Decency Takes a Dive
George Will has a very good column this week. Here are a couple of excerpts that caught my eye:
Sept. 10, 2007 issue – Last week, a U.S. senator’s 27-year congressional career crashed and burned and his life unraveled in public ignominy, and a presidential candidate announced his disgust in a way that did him no credit. The U.S. attorney general made a resignation statement containing a repulsive sentiment suffused with vanity. And in a weird addition to last week’s jumbled sensibilities and sensitivities, the Public Broadcasting System announced that, because some station managers are afraid that the Federal Communications Commission’s decency police might take umbrage and impose fines, two versions of Ken Burns’s 14Â½-hour documentary “The War” will be distributed, in one of which four words of profanity will be removed. This is not because the words shockingly and wrongly suggest that soldiers in World War II sometimes used indelicate language (does no one remember what the F in the wartime acronym “snafu” stands for?), but because someone, somewhere, might be offended by that fact.
And speaking of the tone-deaf, Alberto Gonzales could not even leave high office without advertising his unfitness for it. As he habitually has done, he reminded the nation that he has “lived the American Dream,” which he evidently thinks is epitomized by his success in attaching himself to a politician not known for demanding quality in assistants. Gonzales then demonstrated how uncomprehending he is of essential American values. He said: “Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father’s best days.”Well. His father married and had eight childrenâ€”nine wonderful days, days even better, one would have thought, than any of the days his son spent floundering at the Justice Department. Furthermore, Gonzales’s father had the fulfillment of a lifetime spent providing for his family. But what is any of that, Gonzales implies, compared with the satisfaction of occupying, however unsatisfactorily, a high office? This implicit disparagement of his father’s life of responsibility and self-sufficiency turns conservatism inside out.