March 4th, 2010 was not a good day to be a Republican. To begin with, we woke up Thursday morning to read the details on California state senator Roy Ashburn's DUI. Nobody would bat an eyelash at this obscure politico if it weren't for the fact that A) Ashburn is vehemently against gay rights and B) he was busted in walking distance of a gay bar. I giggled upon hearing about this because quite frankly, I love it when homophobes and outspoken gay-bashers are exposed as hypocrites. Maybe it's schadenfreude, but it's amusing when public figures' lives are revealed to be double-standards. While I feel sorry for his wife and family, I don't shed a tear for the man.
Between Mark Foley, Larry Craig, John Ensign, and Mark Sanford, it probably comes as no surprise that the GOP has stopped referring to itself as the "family values" party, and this only further undermines that image. That's not to say the Democrats have taken that honor by default --look at John Edwards or Eliot Spitzer-- but family values is such a vaguely defined phrase, it's impossible to keep up. When impressionable children are asked who their personal heroes are, they usually cite their parents, a TV character, or an popular athlete, but never a legislator. Politicians aren't supposed to be heroes and they rarely aspire to be, and the Ashburn incident made that pretty clear.
If Ashburn's dabbles into bi-curiousity wasn't enough of an issue for Golden State conservatives, the next GOP news story would be a PR mess on the national scale. A long-gestating liberal conspiracy theory was substantiated when a leaked document revealed that GOP leaders intended to use scare tactics to garner votes in November. Basically, underinformed and deluded voters that already believe our president is some hybrid of a socialist, anarchist, and/or terrorist were going to have their baseless and irrational fears reinforced to ensure Republican gains in the midterms. Any connection to the growing "Tea Party" crusade is debatable, though it does compliment the mob rule mentality of their platform. Jyarter put it best a few weeks ago when he said that Republicans are better with slinging mud at their opponents than Democrats, but this takes the slime to a whole new level. If you want to nitpick President Obama's policies or his hands-off approach, that's fine; however, he has not done anything to necessitate full-blown character assassination.
Of course, politicians embarassing themselves or putting their feet in their mouths is not a strictly American trend. Apparently, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has joined the "9/11 was an inside job" bandwagon. First he says the Holocaust was blown out of proportion, now this; I suppose it's only a matter of time before he'll join the "birther" movement. Sadly, regardless of whether or not he's a puppet of the Ayatollah, it's hard to not view him as a windbag and a tease. Speaking of which, on Friday Glenn Beck (not an elected official, though he thinks he is) blasted the Catholic Church --to be more specific, The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis-- of encouraging "social and economic justice," alleged code words for some type of communist uprising. As Nathan Empsall pointed out, why would addressing the needs of the poor, sick, and needy and similar acts of charity be socialist protocal? My goodness...
These four recent events, not to mention the growing Eric Massa mess, sums up our increasingly chaotic world in a nutshell. In November, hardly anyone will vote for who they feel is best-suited to represent us in Washington. Instead, people will vote Republican because they think that their needs aren't being addressed, or they will stick with the Democrats because they look stable in comparison. Those that disagree with our government's policies, home and aboard, are merely sharping their knives or posturing for attention. The people with the loudest voices are the fools and the charlatans, attention-hungry hypocrites whose uninformed opinions do more to invoke fear and hysteria than bring people together for the common cause. There's no unity, just bickering. It's sad, it's mortifying, and it's enough to give anyone a headache, and I can only wish there was a way to stop the madness.