CALUMNIES 

CALUMNIES

BLOWHARDS END UP BLOWING IT A mighty wind blew across the Northeast recently (no, not the mega-storm that knocked down trees and knocked out electricity to thousands). That other mighty wind: Congress’ 30-hour talkathon. What an embarrassment! Not surprisingly, such an abundance of hot air had no effect whatsoever on the continuing conflict between Democrats and Republicans over President Bush’s judicial nominees. Some rich folks lost a little sleep, is all (not to worry, though -- it’s not like any of them are missing any meals.) It’s a wonder they can sleep at all; but then, congressional salaries can buy a lot of expensive mattresses, sleep aids, and/or Viagra. Congress’ monumental chin-wag did result in one thing, however: It deepened the disgust many Americans feel toward politicians in general. What is especially disgusting is the spectacle of suited wind-bags flapping their flabby gums while America’s finest are being siphoned off as cannon-fodder in yet another war begun by wind-bags who can’t seem to find anything new to say or suggest. "Stay the Course!" "The Ultimate Sacrifice!" "Our Deepest Sympathies!" "Evil-Doers!" "Global Democratic Revolution!" -- such oft-repeated phrases evaporate like so much flop-sweat on the brows of hypocrites who cannot possibly believe what they’re spouting as they drag the world into a self-fulfilling Armageddon. The age of oratory is long dead, apparently, and mercifully so. If this is where grandiloquence has brought us, then too bad the power of speech wasn’t revoked at the Tower of Babel. These days, the lies come so thick and fast and transparent that my 8-year-old can spot them. "War is stupid," says my third-grader. And wisdom is the property of the dead, according to a poet named Yeats who once wrote meaningful lines about another "War to End All Wars" nearly 100 years ago.

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