There are times when it feels like I’ve fallen down the Twilight Zone version of the rabbit hole. Those days used to be the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true these days. Maybe it’s just because we’ve had ice on the ground for almost a week — something we rarely have in this part of Texas. Or maybe it’s something else. All I know for sure is that I’m ready for some sense of sanity to return before everything implodes.
It’s bad enough to open the paper or turn on the news and see our president taking a “selfie” at the funeral for Nelson Mandela. Funny how his backers have taken to the airwaves and social media to tell those of us who were more than a bit taken aback by this lack of decorum — not to mention bad taste or giving the rest of the world yet another reason to laugh at us as a country — that we really ought not worry about what was happening. They’ve used this breach of etiquette to gloss over the fact that he shook hands with Raul Castro (with Obama grinning like he was greeting a long lost friend in the image I saw) as well as the fact he avoided the media on the plane while former President Bush spent time with them.
Now, Obama isn’t the first president to shake the hand of either Castro brother. Also, the unwritten rules of behavior would make it almost impossible for him not to greet the Cuban leader at the tribute for Mandela. But the selfie is something else. I don’t care whether or not Michelle looked like she disapproved. I don’t give a flying leap that another world leader might have been in the picture. The fact that the President of the United States was engaging in behavior normally reserved for teens or spoiled celebrities and that the picture of him doing so has been plastered all over social media and news reports does bother me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me because I’ve known for a long time that Obama is a spoiled kid in a man’s body who pouts when he doesn’t get his way and who uses his position to act as a bully as he tries to push through legislation that is aimed at tearing down too many of our rights under the Constitution.
But that isn’t the only “WTF” moment to take place during the Mandela memorial and involving Obama. There’s the issue of the so-called interpreter for the deaf who was within feet of Obama and other heads of state. You know the one I’m talking about. The one who’s “signing” didn’t resemble anything we’d seen before. The one who didn’t know the sign for “Mandela”. The one the Secret Service, nor any other security service it seems, vetted before letting him so close to their charges. The one who now claims he does know sign language but that, at the time, he was suffering a schizophrenic break. The one who was hired by a company hired by the South African government, a company no one can find the owners of now.
Can anyone say “recipe for disaster”?
Perhaps the problem is that Obama is too much a product of the Chicago political machine. After all, Chief of Police Garry McCarthy has shown he has absolutely no respect or regard for the Second Amendment. McCarthy doesn’t think anyone (except, I assume, cops and possibly the military) should have guns. He’s said he is going to train his officers to shoot first if they see someone with a gun and ask questions later. The situation doesn’t matter, apparently. If a person has a gun in their hands, they must be doing something wrong. After all, according to him, “Carrying a loaded firearm is the gateway crime to committing a murder.”
But if all that isn’t a sign that we’ve fallen down a warped version of the rabbit hole, there’s more. There’s the “article” that came across my desk yesterday in support of State Senator Wendy Davis in her run for governor. For those of you not familiar with Senator Davis, she hit the “big time” when she tried to filibuster a proposed Texas abortion law. I say “tried to filibuster” because she failed to remember the rules and failed. But the fact she fought the bill and did so in her tennis shoes got her on the front page of a number of papers, especially outside of Texas, and she is now the darling of the Democratic Party down here.
The so-called article was slamming Texas conservatives because of the new voter ID law. You know the one I mean: you have to show a valid photo ID when you go in to vote. If you don’t, you can file a provisional vote (something critics always seem to conveniently forget just as they also forget you can get a free ID for voting purposes from the Texas DPS).
What surprised me with the article wasn’t that it was so much a criticism of the law itself as much as the fact the article claimed the law was an attempt to disenfranchise liberal women. The reason for this criticism is because some women have a different name listed on their voter’s registration card than is on their ID.
Now, let’s throw a little water on their argument. First, the name on your registration is supposed to be your legal name — just as it is supposed to be on your ID. If you change your name on one, you surely can take a moment to change it on the other. It isn’t that difficult. Besides, voting isn’t the only time you have to show ID to do something. If you are cashing a check, you have to show ID and your name had better be the same. If you are flying anywhere, you have to show ID and, guess what, your name has to be the same on your ticket as it is on your ID. But, following the same “logic” the Davis supporters use, these are also acts meant to disenfranchise liberal women.
Unfortunately this , hopefully temporary, lapse of sanity isn’t confined to politics. Our judicial system has also seemed to take leave of the common sense a flea has. A local judge just sentenced a defendant to 10 years probation and mandatory rehab after he killed 4 people and injured a number of others while driving impaired. The facts aren’t really in dispute. This young man was something like three times over the legal definition of “intoxicated”. He’d been drinking and, if I remember correctly, was also high. This wasn’t his first problem with alcohol, just the one with the most long-lasting repercussions.
When the case went to court, the prosecutors asked the judge to throw the book at the kid. His attorney used the “affluenza” defense. In other words, he argued that the kid was too rich, too pampered and too spoiled without any sense of responsibility to be held responsible for his actions. You see, it was all his parents’ fault. They’d never made poor Johnny take responsibility for his actions before and it was cruel and unusual punishment to do so now. The judge bought that argument. Now the poor little rich kid is going to spend some time in a California rehab facility and he isn’t supposed to see his evil parents for two years. And the families of those he killed will never again see their loved ones.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, our education system has turned into anything but that. There are districts that don’t allow for homework. Or, if they have homework, it can’t be graded. Others let kids take tests over and over until they get the grade they want. Discipline is a thing of the past as is creative lesson planning (on a whole. I know there are exceptions but they are few and far between). The current system is putting out graduates who don’t know how to engage in critical thinking and who have no idea what it feels like to fail and who, as a result, will crumble when they get into the real world and find out they really aren’t as special as they’ve been told for years. Worse, we are dumbing down our country and will have at least one or two generations of mediocrity. Heaven help us.
There has to come a point where we stop accepting this new status quo. We have to hold our leaders accountable for their actions and behavior. We have to teach our kids how to be responsible and productive members of society. We are not a society of automatons and we shouldn’t try to become one. Being equal under the law doesn’t mean we are all the same and should march in lock step, shoulder to shoulder as we give homage to being politically correct.
The United States was founded by individuals with their own codes of honor who happened to believe in a few fundamental rights. We should value those rights as much, if not more, than did they. It is time to let our voices be heard. It is time to pull this country out of the Twilight Zone version of the rabbit hole that its fallen through. Let’s find ways to return common sense and accountability to our lives, to our judiciary and, most of all, to our government.