Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taking offense vs. making excuses...

Blair over at Imaginative America links to a BatesLine post that he states "makes a pretty convincing argument as to why the legislators that voted against the Flaming Lips are not complete dopes." Complete dopes, no. Spineless literalists, yes.

Taking offense to a rocker wearing a hammer and sickle design on a T-shirt demonstrates a number of points about our state representatives:

  1. They were looking for an excuse to pick a "safer" song than one by the Lips;
  2. They lack the ability to distinguish between an individual's personal statements (fashion or otherwise) and their artistic achievements;
  3. They need to pull all of the state's memorials to Woody Guthrie;
  4. They need to read their Oklahoma history about the legacy of socialism in Oklahoma (especially in the agricultural area of the state; read as MOST OF IT);
  5. They pay attention to T-shirt sloganeering;
  6. They have little to no sense of irony or subtlety;
  7. They personalize WAAAAY too much.
The final point may be the biggest. Honest and rigorous debate is crucial to a healthy functional democracy. Democracy was in full effect when the people of Oklahoma voted "Do You Realize?" as the state's Official Rock Song. However, a portion of the State House felt the need to negate that expression based upon their assessment of Mr. Ivins' moral validity. Because he wears this shirt, he supports communism. Because he supports communism, he is bad. Because he is bad, everything he does is bad. Because everything he does is bad, if we show an affinity for anything he does, we either endorse badness or we ourselves are bad.

Am I the only person out there disturbed by the inability of our elected officials to separate the message from the messenger? Subtlety and reason apparently don't go far at the Capitol.