• 81°

Leondard Pitts: Baffle grab on the freak flake. Really

“We need change, all right. Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington ó throw out the big-government liberals.”
ó Mitt Romney, Sept. 3, 2008
And then the gorilla run knee socks paint porno on the Cadillac. But school laughed and didn’t we sing hats?
Ahem.
Maybe you wonder what the preceding gobbledygook means. I would ask which gobbledygook you mean: mine or Mitt Romney’s? If he’s allowed to spew nonsense and people act as if he’s spoken intelligently, why can’t I? If he gets to behave as if words no longer have objective meaning, why can’t I?
I mean, baffle grab on the freak flake. Really.
And again, ahem.
If you’re a regular here, you’ve heard me rant from time to time about intellectual dishonesty. By this, I mean more than just your garden variety lie. No, to be intellectually dishonest means to argue that which you know to be untrue and to substitute ideology for intellect to the degree that you’ll do violence to language and logic rather than cross the party line.
Yes, we’re all intellectually dishonest on occasion. But no one does it like Republican conservatives. They are to intellectual dishonesty what Michael Jordan was to basketball or the Temptations to harmony: the avatar, the exemplar, the paradigm. They have elevated it beyond hypocrisy and political expedience. They have made it … art.
Which returns us to the astonishing thing Mitt Romney said while addressing the party faithful in St. Paul, Minn. You want to walk around it the way you would Michelangelo’s “David,” admiring the elegance of the workmanship. You hesitate to touch it, much less pull it apart. To do so seems almost an act of desecration.
Unfortunately, some of us are too plodding and earthbound, too blind to the seductions of art, too stubbornly wedded to some vestigial notion that intellectual honesty matters, to walk past a steaming pile of bovine excreta without calling it a steaming pile of bovine excreta.
So excuse me, beg pardon, so sorry, but I have to ask: what liberal Washington is he talking about? The federal government has three branches. The legislative, i.e., Congress, was under conservative control from 1995 until 2007. The judicial, i.e., the Supreme Court, consists of nine justices, seven of whom were nominated by conservative presidents. The executive, i.e., the president, is George W. Bush. Enough said.
Washington is already what Romney wants to make it. Our current state of affairs, love it or loathe it, is indisputably a product of conservative governance. I wish that mattered more than it does.
That it doesn’t matter much at all you can credit to conservative politicians who have, over the years, trained their followers to respond with Pavlovian faithfulness to certain terms. Say “conservative” and they wag their tails. Say “liberal” and they bare their fangs.
More to the point, say either and all thinking ceases, so much so that a representative of the ideology that has controlled most of Washington most of the last 12 years can say with a straight face that his ideology needs to seize control of Washington to fix what is broken there. And people hear this Orwellian doublespeak … and cheer. Why not? They have been taught that words mean what you need them to in a given moment.
Sadly, it has proved an easy lesson to impart. Turns out, all it requires is a limitless supply of gall and the inherent belief that people are dumber than a bag of hammers. And all it costs us is language, the ability to have reasoned and intelligent political discourse, the idea that words do, and should, have weight, dimension and intrinsic meaning. Maybe you disagree. In which case, let me just say this:
Piffle crack eat monkey snow. Really.
– – –
Leonard Pitts is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. E-mail: lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Salisbury man receives up to 20 months for carrying gun while subject to domestic violence order, having fake license plate

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 vaccination numbers see major improvement after inclusion of new data

News

Top shot: World champion skeet shooter conquers competition, helps grow sport

Business

Local cultural institutions receive funding from Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Local

David Freeze: New Mexico brings mostly flat roads

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools teachers reflect on summer institute

Education

Education briefs: Superintendent awards excellence in educational performance

Kannapolis

Mayor Alexander talks infrastructure, growth with Kannapolis, Concord mayors on ‘Charlotte Talks’ radio show

Legion baseball

Baseball: Honeycutt excited, humbled by being drafted

High School

High school football preview: Falcons have experienced offense

Local

Olympics: Livingstone graduate Hayes among final eight in 400

Local

Freeze: Day 9 — What makes the best day

Crime

Salisbury Police talk worsening crime data, initiatives at first Neighborhood Action Group meeting

Local

Spencer’s Park Plaza town hall project still on track, change order coming

Education

RCCC names new foundation director

News

North Carolina experts worry as schools don’t require masks

News

NC sports betting bill gets winning vote from Senate panel

Crime

Salisbury man charged with 79-year-old woman’s murder says cellphone location resulted in charges

Health

Salisbury City Council will return to virtual meetings, require face masks in city buildings

Landis

Landis goes big with two helicopters for National Night Out

Local

Spencer and East Spencer join forces for National Night Out

Local

City Council approves Grants Landing development on Rowan Mill Road

Education

In lighter-than-usual year, RSS nutrition staff serve more than 100,000 summer meals

Nation/World

CDC issues new eviction ban for most of US through Oct. 3