Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Country's Birthday and Indulgent Parenting

Conservatives and conservative-leaning people frequently pass around forwards bemoaning the lack of discipline and responsibility among today's youth, with forwarded emails purporting to be from such people as Bill Cosby, Bill Gates, George Carlin, Robin Williams etc. (Just Check These emails are transparent attempts to undercut liberal ideas and reduce nuanced discussions to seemingly logical but actually illogical sound bites.

However, when one considers the nation to be a creation of the people, it stands to reason that the nation is our child, and if the nation is our child- our trust and responsibility-, whom we want to be the best it can be, and achieve great things, conservatives as parents seem to be sorely lacking. By retreating into hyperbole when discussing the nation, conservatives fall afoul of their very premise that holding a child (or nation) accountable for its failing is the best path to improvement. Some examples of "indulgent parenting":

From Mitt Romney "We inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth."

"Only one nation in history, and this during the last century, was willing to lay down hundreds of thousands of lives and take no land in its victory—" An ahistorical remark which ignores the huge land grabs of the Mexican-American War and Spanish-American War, the latter which spilled over right into the 20th century as we fought a vicious Filipino insurrection for years.

From House Minority Leader (he who does not know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution- see YouTube), John Boehner (R-OH)

"the best health care system in the world." Another factually inaccurate statement as just about every study by every reputable scientist and organization has shown.

It seems that conservatives, when viewing their nation, will look at the nation- their nation, their creation, or their grandparents' creation- much as those wealthy parents look upon their drug- abusing kids. They see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Such-head-in-the-sand behavior is pathetic in the abstract, but when taken together with their constant lecturing about responsibility displays a rank hypocrisy which progressives and liberals need to exploit if they are going to continue to ACTUALLY improve the country by speaking out about the evil that they DO see and hear.

It is especially galling when they denounce those who actually call out things that are wrong with this country or point out bad behavior. Then again I am sure many of us have seen what happens when strangers or outsiders confront a parent about their child's bad behavior. Nope, not an apology, not gratitude for looking out for the child, but hostility. This is how petulant conservatives appear when they stamp their feet and invite liberals to "move to Canada" or "stop giving aid and comfort to America's enemies" etc.

There are many more examples of such utterly negligent parenting, which I am sure we can find, but I did not want to go crazy here. Somewhere is a quote from Romney taking his previous quote about America being the greatest ever and going even further but I could not locate it at the time of this writing. It might have been in his concession speech, a concession he was forced to make because the Republican base was clearly uncomfortable with his LDS faith and voted for McCain and others instead- a failing which a responsible parent would address with his child and which we should address with our nation. "There should be no religious test" says the Constitution (just don't ask Boehner where exactly) and it seems Romney failed his religious test within his party, but at least he certainly lived up to the party's standard for hyper-inflated, empty rhetoric which ignores the nation's faults and exaggerates its strengths beyond reason.