There is a lady I work with. The timbre of her voice is such that where it not for my headphones and loud music, I may have been tempted to jam pens into my ears years ago.
She's older, an ardent supporter of Glenn Beck and all things conservative and frequent visitor of the poor soul who shares a cubicle wall with me. Usually after 3 minutes of visiting, I'll simply dial my neighbors phone, and usually that is enough to encourage this annoying individual to depart.
Yesterday she paid a visit, expounding the wonderfulness that is the movie Invictus. It was a tough situation for me, since I loved the movie, but hearing her describe her version of it was like a badly out of tune violin in the midst of a beautiful symphony.
And then she said it...
I wish we could trade the monkey in Washington for a man like Nelson Mandela.
Let me explain for those of you who don't get the complete absurdity of that statement right away...
This lady has voiced the following frustrations with President Obama...
1 - He's a socialist who is going to destroy our country, and I believe the word communist has also been tossed around a few times as well.
2 - He's out there apologizing to the world for being an American, when he should be sending more troops over to kill more of those damn Arabs and Muslims.
3 - He started all those irresponsible corporate bailouts, which have killed the economy.
Some things that she might find interesting about Mr. Mandela...
1 - His political views were influenced by men like Karl Marx, and organizers of the South African Communist party. When he reluctantly admitted that he had exhausted all possible diplomatic efforts to achieve equality in South Africa, and that violence was his only option, it was communist Russia which stepped in and provided his party with weaponry, ammunition and training. While all this may not be commonly knowledge to the average American, the fact that Mr. Mandela is repeatedly addressed and addresses others in the movie as "Comrade" should have been a pretty big clue.
2 - Mr. Mandela is HUGE on non-violent and diplomatic solutions, regarding a violent approach only as a last resort, and even then only after very careful consideration. It is a big part of the reason that Mr. Mandela, together with former president Carter and other world leaders despised by Conservatives are working together as part of a group called "The Elders". Their goal is to try and resolve world conflict, without the use of war.
3 - I'm not sure about Mr. Mandela's stance on corporate bailouts. He's strongly in favor of trade unions and elimination of an elite class who rules the world, and as such I suspect he might frown on crony capitalism, as practiced in the US.
But that all aside, I think there is a rather important lesson to learn here...
You see, the rather clueless lady who I work, doesn't really subscribe to a particular political philosophy. She's a loyal listener of Glenn Beck, and so she lets him do the thinking for her. She doesn't really know much about Mr. Obama's policies, but she knows that Glenn Beck thinks he's a socialist and a communist, and those kinds of people want to rape your children, take away your jobs and send you to work at death camps in Northern Canada, where the socialized health-care system will select you for euthenasia as soon as you get a cold. I'll admit that is a slight exaggeration of the truth for effect, but likely not by much!
But something happened to this lady over the weekend... She got to know a political character without commentary from some self righteous bigot on the radio. She got to see his vision for the future of a country in strife and the character man who fought for an idealogy that many told him was impossible. In many ways, she got to know a man who is the epitomy of what President Obama claimed to represent when he ran for the office of the President in 2008.
And she liked him!
The problem is not that people like Glenn Beck exist, the problem is the clueless hordes who follow men like him, without any clue about what they're being fed.
There are a handful of people who listen to him, who do actually have a clue about political philosophy and agree with him on many fronts... Mr. D. Sirmize who frequently comments here is one such person. I may not agree with him politically, but he knows where he stands and why he stands there. Unfortunately in my experience, he's stands a somewhat lonely beacon of reason and rationale amongst a sea of clueless hypocrites and sheeple.