Saturday, September 12, 2009

A nation ripe for irony

If only I had the intellect and wit of Jonathan Swift, I would write a modest proposal for my country. This past week has elicited so many topics worthy of satire and parody. I wish I could remember them all.

The one that stands out in my addled mind is the controversy surrounding President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren. Some conservative parents claimed to be distraught that their children might be subjected to socialist "brainwashing" through a message that urged them to do their homework and take responsibility for their grades and behavior. I felt like I was living in an episode of the Twilight Zone when I read that some parents had threatened to keep their children home from school in order to avoid hearing this "socialist" message -- haven't conservatives been extolling the virtues of personal responsibility for years? Now a Democratic president gives a lecture that could have easily come from the pen of a Reagan speechwriter and we're told it's "socialist"? It's as if our nation has fallen through the rabbit hole.

If he weren't busy taking on California homophobes, the author of the brilliant campaign for a ballot initiative to ban divorce in his state would be an excellent candidate to wear Swift's satirical mantle and "save" our nation's vulnerable children from presidential pep-talks. John Marcotte has so cleverly worded his petition and accompanying website, which offers a ban on divorce as the most logical means of protecting marriage, that some of the commentators at Democratic Underground -- ever vigilant on their lookout for fundamentalist outrages, as they should be -- took it as evidence that fundies have completely vanished off the deep end. Kudos, Mr. Marcotte!