Friday, March 23, 2012

A Gauge of Our Social and Political Standards

Few things exemplify the coarsening and degradation of our social and political standards better than the lowering of the bar for honoring politicians by sticking their names on government buildings and other public facilities.

Not so long ago -- just a couple of decades back -- there was a tradition in the U.S. of not honoring anyone in this way until after they had died. That now abandoned tradition was based on the sensible recognition that any living person might in the future do something reprehensible . . . something that would embarrass those who irrevocably or at least memorably had affixed the honoree's name to something in public view.  One who had died was believed unlikely to misbehave in the future in a way that would cause any such embarrassment.

That was then and this is now . . . and now our politicos are so disliked and scorned, both widely and deservedly, that they are constantly scrambling to demonstrate their esteem for, and to honor one another.

As is so often the case, California in general, and its experimental madhouse called Berkeley, in particular, is leading the way on this.

There, it is not just a living politician who has been so honored but one who previously committed not just a reprehensible act but a criminal one for which he was convicted after initially denying his offense but then copping a plea. A municipal sports facility has been besmirched by having affixed to it the name of Berkeley's current mayor -- a guy who a few years ago was caught stealing from newspaper racks every copy that he could get his hands on of a local paper containing an editorial supporting an election opponent. His honor was trying to destroy as many copies of the paper as he could to prevent potential voters from seeing the editorial.

That's the kind of 'public servant' we now have and honor . . . the kind that is the basis for the axiom that any current holder of a public office that calls for its occupant to be addressed as honorable almost certainly is not.  And that's the kind of shameful but shameless politican routinely honored in willy-nilly fashion by his colleagues. 

Thus we have a plethora of things like the Dewey Cheatum Freeway . . . the Skrew Yew Recycling Plant and Refuse Disposal Facility . . . and the Igot Mein Sewage Treatment Center.  

No comments: