Good riddance to congressional comity
Word fanatics Merriam and Webster tell us "comity" is "friendly social atmosphere: social harmony." That definition turned into a punch line at the recent constitutionally mandated State of the Union address. Emily Post, Letitia Baldridge, and Miss Manners, whose treatises on mannerly behavior were respected but unspoken rules on such occasions, were shredded by Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andy Ogles, Beth Van Duyne, and others of the new GOP-WWE who brought their best imitations of the British House of Commons to the political soirée. And not without good reason. After two years of Democrat-inspired and delivered taradiddle, comity became fatuity. At select times, phantom visions of the Animal House "food fight" floated across the TV screen. "Liar!," "Your fault!," "Name one, name one!" were clearly heard above the sturm und drang on the Republican side.
The next day, all the usual suspects were tut-tutting, tsk-tsking, and shame-shaming Republicans en masse, wagging their manicured fingers for this outrageous, disrespectful, Neanderthal behavior. Meanwhile, many objective pundits were posting comments ranging from reasoned understanding to their own standing Os for the wimpy, raised-pinky Republicans who finally struck back.
Fewer and fewer are surprised any longer that the Party of Feelings political dementia predictably kicks in when forcefully confronted with the insulting, divisive comments and outright lies coming from He Who Would Unite the Country mere days before his nationally broadcast snark. The deliberate misrepresentation of the Republican position on Social Security and Medicare was the straw that broke the elephant's back; hooting and hollering commenced.
Displaying its customary keen sense for the obvious, New York Magazine's inappropriately named "Intelligencer" opined:
It seems pretty clear that the traditions are changing. After all, until a century ago, presidents wouldn't appear in person to give their State of the Union address. ... It's unclear how the State of the Union will evolve in the future, but the formality of the recent past is gone. If this latest version speaks to what's ahead, the State of the Union has become more of an interactive experience. Members of Congress can shout at the president. The president can respond. The somber, made-for-C-Span ritual, when the president's party would stand and applaud and the opposing party would sit quietly with grim faces, seems as obsolete as a Betamax.
And good for us — as in U.S. The thin veil of comity was quaint, even preferred, a few generations ago when savoir-faire was understood, even properly pronounced, until succeeding generations tugged on that veil sufficiently for all to see the hypocrisy and double-standards smirking behind it. From Woodstock forward, the incremental corroding of "don't trust anyone over 30" to "get rid of all the whites" had an equally debilitating effect on tolerance, patience, and understanding — the comity among "my good friends across the aisle." Today, it's obvious that that was all rubbish at best and lying dog-faced pony soldier at worst.
Politics has always been a full-contact sport, with power and control over others the ultimate prize. What's better than having an enviable compensation with benefits like fully paid health care, reserved parking, deep discounts on haircuts and gasoline, the occasional commandeered plane ride and lifetime pension — all at taxpayer expense? Only one thing: the power to run everyone else's life. Because no one is above the law — but elected officials can ignore it with impunity.
Certainly, with that assortment of bennies at stake, righteous indignation toward those who lie to take it from you is understandable. Even encouraged.
The sprouting of a rudimentary backbone and political testicles is what the 40 million watching saw that night. For Republicans, it's about time.
No wonder the left and its myrmidons are calling them names.
That's what scared people do first.
Image: geralt via Pixabay, Pixabay License.