Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tom Friedman...

...has a good column in the Times today about the current political atmosphere in this country and its similarity with that of Israel just before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995. It's disturbing, and I was reminded of the evening I spent recently with my friend Brian. I listened as he ranted (now there's a role reversal for you!) and the whole time I couldn't help thinking to myself, "How did he get so agitated?" At one point he even claimed that Obama was for "redistributing wealth" and that that was just code for "reparations." He was clearly upset with the president on many levels, and I had to ask myself, "What on earth is he reading?" (He later admitted to buying several books by Glenn Beck, of all people, and recommended a few. He called Beck "an interesting thinker." Yikes! It was also obvious to me that he watched way too much Fox.) When he defended Sarah Palin and her use of the term "death panels," I think my jaw almost dropped. Fortunately, I was too busy eating pizza at the time. (Good pizza, too.)

I came away from the evening depressed, partly because the political dialogue in this country has gotten so poisoned. I keep asking myself, "Where is the modern-day equivalent of Joseph Welch?" He was the attorney for the U. S. Army who famously confronted another bully, Senator Joe McCarthy. "You've done enough," Welch said. "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" It was the beginning of the end for McCarthy.

So who will step up and play the role of Joseph Welch today? Who will tell the irresponsible right wing to just "Stop!" Where is that courageous person?

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