Published on January 7th, 2014 | by James Schlarmann0
New Year’s Resolutions of a Political Comedian: 2014 Edition
The holidays are over. We’ve waged our war on Christmas — as we do every year, being the vile and ungodly liberals that we are — and now we look to turn the page on another spin around the sun. In the spirit of marking another year over as we begin another, I’ve decided to give myself three important New Year’s resolutions that as a humorist who covers politics I will do my damndest to follow in the coming twelve months.
Sure, I could have published these about a week ago, but did you catch the part about me being a writer? Procrastination elimination is most definitely not on my resolutions list. The items on this list were born out of spending so much of my free time in the last two years covering American politics, so if you detect just a soupçon of fed-up or a modicum of cynicism here or there around the edges, you’ll know why.
So here now are my 2014 Political Comedian’s New Year’s Resolutions:
#1. No More Benghazi Talk — Like, Ever
Not that I made it a habit of discussing the overwrought, pseudo scandal that absolutely invaded every corner of conservative punditry and “news” anyway, but after this past weekend’s bomb shell piece from The New York Times, consider Ben Gozzi dead and buried in my work. The Times piece was exhaustive and clearly the work of months of serious investigative journalism or as I’m sure Fox News calls it, “liberal media subterfuge.” Essentially the piece confirmed what many of us outside of the Fox Bubble knew — that this was a tragic event, but that many of the right-wing talking points — from it being a plot directly linked to al Queda, to the fact that indeed the anti-Islamic YouTube video did in fact play a part in spurring on the agitators — were just plain wrong.
This makes by my account at least 15 million scandals that Rep. Darrell Issa has served as the grand inquisitor over that have eventually turned out to be just laden with half-truths and cherry picked “facts” meant to only give the political right more fodder for their media outlets to pump the toxic lies into their consumers’ brain stems. Okay, so 15 million is a clear exaggeration, but you can certainly now thanks to the Times piece put Benghazi in the same stack of bullshit that contains the “Fast & Furious” scandal investigation as well as the IRS Tea Party targeting nonsense that Issa put the country through this year.
It’s times like these that I’m thankful for the place on the outer fringes of political commentary that I occupy, because I’m sure the allure of cashing in on Benghazi and the cornucopia of derp that has been every scandal that Issa pursues is just too much for the larger outlets to resist. Right-wing stupidity engages readers, whether it’s Tea Party types sucking it like daffodils sucking up sunlight to help choke the life out of everything around them, or it’s the rest of us who can’t help but click and/or watch the train wreck because it’s just so fascinating to us that people can’t believe in that bullshit. For me though, count Benghazi out. No more of my synapses shall perish on that subject.
#2. It’s 2014 For Fuck’s Sake, NOT 2016
In this, the Year of Our Lard 2014, I absolutely, positively refuse to engage in the “who will be running in 2016″ hysteria that started literally the night Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012. I refuse to care at all about who will run two years from now, especially when I consider how much work has to be done in 2014, and how so very many of the elected officials in Washington aren’t really doing anything about all the work that has to be done. The constant discussion of the next election is why our politicians don’t actually do any work, but instead pretty much campaign all day every day for their entire time in office. Even Darrell Issa’s committee hearings in the House — which are ostensibly held to help ensure our government is working for us — are just ways for politicians to get sound bites of them ripping some witness a new asshole, which they can then point to and play in their campaign commercials.
What possible good does it do to wring our collective hands over which candidate the parties will push out front in two years? We still need immigration reform. We still have a war on drugs that is incarcerating young people — young minorities especially — at an alarming rate. We still have student debt sky high with very little real hope on the horizon for those students to find a job coming out of college. We still have climate change issues facing us. There are literally dozens of very important social and economic issues that just are not being addressed while the rest of the country watches the media outlets and Washington insiders play grab-ass over whether Democrat A can take on Republican Q and win.
So I’m not going to do it. Fuck 2016, until about half-way through 2015 at least. Let’s see what happens in this mid-term, first. Let’s see if the country has had enough of a Republican Party that shut down the government over Obamacare, and cost about a million people their unemployment benefits just before the holidays. Let’s see if the country has had enough of a Democratic Party that pays lip service to civil liberties but then rolls over just enough for the NSA to keep right on gobbling up our metadata because “freedom.” Then, once we’ve figured out what kind of colossal mistakes or triumphs the voters made and had this year, we can get down to the business of figuring out which person will excite millions of Americans enough to vote for him or her, only to disappoint at least a third of those same voters within three years’ time.
#3. I Will Carry No One’s Water
The worst possible thing any American can do is to blindly follow one politician or another, based solely on which political party the politician belongs to. Now, you may proudly proclaim you never do that, but ask yourself what you think about Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden. Ask yourself whether you think either person deserves to spend a considerable amount of time behind bars for what they did. Ask yourself if you think it’s okay what the government did in our names in Iraq, and what possible reason you think the NSA has for vacuuming up information on us in the manner it does.
Then I want you to think about what you’d think about these things if it was the Bush Administration doing them.
If you said, “Well, yeah, but the Bushes are corrupt,” you’d certainly have a point. The problem is that even if you just presume there’s no corruption in the Obama White House, you have no worldly way of knowing what the next administration — or the next 12 for that matter — will be as chaste and pure as the Obama Administration is in your view. Precedent matters. If someone previously got away with doing something shady or stupid in our government, it just means the next person will have far fewer reservations about repeating or adding on to the original sin, as it were.
In 2014 I refuse to play the game of which color token is more correct. Truthfully, most of what comes out of right-wing media and think tanks disgusts me. They are by and large nothing more than scared people seeing the world around them change from the heteronormative, white Christian dominant media landscape to a version of America that is actually more accurate to what we’ve always been — a mash-up or melting pot if you want to use the old school term for it. So it’s not like when I say that I’m going to be intellectually honest that I intend to sell out my own principles to chastise a Democrat for the sake of fairness. But there’s also nothing to be ashamed of in policing your own. When you don’t police your own you get Todd Aikens. You get Scott Browns. You get Sarah Palins.
So ask yourself, do you want a left-wing version of Sarah Palin running around saying dumb things, or do you want to stop pretending that everything that comes out of your party’s media apparatus of choice is the one and only truth?