19 December 2012

Ignorant can be cured

The title above dervives from an old Midwestern proverb,
"Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever."
It came to mind this morning as I read of the latest political crud being stirred up by the lame duck Congress.

Consider the lamest duck around, the not-very-honorable Todd Aiken. In the recent election cycle, Aiken stands out as a singular failure. His State, Missouri, recorded a 53.8% margin for Governor Romney, chose Republicans in 6 of it 8 Congressional districts, and yet in the Senate race, Mr. Aiken lost 54.8 to 39.1%! 39% is about the minimum a Republican can get in Missouri. Mr. Aiken remains a member of Congress until the current House is dissolved into the newly elected one. He also stands out as a thoroughly repudiated member.

At this same moment, the latest movie in the Lord of the Rings stories, "The Hobbit" has just premiered. That coincidence, the lame duck Congress and the new movie led me to remember what Gandalf said of Saruman upon learning he was freed by the Ents. He said he might still be capable of doing evil in a small minded way.

Congress has passed two versions of the defense appropriations act, one from each House. This is not particularly unusual, Congress does this all the time and has a well understood, "conference committee" process to deal with it. The (extremely) abbreviated description of the process is that each House appoints members who negotiate a compromise bill that both houses usually pass. This time there is real conflict: the lame ducks are trying to put their defeated bigotry into the law before they leeve.

Mr. Aiken has authored an amendment to the defense spending bill that would make bullying and other misconduct aimed at lesbian or gay service members legal. Call it the exact opposite of a hate crime law, this one would make homophobic crimes OK if they are aimed at homosexual service members by other service members. Yes it is a bad idea, yes it is flat out evil, it will empowere bullies who think, "gay bashing" is just fine. That is what Mr. Aiken thinks should be in the "Christian agenda!" If it is, I want no part of being a Christian.

The good people of Missouri are sending Mr. Aiken into well deserved obscurity. For the best interest of the country he cannot arrive too soon. He however is not who I was thinking of when I chose the title. Nope, the "teaparty" leadership that supports this lunacy in the face of what that sort of bigotry did for Mr. Aikens' career, they are the men I had in mind. Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever."

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