Monday, March 22, 2010

Have You No Shame?

During the early 1950's Senator Eugene McCarthy conducted a series of inquiries under the pretext of rooting out communism from our society. These congressional hearings were some of the most reprehensible moments in our history. As the hearings progressed Senator McCarthy gained ever increasing power that he wielded to ruin many careers. Then one day he was confronted by a lawyer named Joseph Welch. In a very famous encounter with McCarthy, Mr. Welch was able to end McCarthy's reign by confronting him with these words, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last have you left no sense of decency?" I doubt that in our current cultural context such words would have any effect but I sure wish that some one in a position of power within the Republican Party would have the guts and integrity to take such a stand.

I can remember growing up and watching either David Susskind or William F. Buckley, Jr. on PBS. Susskind was cool because he smoked and had sexy people on his show. Buckley was also cool because he was an intellectual and was able to articulate positions in an eloquent and reasoned manner. As I watched his tongue I was also stimulated to think and respond to what was normally a differing opinion presented in very fine fashion. I may not have agreed with many of his conservative views but I clearly could respect his style and opinion.

Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and I'm sorry to say way too many more, appeal to the lowest common denominator. They prey on ignorance, fear, racism, and the blind trust that too many of us put in them. I'm sure that the tea bag movement has within its ranks many who are truly concerned about our country. Sadly they appear to have no awareness that they serve as cannon fodder for those that manipulate them for their own selfish ends.

During the last presidential campaign we learned that Barack Obama was both a Muslim and not really an American citizen. This has further degenerated into portraying him both as a Socialist and Hitler. Yet the Republican party remains not only silent about the absurdity of these assertions they actively encourage them. To which I reply with what many think Welch said, Have you no shame?

When during the State of the Union address Joe Wilson shouted out "You lie" there was no condemnation from the Republican leaders. Now we have another Mensa member from Texas yelling out "Baby Killer" to Bart Stupak. I wonder how far down the food chain of civility and respect we have to slide before integrity and decency will again have some meaning? Who needs to be killed by some poor schlemiel before we get a wake up call?