Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Sunday Feeling


Lord knows that I did my share of foolish things as a younger man.  And I humbly breathe a prayer of heartfelt relief when I consider that neither smartphones nor the Internet were around when I was out doing those foolish things.  Most of my stupid behavior centered around women and alcohol or any combination thereof.  The majority of my misdeeds, in retrospect, were fairly harmless in the great scheme of things.  And none of them, knock on wood, have come back to haunt me or cause me to invoke any particular period of limitations as my best defense.

Then again, unlike the Governor of Virginia I never posed for pictures while in blackface.  Unlike the Attorney General of the Old Dominion, i never put it on as part of a skit.  

What's the deal?  Is it a Virginia thing?

I grew up here in Arkansas with my fair share of guys whose views on racial matters could charitably be described as unevolved.  I knew folks, especially in my much younger days, who casually tossed around racial slurs without thinking twice about it.  But I never knew anybody who ever put on blackface.  Or Klan robes either.  

As I grew older, I certainly began to make acquaintances that were old moneyed conservative types from the Olde South, whose attitudes were probably not too terribly far removed from some of my fellow rednecks I grew up with on the County Line.  But they were too genteel and mannerly, at least in my presence, to give voice to such attitudes.  I can't imagine them wearing blackface either at some point at a fraternity party or such.  Although I concede I can't swear that some of them didn't.  

Here's the thing I don't get.  A career in politics was probably the last thing on Ralph Northam's mind when he posed in blackface along with a medical school classmate adorned in Klan robes for the med school yearbook.  You're pretty young at 24 or 25.  I get that.  But he wasn't some dumbass 15 year old all jacked up on malt liquor either.  Indeed, he was fixing to go off and start training to be a pediatric neurosurgeon.  Which I would think requires a certain maturity and concentration of the mind.

And a bell didn't go off in his head that warned him that this was a bad idea?  That maybe this might come back to bite him on the ass?

I don't get it.  I just don't.

But here's a fair question.  I earlier made a semi-joking reference to a statute of limitations that I could seek refuge in at this point in my dotage.  But is there a period of limitations when it comes to youthful indiscretions?  Recent experiences with public figures such as Gov. Northam and Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh suggest there may not be.  And maybe that's fair.  Politics is (are?) politics.  It's not the criminal law.  If it matters to voters I suppose that's pretty much all that matters.  

But we as a nation need to get a grasp on just how far back in time we are going to hold our public figures accountable for stupid stuff they did back in the day.  Because sooner than later we are going to see videos and pics of candidates for public office from when they were drunk at a sorority party, sipping champagne from a bottle at a wedding reception or vaping.  It will happen. 

I tell kids all the time that you got to assume that somebody is taking a pic without them knowing it.  Or saving a text or an email for future reference.  I know many young people who are conscientiously attempting to conduct themselves as youthful pillars of rectitude with an eye to the future.  Is a history of avoiding instead of dodging bullets while young the new path for public office?

I kinda liked seeing AOC dancing on a rooftop in her college days.  I thought nothing of Sarah Palin having competed in beauty pageants.  John McCain stayed in hot water with his CO's.  George H.W. Bush kept his still oiled up first basemen's mitt from Yale in his Oval Office desk drawer.  He would pound a ball in it as he thought things through.  Young George Washington chopped down the cherry tree. Except he didn't. You get the picture.

Do we want to just elect robots who have been building resumes since the 9th grade?  Or do we want people with real flesh, real blood and real flaws.  People like you and me. Where do we draw the line?  

As the text of the old anthem by Richard Farrant puts it (and you should give it a listen on YouTube): "Lord for thy tender mercies sake, lay not our sins to our charge.  But forgive that is past and give us grace to amend our sinful lives."  Does that concept not extend to politicians?

What the Governor of Virginia did as a young man was palpably stupid.  Way stupider than anything I ever did as a young man.  And that's going some.  His recent attempt to lame out of it was even dumber.  The Commonwealth's Al-Jolson-In Chief says that he will not resign.  Rather he intends to go about attempting to foment "racial conciliation."  There's some nerve.

But he is Virginia's problem.  If they "forgive that is past" that is their prerogative. 

Having said that, I'm guessing Bill Clinton is really happy he never had to deal with smartphones or the Internet while he was a young politician.  

Really happy.  



  


Sunday, February 03, 2019

My Sunday "The Saints Got Screwed" Feeling

Today is the annual national bacchanal known as Super Bowl Sunday featuring the upstart St. Louis-Oops! Sorry.-Los Angeles Rams against the forces of darkness known as the New England Patriots.  

I'm gonna watch it if no other reason than as my buddy Kenny once said of it, "It's gonna be on.  Might as well watch the damn thing."  So watch it I shall.  But I won't be happy about it. 

That's because the Saints should be in Atlanta today offering themselves up as a perfect and living sacrifice to the Patriots instead of the Rams.  That's because the Rams were the beneficiaries of perhaps the most egregious "no call" I think I have ever witnessed in all the years I have watched professional football.  Including the SEC Division of the league.

There was @ a minute fifty left to play in the 4th quarter.  The Saints had 3rd and 10 on the Ram's 15 or so.  Drew Brees drops back and fires one out to TommyLee Lewis.  Only waaaaaaay before the ball was anywhere near Lewis's mitts he got clocked by Rams DB Nickell Robey-Coleman.  Clocked as in hit in the head.  That's right. Not only was it pass interference in extremis.  It was targeting.  It should have been 1st Down Saints and Robey-Coleman should have been checking out the water pressure in the Visitor's locker room.

Naturally, being the consummate teacher that I am, I took class time last Thursday to bitch about the unfairness of it all.  About how this episode, considered alongside the previous season's epic last play choke job, was the perfect metaphor what misery it is to be a Saints fan.

"Misery?" one smart ass said. "They've been pretty good the last 10 years or so.  Even won a Super Bowl.  Another pointed out the missed face mask on Jared Goff during which he damn near got his head separated from his body.  I drew these misguided attempts to provide perspective to an abrupt close.  What's the point of power if you don't use it?

"I'm not listening to any of this," I said. "I prefer to luxuriate in my sense of victimhood."

The female members of the class thought that was pretty funny.  Hmmmmmm.

So the Saints got screwed, blued and tattooed a week or so ago.  They would probably have lost to New England anyway.  As will the Rams I predict.  And for whatever it's worth the NFL will take another look at whether to allow teams to challenge pass interference plays.  My guess is that they will not.  The games are already too long and they could call PI on every play most likely.  And besides, you can't legislate against incompetence.

So today maybe I will go play some golf and come home to the miscarriage of justice that will be this year's Super Bowl.  There are worse ways to spend a Sunday.

Kenny's right. It's gonna be on.  Might as well watch the damn thing.