I could never hold elected office. I have a past that is filled with dumb mistakes, questionable decisions and some plain bad choices (I had a thing for bad boys before meeting Mr. UM). I could probably come clean and apologize to keep the voters on my side. But I have a bigger problem, as Mr. UM will confirm. I like to talk and I like to make people laugh. I also hang out with people who make me laugh by shooting off their mouths, usually in crowds. I’m sure it’s a big, smart, competitive family thing – outrageous is a definate way to score in our constant game of verbal one-upmanship.
But outrageous is fatal in today’s political game, along with plain speaking and unguarded moments. Every word can be parsed, dissected, blogged, harshly judged and criticized. No context required. No understanding of irony or satire or humor necessary. Isn’t “A Modest Proposal” required reading anymore? It is still brilliant and relevant – read it here.
The latest twist in the game is to tar and feather Jane for the speech of Dick. Blame the Republican next door for the wacky comments of Ann Coulter, hold the Democrat in the car pool responsible for the ranting on Daily Kos. There are arguments in favor of this tactic – “birds of a feather...,” “tell me who your friends are...” and the most impressive “they did it first.” But at best this approach is lazy and diversionary; at worst it is mean and hatefully misleading.
So going forward, I promise not to blame Dan Seals for the crazy posts of left-wing bloggers, not to hold Mark Kirk responsible for the wacky tirades of Rush Limbaugh and not to fault Mr. UM for the drunken statements of his buddies. All I ask in return is the right to enjoy an outrageous comment, laugh at the occasional bad joke and write about what interests me without anyone demanding that Hillary Clinton condemn me because I advocate selling young poor children to rich landlords for food.