“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” So goes the old playground adage. What a week it has been for name calling and childish behavior. If I were to say that we have reached new heights of churlishness amongst us I would be only partly right. For it is not the behaviors of “We the People” who are to be condemned, rather, it is that of our elected Federal officials who engaged in name calling of the most self-serving and infantile type.
Before I go any further, let me speak of terrorists and terrorism. Terrorists killed a friend of mine 10 years ago this September 11th and threatened several more. My friend, Gil, died in the World Trade Center inferno caused by fanatics bent on destroying the American will through fear, intimidation and deadly force. I have personally trod the paths of innocents killed by like-minded terrorists in Pakistan at the Islamabad Marriott; in India at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai; in the subways of Tokyo and London; and in seemingly safe Navy ports-of-call in distant lands.
To those insensitive and inane politicians who dared to utter the word “terrorist” or “hostage taker” or “suicide vest wearer” in the same sentence with the term Republican or Tea Party I say this: Damn Your Eyes! How dare you disparage the memory of so many innocents around this country and around this world for purposes of political propaganda? How dare you liken any American citizen who has the best interests of their country and of their fellow citizens at heart to a terrorist? What hypocrisy. What idiocy. What insensitivity. What narcissism. No one but the Political Class could utter those words with clear conscious. Those who do so do not deserve to serve.
There are warning signs developing across this land. They are signs of despair and they are different than those we have seen in the past during times of economic distress. Our own President does not miss an opportunity to engage in class warfare, pitting the “millionaires and billionaires” who pay the lion’s share of taxes in this country already against those who pay no taxes at all. Fifty percent pay and fifty percent do not. Why not blame the wealthy for all that ails America? “Share the sacrifice,” says the President. Shortly, those that pay taxes will be outnumbered by those who do not. And the balance of sanity will shift.
If the argument is solely about redistributing a declining amount of wealth, we have not only lost the battle; we have lost the war.
I, for one, want no part of a President or a Congress who thinks that American’s best days are behind her. The President has said as much in his speech to NATO in Strasbourg in 2009, a message continually reiterated by his refusal to acknowledge American exceptionalism. Our Political Class is arguing about how to divide the diminishing spoils that lay before them but not on how to increase a worldwide standard of living precisely by exploiting the notion of our exceptionalism as a nation.
The current debate about deficits and national debt are a growing sideshow distraction to the core issue before us: growing the economy in a way that puts Americans back to work to stay. It is not another ill-fated stimulus that will magically transform an economy that is in dramatic retrenchment. It will take a commitment to restoring American economic exceptionalism.
Mr. President, please just get out of the way. And take the government bureaucracy with you, too. Your spokesman, Jay Carney, just told us that the White House does not create jobs. “I think he’s got it!” So stop pretending that your industry-betting, winner and loser policies will make a difference in the long run. There is a concise list of actions that you can enact by Executive Order and proposed legislation that would make a difference today. You can’t create a job but you can enable industry to do so. And with that comes precious Federal revenue, the oxygen that fuels the government beast. I’ll have more on that in upcoming weeks.
In the meantime, as leader of your party, please tell your people to cool their jets when it comes to incendiary rhetoric.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never hurt me.
Hateful tones and rhetorical groans
Tell me you mean to desert me.