The past year and a half have been tough as nails wrapped in sandpaper and Margaret Thatcher.
Middle-aged, rich, white American men are in cahoots. Places where hob-nobbery is oft undertaken are packed nightly with furrowed brows and crease lines. Concerned whispers in dark country club hallways indicate this mounting aura of unease. Why? Observers beg to know.
Well, the stock market has gone from record, oil war-backed highs to abysmal, debt-infused lows. Ironically, the chap who pumps the gas into your SUV can't help but tell you to sell your asset-backed commercial paper before your portfolio takes a hit. Meanwhile, the Iraq and Afghanistan 'insurgencies' - to everyones' utter astonishment - have intensified, only solidifying equally bleak prognoses. The Led Zeppelin reunion tour was only one concert, with no American date. Africa and Bono still exist. Viagara apparently works well, though for far too long. More recently, the Democratic nomination pits an African American man (middle name: Hussein, no less) against a universal health care-advocating WOMAN. To top it all off, one witnesses the man who was supposed to be at the helm releasing endless Powerpoint presentations and DVDs in the name of crackpot science.
So, yes Al, our world IS melting.
Yet these problems, insurmountable as they may seem, are not what is fazing the world's decision makers. It's far more complex. It's - mind the pretension in the word choice - surreptitious, in a way. Here's the real issue:
Rich, white, socially-conservative American men can no longer get away with avoiding their Latin lessons. Facta Non Verba. Deeds not Words. This is a familiar adage from preschool, mother's chastising or (if so unfortunate) Sunday School. We all grew up with the concept of sticking to what you say. Don't back down.
Thus, talking about moral values and propogating partisan evangelical faith throughout America is one thing: a start. Judiciously pursuing 'sinners' in the public courts, media and Congress, a step further. But, to have those very crusaders turn around and be caught soliciting minors, random male strangers and, most recently, prostitutes is downright hypocrisy.
More importantly, however, it's hilarious. It lets us wake up in the morning next to a melted tub of ice cream, an empty bottle of red wine and some random barfly, only to laugh it off. While searching for a wallet we'll never find, it's foils like these that can still let us smile.
The falls from grace of Mark Foley, Larry Craig and (today) Elliot Spitzer are utterly vindicating for the everyman. Willy Loman would be howling from the grave if he were a real person, and not a tragic literary figure relegated to our under-funded public education system. But I digress...
The House of Representatives' chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children is found emailing young pages, eliciting illicit responses. Brilliant! Republican Senior Senator Craig playing footsie in the men's room with an undercover police officer. Bravo! Mr. Spetzer - the magisterial gunslinger of the Big Apple, Harvard Law graduate, Attorney General extraordinaire, Gambino-hunter, hard-nosed social crusader, etc., etc. - exposed in a FBI-wiretapped, elaborate prostitution ring. To be fair, he only purchased a 4-star call-girl: he is, of course, a married man.
Icing on the cake good sir!
In these truly hard times, economic and otherwise, I beg our high-profile, hypocritical politicians to keep it coming. Say one thing, then immediately think of the polar opposite and please do it.
Oh, and let it get out into the papers immediately. Just keep making us smile.