Opinion » Bill Cope

Pretend Values

Can being Right and being honest co-exist?

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Pretend you're a Republican.

Oh c'mon, hippie! You don't have anything better to do at the moment, do you? If you have time to sit around reading this publication--as you obviously do--you have time to humor me for a minute or two and pretend you're a Republican.

And look, I'm not asking you to pretend you're one of the really stupid ones. You know ... a Michele Bachmann-grade Republican. I'm not asking you to slobber and drool and join the Association of Bat-Shit Crazy Americans (ABSCA) or anything like that.

No, all I'm asking is for you to pretend you're a Republican of moderate intelligence who is nervous about the deficit and jobless rate and a few other matters (mostly of a economic nature) that our nation is struggling with at the moment. You're not one of those who see socialist plots in every closet and Nazis hiding under your bed. You are simply worried about the fiscal future of our country and how the president's policies will affect that future. With me so far?

And as a Republican--even though you are moderately intelligent--you have accepted the notion that the news you get from the "Main-Stream Media" (MSM) is tainted, though it has never been fully explained to your satisfaction exactly what it is that Wolf Blitzer and Katie Couric are doing to the news to taint it. But just to be on the safe side, you get most of your news from Fox because you've been assured that what Fox offers is fair and balanced. Which is all you want out of life, isn't it? "Fair and balanced" stuff.

Now, as a moderately intelligent and moderately honorable person, you are uncomfortably aware that Fox News isn't quite as "fair and balanced" as they would have you believe. But what're ya' gonna do? You want to know what's going on in the world, but you can't trust Wolf or Katie. Or Charlie or Brian or anyone else, for that matter. Those MSM people don't even bother to tell you how "fair and balanced" they are.

So you continue getting a little more worried with each passing day. Alarmed, at times--because the way Fox tells it, if we don't disarm this Obama bomb PDQ, the game's over, man! Eek! Then you turn off the tube and go to bed, and as a moderately intelligent, moderately reasonable adult, you calm down enough to get to sleep, reminding yourself that things probably aren't as bad as it seems when you're watching Fox because, well, as a moderately honest individual, you can't help but notice the people on that network do have a tendency to exaggerate a tad.

Not to say you aren't concerned. You feel like you should be doing something, but you don't know what. And then good ol' Glenn offers you a way. He's got this 9/12 thing coming up in D.C. on Sept. 12, and he wants everyone who's concerned to show up and make their voices heard. So as a moderately involved citizen, you go.

Pretty big crowd, wasn't it? (Remember, we're pretending you're moderately intelligent, so you can count.) You went to an Ohio State game once and that's about how many people were there, the way you calculated it. And the D.C. Fire Department pretty much confirmed what you, with a moderately reasonable sense of numbers, figured out yourself. Sixty ... maybe 70,000 people. You are pleased so many showed up to protest Obama's policies--even if about half of them apparently were charter members of ABSCA--and you went home happy just to have done something.

Then you turn on Fox and there's ol' Glenn again, talking about how that university of such-'n'-such--(good ol' Glenn couldn't remember the university's name at the time, and to this day, it hasn't come to him)--put the 9/12 crowd at 2 million. Two million!

You say to yourself, "Hey wait a minute! Can Glenn Beck be so stupid that he can't tell the difference between 70,000 people and 2,000,000 people? Or could it be that he's ... (gulp!) ... lying!?"

Three months later, and here you are: still a Republican and still moderately intelligent. A couple of days before Sarah Palin's new book hit the shelves, you're listening to good ol' Rush and you hear him say, out of his own mouth, how Going Rogue is "truly one of the most substantive policy books I've read."

So you're down at Borders when the store opens, charge card in hand, eager for some of those substantive policy statements. That's something else you'd like out of life, isn't it? "Substantive" stuff.

And you read the book. Twice! You're even thinking about reading it again because something's wrong. Dreadfully wrong. After getting through all the sections about how McCain's campaign team did Sarah dirty and how Tina Fey and Katie Couric did Sarah dirty, you somehow missed out on the "substantive" part. And then it hits you: "Hey, wait a minute! Can Rush Limbaugh be so stupid that he can't tell the difference between real substance and the self-absorbed carping of a shallow and vindictive dunce? Or could it be that he's ... (gulp!) ... lying!?"

OK, granola, you can relax. I could go on. Hardly a minute passes without a new doozie from the Right, but we're done for now. Good thing you were just pretending to be a Republican, isn't it? And wouldn't you hate to really be one of them? Especially one of the moderately intelligent, moderately reasonable and moderately honorable ones ... where every damned day, you'd have to kiss another chunk of your integrity good-bye, just to keep up with the others.

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