I believe this weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Good. Better sports. Cooler temperatures. Sweaters. Fireplaces. Chili. No grass to cut. But before we move on, I thought we might want to look back to the Summer of 2007.
Our fair village was quiet. Too quiet. It makes me wonder what the powers-that-be and the powers-that-wannabe are plotting to do to us. Be ready.
On the state level, the cartoonish level of venality, incompetence and dysfunction reached unprecedented levels. The Simpson’s Mayor Quimby seems positively statesmanlike by contrast. We need a Mount Rushmore for Knaves with the stony visages of Blowdryavitch, Madigan, Jones and Cross so there will be some permanent record of their perfidy. These solons can fund their raises and their pet projects, but they can’t find a way to keep the buses running. Truly pitiful. I’m voting against all incumbents. A better Chicago arose from the ashes of the Chicago Fire. Maybe the equivalent electoral do-over would work in Springfield.
Things were not much better nationally. Iraq has become the elevator music of our politics–a continuous loop of deaths, explosions, accusations and recriminations. As the excellent movie titles it, “No End In Sight.” I’m studying the Iraq War, and I’ve already read five or six books. Preliminary conclusion: the perfect storm of arrogance and incompetence created an avoidable catastrophe that will be the subject of historical study for ages. We the people were badly let down not only by the obvious culprits, but the press, the Congress, the CIA and the military. Those people protesting on Friday nights at First United had it right from the beginning.
And then, of course, there was Michael Vick. Our capacity for surprise and outrage that rich, uneducated, young, white starlets and rich, young, uneducated, black male athletes do outrageous things seems to know no bounds. Now Mr. Vick’s electrocution, hanging and slamming of dogs crosses the border into Dahmerland, so no tears for him, but I am frequently surprised by the irrational lovefest for canines. I don’t get it.
I feel certain that a significant portion of our population believes killing a dog is worse than vehicular manslaughter. These same people are more worried about the mistreatment of animals than the mistreatment of children, women and handicapped. And all because a dog acts like he is your friend because he wants a Milkbone. Don’t confuse hunger with affection.
There was also the sad story of Larry Craig (R-Idaho). First a few preliminaries: Larry, I’m sure, is guilty of many things. After all he is a U.S. senator. However, one of his worst offenses is hypocrisy. Proposing laws against gay people and then being gay is just not cool. Second, our Marines in Iraq leave no man behind, but Mr. Potato Head’s fellow Republican senators sorta left Larry out there on the battlefield. Not very brave.
I do think Spud was treated poorly in all this. He was just trying to work his game at the airport. You can bet if Larry were boozin’ it up at the airport bar and aggressively stared at, made hand gestures and touched the foot of a female, Lar would be guilty of at worst boorish behavior, and depending on how drunk and starstruck the female was, he might have even gotten laid! But because we have homophobic laws on the books, Mr. Potato Head has to leave the Senate, and we Americans lose his experienced insight in how to extricate ourselves from Iraq and Minneapolis airport bathrooms. Too bad.
All in all a rather depressing summer. But then Notre Dame and Michigan lost their first two games prior to their Schadenfreude Bowl. So we got that going for us.
I told you I like fall.