Opinion » Bill Cope

Whose Default Is It?

The tea weeds must be pulled, roots and all


For those of you who are uncomfortable--possibly apoplectic--with the Constitutional revision that Badger Bob has been presenting on this page for the last two weeks, you can breathe easily for now. I have taken back control of my own column.

It wasn't easy. I had to promise Bob we would return to his project from time to time, and I set him up on a card table in the basement so that he could re-write merrily along without the distractions he claims plague him when he tries to concentrate at home. (He says there is one yapping dog in particular, living in the yard just across the railroad tracks from where he parks his camper, which carries on night and day. Even worse, according to Bob, is the fact that this moon-mad mutt has all the same tonal qualities, inflections and vocal rhythms that he hears in Michele Bachmann when she speaks before a crowd of true believers. Is it any wonder that he can't concentrate?)

I'm letting him use one of my old computers--one of those old Macs that's the size and shape of a bowling ball gift box--and late into the night, every night, I can hear him whacking away at the keyboard. For a 75-year-old man who cut his typing teeth on a manual Smith Corona typewriter, he's pretty fast. He expects to be done with his Constitutional rehash by the 2012 election. Even if, as he anticipates, it comes in at 800 pages or more.

Every couple of hours, he stomps upstairs and demands that I listen to his latest "refinements," as he calls them. It can be annoying, especially when it happens while I'm trying to watch some TV. But if I know my pal Bob, his preoccupation will mellow in time and he will move back into his camper and pursue his revision with a more relaxed attitude, in spite of the dog.

He will never give up and stop--it's not in Bob's nature to abandon a project before it's done--but I expect the fire that crackles hot in his craw today to cool down considerably. That's one of the reasons I admire Bob: He's committed to what he believes but never crosses the line that would make him committable ... if you know catch my drift.

In the meantime, he doesn't eat much--two bowls of Raisin Bran a day, plus whatever stray carrots he finds rolling around at the bottom of the crisper. And he's good at cleaning up after himself. When he leaves the bathroom, you can hardly tell he's been there.

I also have to acknowledge that, if not for Bob and his unrelenting insistence that the Constitution must be "overhauled so clearly that even Clarence Thomas can understand it," (Bob's words) I might well be out in the back yard still soaking up the summer. I got carried away with seasonal carefreeness, I can see that now. It is only because of Bob's obsession that I have snapped out of it and returned to my duties. Drinking beer in the sun and barbecuing sundry chunks of animal flesh is a pleasure, no doubt about it. But in times like these, it is important to keep one's joie de vivre under control, yes?

And listen, if I have left the impression that I think Bob is a compulsive nuisance, that's not what I meant to do. I am sympathetic to his motives, if not always his methods. For instance, his observation is an unqualified bull's eye that the right is increasingly prone to assign a divine intention to anything and everything they consider their private ideological domain.

Their logic seems to be that any particular position, principle or value would have never occurred to them had not the Highest Power put it in their brains to begin with--e.g., "We believe in God and we believe in free markets, ergo, God believes in free markets." Within this line of reasoning--if "reasoning" is the proper name for a thought process so infantile--they can substitute virtually anything they represent for the "B" part of the equation--i.e., "We believe in God and we believe in guns, ergo, God believes in guns." And as we've seen over and over, their own say-so is all the proof they need.

It is this intellectual mud that Bob means to hose out when he tackles a project like revamping the U.S. Constitution. And in this respect, I have to agree with him. We cannot rely on facts, historical precedent or even on the most obvious truths when dealing with people who make up their own facts, who see in history only what they want to see, and who don't acknowledge anything to be true until they hear it from the Fox's mouth.

So yes, I understand what Bob is up to. The modern right is a noxious weed, and to defeat a noxious weed, you have to attack the roots. The fundamentals that feed their noxiousness. The foundations without which they would wither and blow away. Their positions, their refusal to compromise a retarded ideology, their efforts to define reality to their specious specifications ... these are only symptoms. It is their overinflated sense of absolute righteousness that needs to be destroyed. And quickly, before it destroys our country.

Today, when this column appears in public, we will be living through the day after a yapping pack of Tea Party vigilantes within our Congress did or did not bring the United States to its economic knees. I can't know by my deadline how it turned out, but if that disaster did indeed come to pass, we all know who made it happen. And if somehow we escaped the plunge, it was no thanks to them. Had such a threat to our nation been committed by self-proclaimed communists or self-proclaimed anarchists, we wouldn't hesitate to call it treasonous sabotage. But as it was done by self-proclaimed Republicans, they will not only get away with it, they will congratulate themselves as heroes.

"We believe in God and we believe in what we believe, ergo, God believes in what we believe."