Sunday, October 6, 2013

From Absurdity to Asshattery

There appears to be a heightened bit of absurdity on the interwebs this evening as the nation prepares for another week of all-out war in the nation's capital over whether the government should be open, the signature piece of policy enacted by the current administration should stand and the people's representatives should raise the debt ceiling. This particular evening there are three items floating around out there in the world where reality and fiction seem to co-exist that are worth noting.

First, Justice Antonin Scalia, thankfully not a part of the whether the government is open or the debt ceiling is raised, has given an interview on the eve of the fall session of the Supreme Court. In it, he says some of the more insane things we have heard from him. Of his more insane points are these: "Words have meaning. And their meaning doesn’t change." He has friends he "very much suspects" are gay. And, profanity and nudity is overused in television and movies except for when it is essential to the plot.

Just let all of that sink in for a minute. Ready? The meaning of words don't change? Really? Of course, by saying this is he really saying that the words of the Constitution don't change. Forget slavery and all that, right? Forget segregation and Jim Crow. The meaning of words doesn't change. Right. What kind of friend "very much suspects" that his friend is gay and says so like this? There are so many questions I have about this statement and not a single one of them will give me any better idea of what Scalia thinks of his friends than if he had said "some of my best friends are gay (or black, liberal, etc.)."

Next, much has been said about the motives of the Tea Party contingent of the U.S. House of Representatives in their successful effort to shut down the government. There is no question that this was part of their plan since being elected in 2010. However, if you want to read a piece that will infuriate you, check out what the Boston Globe has out today on the planning of this government shutdown. Yes, the planning. They were planning this for years and especially since Obama's re-election.

Last, but not least, take a deep breath before you read this: Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Florida) says that refusing to raise the debt ceiling will, and I quote exactly, "bring stability to the world markets." Yoho's sentiment, one that likely isn't unique to just him, is as startling as it is stupid. Consider how dangerous listening to this sentiment would be to the U.S. economy and yes, even those world markets Yoho claims would be brought into balance.

How is it that all of these people are in a position of leadership? How is it that these people with their radical, absurd ideas are actually asked for their opinion? It's no wonder the government is currently closed, the debt ceiling threatens to completely upend the recovery this country has been seeing in recent years and, well, the Supreme Court continues to make some of the worst rulings in its history. There have got to be wiser heads out there that will prevail. Right?

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