Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pals and Punks

Holt-Delhi Library

A long-lost pal and former colleague reappeared suddenly in Facebook the other day. I hadn’t communicated with him in years and couldn’t remember exactly where he stood politically, but he helped me move one time and I always enjoyed hanging out with him so I requested his friendship.

He accepted and sent me a message stating that he liked my blog but didn’t agree with everything and might want to argue at some point. I responded that he should bring it on, so in his next message he placed the blame for my dissatisfaction with Barack Obama on the GOP’s historic victory and ridiculed Obama supporters who thought their job was over on Election Night 2008.

He ended his message with a reference to the Absolute Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen in American Politics: the ascension of Michele Bachmann the Raving Lunatic to the Oval Office.

I responded that his point about Obama supporters waiting for rainbows and butterflies was a good one but Obama deserves blame for going on national television the day after the mid-terms – when the GOP took just the lower house of our two-house Congress – and claiming he was shellacked, then extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent and ramping up the war in Afghanistan and capitulating and equivocating and letting the Republicans set the agenda and call all the shots.

I wrote that Barack Obama is the biggest disappointment since I started paying attention to politics (and I've been paying attention for a while now) and that his genuine achievements – and I don't consider his health care reform bullshit one of 'em – are overshadowed and trumped by his bending over and spreading for Boehner, Cantor et al.

I should have shared what my wise friend Mike Little said about the president:

Obama is exactly where GOP/FOX wants him. Whatever goes right they'll get credit for and whatever goes wrong Obama will be blamed for, and rightfully so. He's lost the game.

Instead, I ended my response by referencing an article on Bachmann that I just read in Rolling Stone, “Michele Bachmann’s Holy War,” written by Matt Taibbi, one of my favorite writers.

I read it at the Delhi Township branch of the Capital Area District Library last Friday while my kids were stocking up on their summer reading, and had to stop right in the middle because four young punks were talking so loudly in the back that I couldn’t concentrate.

When I walked up to their little party and asked if they thought they were being a little loud, an overweight, bulldog-faced little twit replied, “No. Why you gettin’ all up in our sh*t?” (It always makes me laugh when fat young white boys act like they're ballers from Compton.) I said I couldn’t concentrate ‘cause they were acting like they were in their private treehouse or something instead of a public library and if they didn’t keep it down, I was going to report them to the librarian. They just snickered and waited for me to walk away before resuming their conversation.

As I walked out with my family fifteen minutes later, I couldn’t decide which made me crabbier: the idea that Michele Bachmann the Raving Lunatic could actually become Leader of the Free World, or the fact that four young punks who couldn’t even drive yet thought it better to laugh at me than respectfully heed my directions. Earring notwithstanding, I’ve become the Old Man who used to live on the corner when I was a teen and shake his fist at me when I rode my bike across his lawn.

I’m looking forward to debating Obama administration pros and cons with my long-lost pal.

I’m not looking forward to growing old.

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