Friday, April 27, 2012

Lowlights & Highlights: April 28, 2012

This is one of the most despicable things I have ever heard said by a politician...which is saying a lot (especially these days). During a session of the state legislature, state Representative Jeremy Faison (R-TN) stated that the suicides of bullying victims was not because of bullying. Rather, he said it was the fault of bad parenting and improper values. When I learned about this, my head nearly exploded. There are so many ways in which this statement is beyond the pale, but I'll just point out the glaring ones:

-First, ignorance. How many parents of bullying/suicide victims does this guy actually know? To how many of these parents has he spoken? My guess as to the answers to both of these questions is ZERO. He was making a generalization based on speculation rather than an "educated" guess based in fact. 

-Second, what we have here is a clear lack of empathy. If he had put himself in the shoes of these parents, he would have known not to say such a thing. had a child of his committed suicide (for any reason, let alone bullying specifically) and someone told him it was his fault, his reaction would most likely be extreme anger, extreme sadness, or both. 

-Third (and most obvious), it's just plain heartless. These parents are going through something that no one can possibly fathom unless they have experienced first hand. Then for Faison to point to them and say "It's your fault your kid is dead?" It's just an utterly soulless thing to say. I truly have no idea how people like this come to political power and stay there after such an incident. If he had any honour, he would resign.

Faison has since apologized for the statement. I tend to not believe such "apologies" because it is clear that the reason for these apologies has more to do with public backlash and less to do with sincere regret. While I don't know what is in this man's heart, the callousness of the original statement requires him to go further to deserve the benefit of a doubt.


After a disastrous primary day this week, it was announced that Newt Gingrich would be exiting the race. For some reason that I still don't understand, he is leaving the race next week despite his departure being announced this week. That's the first thing I don't get. The second (which I've been thinking about for some time now) is why he didn't get out earlier. My best guess is his ego. He only won one state, and one of those was his home state, Georgia, so that barely counts. I can understand why Santorum stayed in as long as he did, but not Gingrich. Maybe if he had dropped out earlier, Santorum would have ended up doing better.

Gingrich's candidacy was at best a joke, at worst a poor indictment on the Republican Party based on some of the things he said. He advocated for children being janitors. There was a video of someone telling Newt that he was a joke, a disgrace, and he should get out of the race before he makes a fool of himself (advice that was not heeded until it was too late). He made a campaign point of talking about permanent Moon colonies (unsurprisingly, that was him pandering before the Florida primary). He went on-record as saying that child labour laws were unconstitutional. As one of his opponents pointed out (I believe it was Santorum) that he was run out of the Speakership by members of his own party. Not exactly the kind of leadership one would want in their party's nominee for the presidency, let alone the presidency itself. And then there is my major personal gripe that he has the audacity to talk about the sanctity of marriage while being married to wife #3 (with whom he cheated on wife #2, with whom in her turn he cheated on wife #1). He's unscrupulous, pretentious, self-righteous, and hypocritical. Wait a minute, that should have made Gingrich the perfect GOP candidate.

Farewell Newt. We won't miss you (apparently that includes many of your fellow Republicans).

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