A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Recent outrages require comment & criticism

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Kind reader, we are not unaware of the fact that since the beginning of the new year we have failed to follow our usual pattern of choice of subject matter upon which to write these weekly columns.
From the inception of these columns we have tried, and generally been successful in writing about several different fields.
These have included history, biography, reminiscences, travel, gastronomy, gardening, tributes — both current and post mortem, law, philosophy and politics.
For the past several weeks, we have scarcely mentioned any of the foregoing topics except for politics.
We have chosen to violate our own rule about subject matter with reluctance and regret, but, the present climate and the actions of so many of our so-called public servants have been so extraordinary, and outside the normal scope of our best traditions as a nation, that we feel and have felt that it would be a dereliction of our duty not to point out to you, our readers, how indecent some are, how immoral some are, how ignorant some are, and how intolerable some are.
It is to be hoped that before long the scene both in our state and in our nation will become less bizarre and return to some semblance of sanity, sensibility, and serenity; and we can with good will and high hope return to our former pattern of columnizing, but until that happy day dawns, we must continue to point out the un-American conduct of those who would rule over us.
We have had occasion many times in the past to comment upon the capacity of the GOP leadership to coalesce and unify upon a matter and then march off in lockstep in support of the agreed upon notion.
Democrats still justify completely the famous remark of the late Will Rogers who was once asked about his political affiliation. He replied, ‘I am not a member of any organized political party — I am a Democrat.’
The most remarkable recent example of Republican cohesion and unity is their strong effort, (albeit unwitting) to prove the proposition that whereas the Republican Party was once a bastion of intellectualism and wit illustrated by the likes of Henry Cabot Lodge and Bill Buckley, it is now a fraternity of idiots, with the distaff side composed of ditsy dames with a phallic fantasy fixation.
Recent developments in the General Assembly have shown that the leaders of this effort to demonstrate mental disintegration may well be centered around the Middle Tennessee area.
The latest example arises from Murfreesboro, whence spring State Sen. Bill Ketron, and State Rep. Rick Womick.
These two clowns have introduced a bill in the legislature which, according to Monday’s News Sentinel, “would require U.S. presidential candidates to prove they were born U.S. citizens to qualify for the ballot in the state.” Ketron declares that he proposed the bill “because he thinks President Barack Obama might be hiding the fact that he was born in another country.”
There are some mentally deficient folk out there, sometimes called “Birthers” from whom one would expect such nonsense, but from a State Senator and a State Representative? Don’t we deserve better minds than this making our laws?
First of all, there are few people who could prove where they were born. Although they were there when it happened, they did not recognize that it was happening, nor where. All that the majority of us can go on is what we were told, and that may or may not be the truth.
In order that people can prove the fact of their birth, its locale, etc., some years ago most states adopted some form of official registry where the births were officially noted. There is, however, no uniform methodology required and birth certificates, or certificates of birth, can vary from state to state.
The state of Hawaii has established such a system of registration, and it shows that Barack Obama was born in that state, but the “birthers” simply say it’s all a lie and he was born in Africa.
Many of these great intellects also claim the Earth is flat, there is no global climate change, evolution is a fraud, and the universe was created in six days, just over six thousand years ago.
What makes this whole thing so ludicrous is the fact that the Republican candidate for president against Mr. Obama, was Sen. John McCain, who was indisputably not born in the United States, but was born in Panama, and thus not legally qualified to run for, nor serve, as president.
But this crowd probably denies this fact of McCain’s birth being foreign just a easily as they deny the fact of President Obama’s birth being strictly a case of “Born in the USA”.
We wonder if our fellow historians have noted the many similarities that are developing between the Republican/TEA Party vision of, and plan for, America, and the state of France during the last days of the Ancien Régime, during the reigns of the Louises.
For instance, the class warfare of the rich and powerful against the “sans culottes” of the poor and underprivileged classes; the refusal to levy taxes upon the rich; the granting of special privileges to the upper classes; the vesting of more and more wealth and property in these upper classes; and the usage of the state to promote not the general welfare, but the special welfare of the nobility and upper classes.
Let us hope that the excesses of this Nouvelle Regime may be eliminated by a less cutting remedy than that administered by Madame Guillotine.
However, although the Anglo-Saxon temperament is more stolid and slower to anger than the French, it should be remembered that there is a long history of vindicating the rights of Britain’s common people from the days of Magna Carta, to the establishment of Parliament, through the Commonwealth, to the 1688 Bill of Rights. T
he plutocrats and power brokers might do well to reread Patrick Henry’s speech and profit thereby.
Have you noticed that almost all the spokesmen for the forces who want to destroy the unions, and slash most of the governmental programmes tell us in effect to be afraid, very afraid?
They say we are broke! That catastrophe comes, and disaster looms! To which we say balderdash, and remind one and all of the wisdom of the great Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he reminded us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
There are solutions, most of them relatively painless, to all the problems they point out. Of course, for some reason, they regard as excruciatingly painful the prospect of rich people writing checks for something beside mansions, jewels, limousines, yachts, stock deals, etc.
Over the 20 years from 1980 to 2000, three presidents, two Republican and one Democrat recognized that government was needed and that it must be paid for.
Therefore, Reagan raised taxes 11 times, why can’t we? Geo H. W. “Read my lips, no new taxes,” Bush raised taxes despite that solemn promise, why can’t we? Bill Clinton raised taxes, and balanced the budget.
Why can’t we?