Saturday October 10, 2015
October 6th, 2015
A metaphor for a nation: Terrified students hustle across a school parking lot, their hands in the air.
It happened the other day at Umpqua Community College in Oregon: hands in the air. It happened at Columbine High School. It happened at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois and Central Arkansas.
The first details about the mass killer at the community college in Roseburg, Oregon, were that he was a young man, lonely and full of hate. Of course he was. They all are.
The state of the Republican Party is summed up by a quote from the late cartoonist Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
At both the presidential-campaign and congressional levels, the problems are self-induced. The party fostered unrealistic expectations, and the failure to meet them emboldened a nihilistic streak in a core of House Republicans and with the likes of Donald Trump. There is little agenda, lots of lashing out.
Jeb Bush wants you to know that he's not running for president in order to give "free stuff" to black folks. I don't have a problem with that, as long as he says he won't give any "free stuff" to white folks, either.
That's right, Jeb. It's only fair. Tell us, the American voters, that you won't give any of us any free stuff. Your lavish campaign donations will dry up like spilled lemonade in a desert.
President Obama spoke some of the most important words of his tenure last week in response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. "This is something we should politicize," the president said. "It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic."
Donald Trump would not tell reporters whose advice he received in creating his recently unveiled tax plan, but I hear a familiar voice in its three-and-a-half pages. It sounds like Jeb Bush.
A confession: When the news of Thursday's mass shooting in Oregon broke, it did not occur to me to write about it.
I was thinking about Planned Parenthood and Benghazi; about Bernie Sanders' fundraising and Hillary Clinton's emails; about Putin and Syria. Another shooting is tragic and enraging, but what is left to say? What is the point of saying anything when it will change no minds?
Ultraconservatives gloating over having forced House Speaker John Boehner out the door may already be pondering what they've wrought, in the anticipation of a Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The House majority leader, poised to succeed the smooth-talking and even-keeled Boehner, give or take a few emotional tears, has already committed one whopper of a political gaffe, causing nervousness among the right-wing faithful.
An exasperated — and frustrated — President Barack Obama said of the gun massacre last week in Oregon:
“Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We have become numb to this.”