Bring It On!

America Has Taken One Too Many Punches to the Head

September 4th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |



Politics used to be a blood sport that caused boxers to blanch at its violence. There were roundhouse punches to the head and every speech left some blood on the mat. Sometimes the wounds were self-inflicted, as when candidates bobbed when they should’ve weaved. Sometimes their opponents got in a strong right cross at just the right time and someone came away dazed and bloody. The political ring was unforgiving and too many mistakes found candidates flat on their backs, staring at a referee who was asking how many electoral votes they’re holding up.

Back in the day, political fighters were a tough bunch. They gave as good as they got and didn’t expect any quarter to be given. They answered body blows with a fist to the nose and when the bell rang everyone went to the bar for a beer and gave the winner a pat on the back for a tough, but clean, fight. Those fights were what America’s special brand of democracy was built on. They allowed us to flourish because the fights weeded out the weak, cowardly, and stupid - democratic natural selection at its best.

Those days are long gone.

Modern politicians whimper and cower when challenged by anything more threatening than a speech before a hand-selected crowd. If the media asks a question for which the candidate is woefully unprepared, it’s the conniving media not being genteel enough with the candidate’s fragile political ego. If the candidate is a woman, anything other than fawning acceptance is a vicious sexist screed met by scorn so strong supporters are willing to cut their noses off despite their faces to prove their misguided point. Everyone who disagrees with a minority candidate is charged with an attempted lynching and joining the local Klan. Families are off limits, especially if your family affairs impugn your decision-making skills - or unless your opponent’s family has an issue you can exploit. Friends and acquaintances somehow hold candidates under their sway to make them do all sorts of skulduggery. Politicians have become pusillanimous crap merchants deathly afraid to admit their own shortcomings and doubly loathe to actually take steps to mitigate them. Voters are their enablers.

Here’s a newsflash. Life ain’t fair, especially when your idea of fairness is entering the political ring to fight an opponent with hands tied, feet shackled, and mouth taped shut. In this political season, the amount of truly damaging sexism, racism, and bias wouldn’t fill a teacup but you’d think the outcomes are so predetermined there’s no use in holding an actual election.

Strangely, both sides harbor this view.

Political Darwinism is necessary to keep us a vital nation. There is no room for holy, but ultimately useless, political creationism. Today, crowds jeer at each other while their opponents hide behind the referee and sling out-and-out lies at each other. Voters reward the candidate that takes the least risk and spins the most incredible stories. These days a position is only valid as long as no one questions it. A question is only valid as long as it is soft as a marshmallow. Instead of vigorous debate, this nation pits two punch-drunk fighters against one another and whines that no one takes the issues seriously.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

It seems the public are the ones who’ve taken one too many punches to the head.

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  1. 7 Responses to “America Has Taken One Too Many Punches to the Head”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 4, 2008 | Reply

    Right on! Although, before I clicked over to read your post, just having read the headline, I thought you might have been talking about the latest CBS poll, taken after nearly a week of hearing how Sarah Palin’s unwed, 17 year old daughter was pregnant and all the other criticisms, true and untrue, about one or another of the Palins, which poll has Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin straight up tied.

    The point of which, I figured, was that the only explanation for McCain being tied in the polls with Obama was that America has taken one too many punches to the head and was now a functional idiot.

    But that wasn’t your point. I like your point. I like your post. Well done.

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 4, 2008 | Reply

    And yes, I do know that the CBS poll is quite out of line with a bunch of other polls that show Obama ahead by as many as nine percentage points and that, therefore, this CBS poll seems to be an outlier. Still, that was the first thought through my head before actually reading your post.

  4. By Omnipotent Poobah on Sep 5, 2008 | Reply

    Man, you sure do get a lot out of a headline.

  5. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 5, 2008 | Reply

    I had just read the poll and I found the headline quite provocative. The conjunction of the two did all the work.

    Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure what you had in mind with the two phrases, “political Darwinism” and “political creationism”. Those, too, are provocative phrases but I’m not quite clear about what they are intended to provoke, idea-wise. Would you be willing to expand on those phrases?

  6. By Paul Watson on Sep 5, 2008 | Reply

    I’d suspect that political Darwinism refers to the ideas being challenged, attacked, defended and let the most fitted to their environment survive.

    Less sure on political creationism, but I suspect a “These are the ideas and they are not to be questioned because they come from on high (i.e. ME)” kind of viewpoint.

    Or, at least, that’s how I interpreted things.

  7. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 5, 2008 | Reply


    That makes sense. Interesting phrases.

  8. By Craig R. Harmon on Sep 5, 2008 | Reply

    I suppose the latter could mean something like ‘a political narrative created ex nihilo‘, that is, out of nothing, that is, a narrative with little or no evidence to support it.

    Anyway, thought provoking. Again, well done!

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