This is politics in America.
Item One: NBC's Matt Lauer asks the the California gubernatorial candidates if they will stop negative ads, and when Meg Whitman declines, she is booed by women. This is supposed to mean something, when feminists and lesbians boo a Republican woman. But feminists hate women and to the extent they are women--a debatable proposition--they hate themselves. They were looking for an excuse to boo her. What Whitman should have done is to turn the tables: "Is NBC going to end its sensationalist stories and start reporting the facts? What are the networks but purveyors of terrifying disaster stories and heart-warming human-interest, from which the viewing audience learns nothing of any importance? When is the last time anyone learned anything of significance from NBC, much less from Matt Lauer? Lauer's question is what Aristotle called a complex question, of the type: "When did you stop beating your wife?" His question assumes the candidates are guilty and that negative ads are inherently bad. What if a "bigot" ran for office. Would anyone object to slandering him? Whitman could not make this retort, because she, while less crazy Jerry Brown, is as much a victim of American education as Matt Lauer, meaning they are both incredibly dumb.
Item Two: Rand Paul volunteers pull aggressive protestor to the ground and one of them, Tim Profitt, shoves his foot on her neck to restrain her, as other volunteers are shouting, "Get the police" and telling Profitt to back off. The incident is inevitably described as a stomping and suddenly Rand Paul is guilty of violence against women. Profitt, immune to common sense or common decency, thinks he is owed an apology for attacking a frail boyish female. He does have a point: She is a MoveOn professional protestor seeking to disrupt a lawful political event. I don't know why such people are not routinely arrested. Don't like Rand Paul or Hilary Clinton? Vote against them, support their opponent, but do not attend a rally where you are not only not wanted but where you intend to make trouble for people you do not know. Rand Paul was right to dismiss Profitt, who is a typical American jerk of the New Order, but the networks, in giving Lauren Valle the chance to promote her pathetic career as leftist agitator, show once again why they should not be permitted to cast stones against politicians of any stripe.
If democracy ever existed in America, it required a responsible and informed electorate. who had some means of getting they information they need in order to evaluate issues and events. But the net effect of all American media--networks, newspapers, blogs--is to make people stupid, frightened, arrogant, and rude. As I said years ago, "Tune out, turn out, and drop in," that is, turn off the tube and the computer, tune out their lies, and drop into real life, which is too short to waste on the likes of Matt Lauer, Tim Profitt, and Lauren Valle.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.