January 30, 2006
NO hand clapping
Why do we clap? It's a question I want to pose to Democrats on the say before the State of the Union. Why do we clap?
If you look under “applause” in the Webster online dictionary you find this definition:
1 : marked commendation : Acclaim
2 : approval publicly expressed (as by clapping the hands)
Okay, so when President Bush walks into the chamber Tuesday night, why applaud? Sure stand. Standing when the President of the United States enters a room is a show of respect – not for the man -- but for the office. So by all means stand.
But clap like a trained seal? Why? If Democrats clap what are they clapping for?
If you are a Democrat andyou plan on clapping Tuesday night, will you do me a favor today -- put a check mark next to the Bush policies you are approving of:
I am a Democrat and I will clap Tuesday night when Bush walks in because:
* Of the mess Bush has made for us, the Iraqis and the world in Iraq.
* Of the 2250 American soldiers he got killed in a war justified by falsehoods.
* Bush is breaking the law by spying on Americans.
* Bush has added the US to the list of nations that sanction torture.
* Of Bush's systematic gutting of the American working middle class.
* Of the 50 million Americans who can't afford medical insurance.
* Bush is a global warming denier.
* Of record high oil company profits and record heating and gas prices.
* Bush cut taxes for the rich while doubling our national debt.
* High paying jobs have been replaced by lower paying jobs.
* Of Bush's disastrous “democracy” crusade in the Islamic world.
* Of this year's $400 billion deficit, and the many that will follow thanks to his failed trickle down” voodoo economic policies.
Here's what I am asking – and I don't think it's much to ask from those of us out here who hope the Democrats will step up to the plate and begin leading again.
Tuesday night I want House and Senate Democrats to show the Presidency respect by standing when the current occupant of that office enters and leaves the chamber.
What I DON”T want them to do is to clap.
Instead I want them to keep their manicured hands respectfully folded in front of them. Let GOP sycophants on the other side of the aisle clap and hoot all they want.
But I want Democrats to simply stand in respectful silence.
Is that so much ask? After all, all I am asking Democrats to do is what they are best at anyway – nothing. They've perfected doing nothing to an goddamn art. So play to your strength kids. Tuesday night, stand, but don't clap. Here it is – a rare moment when doing nothing is actually the right thing. Imagine that!
But I have no false hopes. As was once said about the Palestinians, Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Tuesday night is an opportunity, a rare opportunity for this beaten down, powerless opposition party to actually have an impact – by doing nothing, It would be a silent protest witnessed by hundreds of millions of Americans, as well as millions more around the globe. It would offer hope. Hope that there may be an alternative to the dismal, un-American, undemocratic, authoritarian, plutocratic, arrogant pack of intellectual goose-steppers now in power. And that not everyone in Washington is either an drunk with power, a cheap opportunist, crazy or all the above.
Of course I have been around too long to believe for a second that the Dems can agree to stand united in silent protest Tuesday night. Many – likely most, -- Democrats will clap. They will do the political calculation and, as they always do, figure that standing silent might piss off a contributor or a voter demographic. So, wearing a glum expression, while clapping unenthusiastically, is safest way to go.
Playing it safe by trying to have it both ways is the reason Democrats are out of power and likely to stay that way. Exhibit A: Hillary “Burn-A-Flag-Go-to Jail” Clinton. She'll clap. You can bet the farm on it. She'll put on her best scold expression, -- (A look Bill knows all too well.) Then Hillary will clap -- at least until she's sure the TV camera captured her pained expression and listless clap. All bases covered.
So it's up to us. Today let your Democrat representatives know you don't want them to applaud for this guy tomorrow night. Then on Tuesday night watch as the camera scans that sea of trained seals and notice if your Senators and Representative are clapping. If they are clapping then Wednesday morning phone or email their office and asked them to explain specifically what particular policies they were congratulating George for with their applause.
Because, inquiring minds will want to know.
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