One of my favorite fictional characters is Will McAvoy, anchor on HBO’s brilliant Aaron Sorkin drama series, “The Newsroom”. Will is complex, honest and a traditional Republican. I like him. He answered a challenge from a colleague to his “red cred” with this response:
“No, I call myself a Republican because I am one. I believe in market solutions and I believe in common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world. The problem is now I have to be homophobic. I have to count the number of times people go to church. I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con. I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride. And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect in the 21st Century. Most of all, the biggest new requirement-–the only requirement-–is that I have to hate Democrats.” – Will McAvoy (not an actual real person).
This seems particularly germane this week, when the House in two unrelated moves, cut food aid to those in need by $39 billion, and once again voted to risk American credit rating and the economic recovery over their senseless opposition to affordable health care for citizens. Doesn’t this make the forty-third vote on the issue? Don’t House Republicans have something else they were hired to do for a hundred and seventy grand, the best health care in the world and a full pension?
These actions came also in a week when the gap in earnings growth over the past few years between the top 1% and the rest of us was revealed in stark detail, and the need for a robust safety net made all that more obvious. (See recent census statistics covered by any of the real news organizations.) Needless to say the data show unshakably we’re definitely not ALL recovering.
But the brilliance of Will’s comments was further punctuated today, almost poetically, with the story out of North Carolina about book banning:
All copies of Ralph Ellison’s National Book Award–winning novel Invisible Man will be removed from a North Carolina county’s school libraries. The Randolph County Board of Education voted to ban the critically acclaimed 1952 book from its reading list. Invisible Man was named one of the top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century by Time magazine in 2010, but according to the parent whose complaint sparked the vote, “This book is filthier, too much for teenagers.” The board’s chair said he thought the novel was “a hard read,” while another board said he “didn’t find any literary value” in it.
I suppose these North Carolina school board members were well qualified to comment on Ellison’s work.
I have heard otherwise thoughtful people express sincere concern that “they” will soon be imposing “sharia law”. Most people who utter this kind of idiocy could not define sharia law, or The Affordable Health Care program, or the second amendment. But utter they do, and some have radio or TeeVee shows, or are called upon to voice their hallucinogenic opinions in public.
North Carolina (again) yesterday became the seventh state to actually have on its books a ban on judges considering sharia law in their rulings. Say what? We know of course what this is. Ignorance on parade masquerading as patriotism. But that an actual state legislature would fall for such bald-faced racism and hate-mongering is stunning.
I suggest we already have our own home-baked version of sharia, and it does not originate from Mecca, but rather Colorado Springs or Randolph County, North Carolina. Or Fox News. Or the tea party wing of what McAvoy would still hope is a real political party and not one overrun my moronic zealots.
I have a feeling that Will might agree with me, if he were real.