certainty, so the theory goes, they'll be nice to the rest of America and create the jobs that will lift the nation from the depths it's in and the drowning deep it's headed to.
But in the meantime, until that top one percent is persuaded that they've been treated as reverently as they deserve to be treated, the only way forward is to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, to starve public education, to spend not a dime on our crumbling infrastructure, and to forego all federal funding of further scientific research into anything requiring scientific research. (As to the latter, the GOP in the House and in the state houses they control have actually voted that such notions as climate change -- and the spate of never-before-recorded weather disasters that have claimed hundreds of lives and billions upon billions in property damage cannot be at all traced to any human activity whatsoever -- are 100 percent liberal inspired schemes to turn the country into some socialist dictatorship.)
And you just know they're right because they've always been right: they believe in an America that reveres good Christian family values, small government (except the one that pries into every bedroom to ensure nothing unwholesome is going on, except the one that slips between a woman and her physician, except the one that demands that only one man and one woman -- at a time, at least -- marry, except the one that . . ., except that one), and your individual, god-given right to own and carry any weapon you choose and to shoot whatever you want, and as much of it as you want. Are we all GODDAMNED NUTS?
At the 2:50 second mark!) and reacting how, it's all some wonderful moisturizing salve; $19.95, but if you order right now . . .
We're perfectly willing to throw $2 TRILLION down the toilets of Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of billions more on Pentagon schemes and hardware because . . . well, we're America, and we can't reduce that budget because, in Dana Carvey's Saturday Night Live caricature President George Herbert Walker Bush, "Not gonna do it; It wouldn't be prudent, not at this juncture." But cut spending on education, on infrastructure repair and expansion, on scientific research, on the health of our citizens . . . got to.
Think China is cutting its education budget? Or its infrastructure? What the hell is that long white streak, loaded with passengers, zooming by on rails at more than 300 miles per hour? We got one of those in the works? Or drawing table? Or is India scrapping the idea of education? Or South Korea? Or even Vietnam?
No they are not! They've cast a forward glance into what will likely be needed in the near -- and the distant -- future, and are taking serious steps to meet both.
Us? Not so much. But then, we're wrapped up watching American Idol and the NBA championship, and listening to what our neighbors, our relatives, our associates are saying . . . And you know, that Bernice, she's pretty smart; has all of Dr. Oz programs on video. Besides, Bernice knows all about how to bake a Bundt cake. Are we all GODDAMNED NUTS?
-- Ed Tubbs, Tenino, WA