There's a vast not left-wing but center-right conspiracy to make Trumpians of us all. How possibly resist the instinctive urge to rush to the defense of Donald Trump and his right to free speech after he was forced to cancel his rally, and his right to freedom of speech, because of a raucous mob milling about in Chicago?
It wouldn't be the first time the Windy City was swept by such gusts. They seem to come through as regularly as cold fronts off the lake. Remember the Democratic National Convention that Mayor Daley presided over in 1968, which cleared the way for Richard Nixon's landslide victory that tumultuous year? Anything for a little peace and quiet, or rather a lot of it, like the end of the Vietnam War.
Every family has its scandals. They come and go, like hemorrhoids. But why go into detail about them, the way the Army Field Manual's Appendix M still does step by step--from sleep deprivation to various other barbarities? Some things simply do not happen, not officially, and never did. A state, like a family, is entitled to maintain its confidences. So remember: Appendix M does not exist. And never did. Or rather forget it. Our secret-keeper-in-chief, the Hon. Barack H. Obama, displayed rare discretion when he relied on his forgettery, which is at least as impressive as his memory.
Of course there will always be those who blab about state secrets. In this case, it seems to give them a sense of status in a status-driven society. They include those former CIA types who still insist that torture (a) proved effective, and (b) can't resist bragging about it. Like the former director of the CIA, Mike Morrell, who still claims that "waterboarding was one of the most effective techniques [besides sleep deprivation]" in the CIA's black book.
Elsewhere, censorship is making a comeback, too. ("T-shirts back at the center/ State had ousted them over Black Lives logo.") Why? They were part of our times and remain part of our history, and the function of a museum like the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is to record the history of our times. So spare us all that. Hide nothing. Why give the censors the slightest opening? Or they'll widen it--and fill it to the overflowing brim with overused cliches, worn-out banalities and verbal detritus in general.
For endless examples, see Thomas Frank writing about the No Ceilings initiative from his ringside seat in the Best Buy Theater in New York City circa March of 2015, which was a year before the virtuecrats seized unchallenged and now unchallengeable control of the Democratic Party, but even then there was no shortage of celebrities happy to mouth sweet--and loud--nothings. No cliche was left unturned even if there was no longer any need to defend women's rights, for everyone decent already believed in them. But the banalities kept flowing like a great flood running over its banks.
TV star America Ferrera praised the "incredible women who brought us all here today" and the "amazing girls" whose patter she had been allowed to echo on so auspicious an occasion. Chelsea Clinton proceeded to pronounce herself "completely awed" by the "incredible swell of people and partners" that the all-embracing Clinton Foundation and world empire had summoned to applaud "the inspiring voices of leaders, of communities, of companies, of countries' and surely of interstellar galaxies, too. Seldom has self-celebration been carried on for so long. To call the whole a spectacle might be the only understatement to describe it.
"Those were just [in the] first few minutes of the event," Thomas Frank noted. "It kept on like that for hours. When someone's 'potential' was mentioned, it was described as 'boundless.' Peoples' stories . . . were 'inspiring,' 'incredible' or 'incredibly inspiring.' "
Adjectives multiplied like flies, and one activist from Kenya, now happily forgotten, was described as "incomparable" before being compared to everybody else. And the only thing forgotten were the American working women who were supposed to be the object of all this self-adulation, but somehow got overlooked. As overlooked as they remain to this day.
Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Editorial on 03/27/2016
Print Headline: The lost weekend