I'm thinking Mr. and Mrs. Bass, especially the largemouth kind. However one of their characteristics is a mean disposition, among other fish they're not the dumbest. But they're still just plain, tiny-brained, stupid fish, and like Republican voters, conservatives (no discernable difference, any longer), and the tea baggers, they're known to swallow just about anything. They prey on anything that's smaller and dumber than they are, including plastic worms.
Years ago, because of the playoff schemes, I became turned off from professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. If I'm going to watch championship anything, I want to be watching the best of the best, not some team with an overall losing record but that happened to slip through because it was in a division of losers. Wild card? What's that? Get out of my sight, Loser. I don't want wild card. I'm an elitist. I want to see the elite matching their skills against an equal opponent.
If I need heart surgery, I want my cardiologist to have gone to one of the most elite medical universities and to have finished at or very near the top of his or her class. I'm not going to be drinking a beer with the doctor. He or she is going to be messing around inside my chest. I'm an elitist. Damned straight, and un-apologetically so! Same thing when I get on an airplane. I want Capt. Skully piloting that craft; land it in the middle of a river, on one engine -- if that's the skill that's going to save my life. The last thing I want is the fellow who went to night classes at the Acme Plumbing, Screen Door Repair, and Airplane Flying School. Again, a very proud and insistent elitist me.
And I want the smartest, best educated, most thoughtful, most well intentioned person we can find heading my government, and having possession of the nuclear missile codes. We suffered eight interminably miserable and thoroughly embarrassing and absolutely shameful years with a nitwit president and a congressional majority of nitwits. But how they got to the Oval Office and the House and the Senate was because of all the schools of largemouth bass that voted for them. And the spot we're in today is where he and those schools took us: way downstream.
Some version of the smaller government has become a mantra.
Arch-conservative Grover Norquist claimed he'd like to shrink government to the point it "could be drowned in a bathtub." Norquist's echoes caromed from CPAC's assembly walls, are transcripted on every tea bagger's placards, are the mete grist of congressional Republican speeches, and compose the froth of Fox News and right-wing radio fulminations. All dumb. All thoughtless. All so largemouth bass-like from those who indeed are little else.
Forty-five thousand Americans die needlessly every year; not because they're necessarily bad people, or stupid people, though some likely are. They die because they lacked the health insurance that would have given them the opportunity to seek medical attention. A moral question: If one person could personally prevent the death of another, but did not, would the former not be at least partly responsible for the latter's death? A second: What description would be appropriately assigned to the morality of the one who could have prevented that other's death, especially if the reasons promulgated for the refusal were some false fear of creeping "socialism," or an enlarging role of government, or the remote chance that slightly higher taxes might be necessary? Another: You really want to associate with such as those? Lastly: What does that say about you?
Deregulation -- or put another way: a smaller role for government -- was at the core of the worst economic meltdown this nation has experienced since the Great Depression; Bernie Madoff, unregulated derivative trading and credit default swaps by the finance industry, and what has happened to your home value, to your retirement portfolio, to your prospective living standards and those of your kids? Is smaller government really what Republican voters and tea baggers want to see? Trust in Enron? Without thinking much on it, more of the same is precisely what Republican voters and tea baggers will lavish on you, on all of us, were they to get their way. It was their votes that gave us what we got. You really want to abide quietly with such as those? You can measure the dollar cost to you so far; home and portfolio values before crash, less their current values. That's an incredible price to pay for peace in the family or comity among associates. You that nuts? Or, cowardly?
So which budgets or what federal programs, and by exactly how much should they be cut? FDA; want to see its budget cut? After all, it's only charged with the responsibility for your food and drug safety. We've had numerous scares and have seen some victims of tainted food die, all on the Bush/Republican watch; or much more accurately, due to an absence of same -- on the mantra of "smaller government," less interference in the private sector. Perhaps cutting the budget of the Transportation Department? Our freeways and roads and bridges and rail line and airports are already obsolete and a peril. Or has the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis slipped already from mind? Maybe we should slash the budget of the Center for Disease Control; pray that one of those circulating bugs doesn't result in folks dropping like flies. Or, how about the National Guard; the Guard whose primary mission it is to respond when natural disasters strike?
But think about it; "mantra": a verbal formula, of itself devoid of meaning, repeated in meditation, or incantation. And you think these folk are okay, just a matter of opinion; yours and theirs, and peace in the family and comity in personal associations? Me? I'm an elitist; yeah, I am. I just do not like stupid people. They're dangerous to my health.