Politicians like to tell folksy stories that illustrate a moral or a larger point. Telling stories about Margie who lost her health insurance in Virginia or, you know, about Sheriff Lee who discovered that bureaucracy interferes with saving lives, is a convenient rhetorical device to use when pressed for time, as it can reduce a whole slew of ideas into a neat little package, and cause an emotional reaction to boot. No politician is above this device, and nor should they be.
Bobby Jindal mentioned Sheriff Lee and bureaucracy the other night when responding to Pres Obama’s plan to turn our nation into a Communist regime. (JK.) As salon.com and others have now reported, Jindal’s story was exaggerated.
Who cares if it’s true or not? Okay, well, I care a little bit. But the point is, why the hell does a governor denounce government? And furthermore, why is a partisan for the economic ideology that ruined our economy making a speech promoting said ideology?
Most importantly, why aren’t we talking about how the idea behind his exaggerated story is untrue and harmful?
I’ve got a lot of problems, as you can see.
But nothing gets my goat more than that particular Republican idea, invoked by Jindal the other night, and also notably by Sarah Palin in her one glorious debate, that being anti-government is actually patriotic. Call me crazy, but that makes no sense. Being anti-government is being loyal to a deluded vision of America, the America of the Wild West, vigilantes and rebels.
I too have a “niche” view of America, but it’s not that different from Barack Obama’s or even Bobby Jindal’s view, in that I think this is really a land of some opportunity, a place that is a hodge-podge of cultures tumbling, melting, breaking, punching, and eventually finding some peace together (or at least hoping that we find peace in the future). And you know what? I like to think that the government bureaucracy helped this land become what it is, from immigration laws to civil rights laws. Places like France who choose to be officially color blind still do not have the legal or cultural vocabulary to deal with discrimination; it will be a long time until a person of, say, North African descent is elected to a high office there.
So Bobby Jindal contradicts himself when he decries the evils of bureaucracy while simultaneously praising America as a land of opportunity. Those opportunities might not exist without bureaucracy stepping in somewhere along the line.
SO BE HAPPY THAT WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT!