The rhetoric is boiling over. Tempers are flaring.
As an exercise in perspective and perception, I asked several people in the office Friday what they thought about what I’d heard on a conservative talk radio program that day.
The host of the show asked his guest what he thought about President Obama’s planned speech Tuesday morning to school children. Without hesitation the guest said it made him think of the Hitler Youth and the efforts of other totalitarian rulers to indoctrinate youth to their beliefs and causes.
Was that over the top? Most I asked agreed it was or at least pushing the envelope.
Was it racist?
Yes, absolutely, some said.
A fulminating discussion followed. We both got a little hot under the collar.
Minds are made up, and the strongest arguments — such as comparing the Obama administration to Mao, Hitler, Stalin — are dismissed as the lunatic fringe tossing rhetorical Molotov cocktails. Dissenters are called evil mongers, AstroTurf, un-American and racists, and that’s by elected officials.
There is some eeriness about true believers. Mark Steyn in Investor’s Business Daily stumbled upon a certain video about the same time I did. It is the one in which a bunch of pseudocelebrities make a bunch of hope and change pledges to self, country, environment and especially the president, including: "pledge to be a servant to our president and to all mankind because together we can, together we are, and together we will be the change that we seek."
Steyn compared it to the Iraqi primer with Amal and Hassan saying, "I come in a hurry to chant, ‘O, Saddam, our courageous president, we are all soldiers defending the borders for you, carrying weapons and marching to success.’"
I, after listening to the pledge video a couple of times and thinking of Sowell’s comment, had to go searching. I just knew the Hitler Youth, the Jungvolk, had to have a pledge.
I found it in excerpts from “The Rise and Fall of the Third Riech” by William Shirer.
“In the presence of this blood banner, which represents our Fuehrer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God.”
The debate over issues and philosophies has escalated beyond the rational and into hysteria. Maybe I’m fueling the fire, but I’d like to think I’m pointing out that the doctrinaire on both sides can be dismissing facts in favor of being true believers.
Listen to the pledge yourself. I find it a bit eerie myself. The pledge to be a servant to the president is at 3:55 toward the end.