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WELL, well, well, howya doing, doc? Yes, it’s been years since we’ve asked for a sit-down. Or a lie-down. It seems we used to call for an appointment on a weekly basis back when Nolan was in the news. Oh, what a quaint time that was, arguing basketball on the editorial page. We sometimes become wistful thinking about 40 minutes of hell. We laugh at our old selves for thinking that was so important.

Remember when we’d come in and go at it for an hour about clinton clauses and Bushisms? And complain about Jim Holt and Bill Halter. And cry about the Hogs not making it to a New Year’s Day bowl. Can it really be that those were the good old days? A time to remember fondly? It wasn’t exactly black-and-white Mayberry, but it seems those days were a simpler time.

And now . . . .

Mama would be ashamed of us all, doc. We doubt she’d allow us to read the paper these days, if she ever got to the front pages first. She’d probably just hand us the funnies and tell us to go read outside, where we couldn’t hear the TV.

It’s a dangerous gig, doc, editorializing on the news these days. We don’t want to slip up, and say something that can’t be said in a family newspaper. We hesitate to quote some of this stuff verbatim without asking around first. “Is it okay to say this? Is it okay to mention that?”

The president of the United States stood before a crowd last week and mocked a woman who claims to have been attacked. The surprising part was, it wasn’t that surprising. That’s the kind of person he is. Somebody in the last campaign told him, to his face, that he couldn’t insult his way to the presidency—then he went and did just exactly that. After all, if you can mock John Mc-Cain for being captured in Vietnam, is there anybody you can’t mock?

No, the surprising part was the audience, doc. They cheered.

And they cheered on Facebook. They cheered on the radio. They cheered all over. We know some of these people. These are good people, church people. But they cheered and begged for more.

Then we have what The Wall Street Journal editorialists call “our friends on the left.” (As if the Journal had any.) Hyprocrisy in politics is nothing new, doc, but these people take the cake.

Doc, the party of Bill Clinton is now shaking its collective finger at the rest of us, and telling us we always have to believe a claim of sexual assault, no matter the evidence, or, more precisely, no matter the lack of evidence. And that a man is presumed guilty until he proves his innocence.

Doc, do you remember how “Move-on.org” got its name? After years of denials about sexual assaults and sexual encounters and sexual-everything-else, our friends on the left were finally presented with evidence that Bill Clinton was a sexual-everything-else. And his supporters (enablers?) decided that the country should just move on. Fuggetaboutit. That was the past. Nothing new to see here. Just have Congress censure Bill Clinton so we can all move on.

Dot org.

Now these very same people are digging through high school yearbooks for clues from the 1980s.

Can it be, doc, that folks in this country are willing to believe, or not believe, a claim of attempted rape depending on the political party of the accused? Or the political leanings of the accuser? Can it be that today’s Americans will change their opinions on such fundamentals as due process and the assumption of innocence depending on the party of the person being accused? Can it be that We the People will change our opinions on Huge Matters depending on whether the person in the spotlight is Republican or Democrat?

Doc, are we losing our minds?

WE GET the feeling, doc—a strong feeling, based on the evidence—that if this president were a Democrat, and this judge one of the activist kinds, that the two parties would be on opposite sides again, Democrats telling women to move on, and Republicans wanting to hire another Ken Starr. And we get the feeling that if the last president had been captured on tape saying some of the things the current POTUS has said, Republicans would be storming the gates.

Doc, we’re not naive. We understand the whole whose-ox-is-being-gored thing.

But can deeply held, fundamental beliefs change so completely, a full 180, depending on who’s side is in the spotlight?

Doc, this isn’t trivial stuff. We’re watching our friends and family make arguments they would never have made before, and might not ever make again, based on who’s wearing the right colored uniform. Or the wrong colored uniform. Doc, this ain’t football.

Some of us wonder if this country can shake itself out of the fog. And go back to first principles.

Doc, is there something you can do? We think we’re going to need more’n two Aspirins for this one. And maybe reserve this couch every Tuesday at 2 p.m. for the next few months. We’re going to need professional help.

Again.

But it’s serious this time.

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