It’s “Silly Season” again

“Lapse in appropriations” and other inane and evasive statements from those who should know better

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

Maybe it’s the heat, or perhaps the lazy, seemingly endless days of unstructured time for some, or it might be the accumulated brain-melt brought on by heat and inertia. Whatever the cause, August has become the de facto time frame of unparalleled absurdisms and preposterous statements from politicians and other public figures.

Some of these are the near-inevitable consequence of those isolated from tangible, practical issues of life and who have made a career, if not life-span, surrounded by enablers, yes-men and opportunistic “handlers” that have made a good living from coddling fragile egos.

Those at the center of these self-perpetuating networks of self-congratulations take it as a primary principle that they (and their friends and families) don’t need to be bound by the rules and laws that apply to everyone else.

From their presumed (self) elevated status, these public figures make pronouncements and even pass legislation that by some near-divine miracle apply to everyone but themselves.

And, by a force akin to nature’s seasons or the instinctual migrations of birds or other creatures, the time for an exceptional harvest of the absurd and frivolous seems to roll around every late summer – especially August.

Boston Tea Party. Not.

You might have imagined that the Barbie movie would be the pinnacle of pastel preposterousness, but no, one of America’s prominent (or at least loudest) political commentators demonstrated his (apparently threatened) manhood by burning Barbie dolls over a BBQ. Oddly enough, he did so while dressed as the “Ken” character in the movie. You can see details here.

I don’t know if burning Barbie dolls meets the definition of “cancel culture”, but somehow melting down children’s toys as a political statement does not strike me as the act of a mature adult.

Lapse in appropriations

A “lapse in appropriations,” is a fancy, pretentious euphemism for a simple concept; not paying one’s bills.

Any one of us might have a variety of reasons/justifications for not paying our bills. We might have other more pressing expenses or we might have limited resources.

Politicians, as always have their own, more abstract rationale for not paying their bills – not funding the military, for example because they don’t like an aspect of their personnel training programs for example.

Maybe I’ll stop paying my utility bill because I don’t like the color of the building; looks like I can only do that if I get elected first.

Stop making stupid people famous – and rich

You may have seen this statement across social media or on bumper stickers.

To put it mildly, in more categories than could be mentioned, from business to celebrities, famous people tend to “fall up” and gain even more power and wealth as they make one disastrous decision after another.

When it comes to publicly (and clumsily) killing the proverbial golden goose, you could never beat Elon Musk and his immolation of Twitter.

Twitter, the text-based social media platform that once dominated the web and influenced national elections, has become a zombie-shadow of itself.

Musk collapsed Twitter in record time as he emptied it of customers, income and credibility.

Some commentators say that Musk has done to Twitter what Donald Trump did to the Republican Party: remade it in his own image.

It might be hard to believe now, but for many years the GOP believed that as to personal matters, like how we live, reproduce, love and worship, and, what we read, that individuals should be free to act and make decisions without government interference. Even for some, like presidential candidate Ron Paul, who took individual freedom to its logical conclusion, proposed – in 1988- that personal drug use should be not be restricted.

Some scholars insist that the two major political parties switched platforms. To see if you agree, look here.

How the GOP went from a party once focused on individual freedoms to one that became obsessed with book bannings and restricting individual medical procedures (while railing against “cancel culture”) will surely baffle historians for many years to come.

Twitter is perhaps a metaphor for self-inflicted disaster. We can only hope it’s not a model for future business plans.

Those who don’t want to know history seem determined to repeat it

America has always had a strong anti-intellectual contingent.

For some, especially this time of year, perhaps because of some vestigial, gut level fear of school starting soon, all manner of book-banning and school curriculum revisionism has emerged lately.

The primary target is anything to do with “bad” news like war, race issues or anything that might potentially hurt anyone’s feelings.

Some states are promoting the idea that Black people benefited from slavery by learning “skills” they could use later in life (after being released, one might assume). That would be “skills” like picking cotton and chopping wood. And of course the “skill” of learning how to read in spite of specific laws prohibiting literacy among slaves. After all, they presume, to be kidnapped, chained across the Atlantic Ocean and sold like chattel, have your children taken from you and being auctioned off like feeder pigs must build character, right?

And the Jews (among many others) could have survived persecution and genocide during World War II (commonly known as the Holocaust) if they had been more “useful” to their exterminators – you know, as informers or stool pigeons. If betrayal of one’s own people is seen as a recommended success strategy, please don’t put those who believe such things in positions of authority. Oh, wait…. To see some background on this, look here.

The GOP once had solid and enduring principles that they held and advocated for decades. Among these were limited government, maximum individual freedom and conserving the environment (GOP President Theodore Roosevelt was among the original environmentalists, and, once upon a time, Republicans supported conserving the environment as good business and good policy).

The GOP was an early supporter for free mandatory public education, fiscal responsibility and, advocated perhaps above all, trust in our public institutions.