Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Idol Worship

Bob Norman is the best journalist in town. Nobody else comes close. He's the kind of old-school journalist every town should have. Why? Because he's irreverent of power. Power corrupts. When a local politician gets too big for their britches, Bob Norman puts them in their place.

A great example is his post about a certain high-and-mighty Deerfield Beach mayor. It seems that certain mayor forgot that she serves the public, not the other way around. I hope that Mr. Norman's piece contributed to the resolution. Henceforth, (hopefully) the Deerfield Beach employees won't be required to worship her majesty the mayor.

Norman also does great work dismantling and exposing Stacy Ritter. I tuned into her radio show once, it was around the time of the 2008 election. Ritter is/was literally fanatic about Obama. She simply could not engage in civil conversation with any call-in to the show that challenged her view. She flat-out worshiped him. Little did I know, she was actually vying for a Washington job in his administration. I hope it was Norman's journalism that caused Obama to think twice.

But then I hopped over to another local blog, and politician-worship reared its ugly head again. "Classy" is, like "beauty", all in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the beholder found it "classy" that Obama shared birthday cake with a reporter. How odd. That blogger is also a law professor, which first struck me as strange--that a law professor even bothered to notice such irrelevant news. I just assumed law professors occupied themselves with deep thoughts about, well, the law.

To me, there were several aspects of Cake-gate that defied my definition of "classy." For one, it was Obama's birthday. I guess that there are 50,000 kids in the Washington DC school system, meaning that about 140 share his birthday. He couldn't find one of them to go drop in on, or invite to the White House for cake? I know, its just a corny idea, but I'm sure a much "classier" co-celebrant could have been found by the White House p.r. machine. My point is that "classy" would have been sharing the day with the regular folk Obama supposedly serves, as opposed to an elite press correspondent.

And then there is the matter of that correspondent. It was a poor choice, as her reputation is clouded with accusations of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias. But even if one dismisses that cloud, in the end it was, simply, a shared piece of cake. It hardly demonstrated "class".

Idol-worship magnifies trivialities like a piece of cake. Obama has done some very un-classy things that his worshipers simply won't acknowledge. The worst such incident was Special Olympics-gate. It was an unscripted moment, and shed light on who Obama really is. What is it about his character that allowed him to say it? Or to think, even for a moment, that a joke at the expense of the handicapped was okay? Unanimously unclassy.

Is it possible this kind of thinking, if even on a subconscious level, might creep into a health care system that will very likely have to ration care? Are we going to have a health care system that marginalizes the handicapped, elderly and infirm? What does our president really think about weaker members of society? Well, after all, we're not a Christian nation, and from a scientific standpoint, it would make utilitarian sense to serve young, able-bodied citizens first.

So enough with Obama-worship. If you really feel passionate about some of his proposed policies on a substantive level, good for you. But if you give a rat's ass about who he eats cake with, what kind of dog he has, or where he and Michelle go on a date--then you have a problem. Go read Bob Norman, and remind yourself never to fawn at power. Be suspicious, critical, skeptical, and vigilant.

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