Christiana Gaudet

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Where’s Seth When You Need Him?

It’s just our luck.  Saturday Night Live goes on summer hiatus, and Bam (!!!!)  Sarah Palin doesn’t know who Paul Revere was, and Andrew Weiner tweets his junk.

Why, oh, why couldn’t they have done these fool things just a few weeks earlier?  Then, we could all enjoy Seth Meyers’ take on these pernicious goings-ons.  Then we could all appreciate the obvious real reasons we tolerate politicians – they make us laugh, and they make us feel smart.

If you were going on a tour of American historical hotspots, wouldn’t you quickly bone up on the basics, in case you had to say something intelligent?  Maybe at least read a plaque?  Honestly, the fact that Sarah didn’t remember Paul Revere was not the most disturbing thing here.  The most disturbing things, for me, were these.

First, Sarah didn’t think to be prepared.  Most people would have anticipated the need, and prepared themselves. 

Second, when caught with her pants down, she lied.  She flubbed, she flustered, she flopped.  For goodness sake, Sarah, just tell us the truth.  A pretty smile, and the gosh-darn truth that, you know what, I just blanked out on Paul Revere completely.  Wide-eyed blink blink smile.  She could have gotten away with that, and we would have respected her honesty.

Speaking of boned up and pants down, Sarah was trying to spin out of her ghastly revisionist history when the focus was off her and on Andrew Weiner and his . . . well, his weiner.  Does he call it Weiner, Jr?  I would.  Something with that many portraits deserves a name.

It is possible that in today’s high-tech world, societal norms have changed so drastically that tweeting a picture of your congressional member is tantamount only to the harmless flirting of yesteryear.

Here’s what gets me.  I am clearly aware that if I post, tweet, IM or email anything that the general populous might find questionable, I may have to answer for it later.  Haven’t we all heard the sage advice “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to see on the cover of the Wall Street Journal?”  Why didn’t Andrew Weiner have the internal mechanism to make a good decision here?

This is all on the heels of the Sperminator.  And, oh, I almost forgot, John Edwards is in the hall of shame, too.  Political scandals seem to be coming faster and faster.  Blame the internet, blame the 24-hour news cycle, blame anything but the politicians themselves, and the system that creates them.

Politicians expect to be held to a different standard than the rest of us.  If an average working person pulled any of the shenanigans of these folks, or showed an embarrassing lack of knowledge and preparation as Sarah did, that person would be unemployed.  That the politicians make more than quadruple what we make, and much of that money comes from our pockets, only adds insult to injury.

But who’s to blame here, really?  If a child misbehaves and the parent doesn’t correct the child, we blame the parent when the child gets out of hand.  Who’s to blame for out of hand politicians?

Arguably, we are.

But why do we let them get away with it?  Why do we not hold them to the same standard we hold ourselves?

Sadly, the answer may be that we envy them.  In their success, we see the possibility for our own success.  Their failures make our own failures seem more palatable.

 I may have made some mistakes today, but I do know what Paul Revere did, and I didn’t send anyone random pictures of my privates.  I guess I’m doing ok.  I don’t have as much money as Sarah, Edward, John or Arnold, but I do, apparently, have more common sense. 

Another problem is our constant political infighting.  Clearly, political stupidity happens on both sides of the aisle.  It’s not about red or blue, or tea or coffee.  Each side is eager to bring the other side down.  Instead of doing what we pay them to do, they spend their time exposing and exploiting each other’s bad behavior.

If nothing else, the United States should probably start addressing these issues on a fiscal level.  Each time a politician drops his pants it costs the American people a whole bunch of money.  I have always thought that, when dealing with other people’s money, one needs to be above reproach.

I think, too, we as a nation need to do some deep soul-searching about what we value.  More specifically, I think we need to ask ourselves why we no longer value intelligence.

Many politicians have actually used campaign tactics that suggest we should vote for them because they are dumb like us.  They scorn smart people as “elitist,” and “out of touch.”

I have a theory about where this came from.  I believe its seeds were sewn many decades ago.  After Sputnik, we put a lot of time and money into public education because we wanted to win the space race.  An unintended result was the youth movement of the 1960s.  That’s right – if we give kids too much education, they rebel.

Thus began the dumbing down of America, the ongoing results of which are Sarah Palin, Andrew Weiner, Elliot Spitzer and the like.

It is time, once again, for the children of this land to stand up and exclaim “The emperor has no clothes.”

And he just tweeted a picture to prove it.

I’m sure Seth’s take on these recent events would have been funnier than mine.  Still, I am sure he is just as scared, and just as angry, as I am.