Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Garrison Keillor Speaks his Piece

Garrison Keillor is one of my great pleasures. His "Prairie Home Companion" is a delight, and occasionally rises to a lyricism and humanity that nearly reaches the awe-inspiring level of Middlemarch. I had never listened to him until I happened to stumble into one of his "News from Lake Wobegon" monologues, where I was hooked by his incredible voice telling a tale of being a teenager, and driving to Clear Lake, Iowa to see the site of the plane crash that took so many talented musicians. His achingly well-told tale left me breathless in the car, dabbing at tears in my eyes brought by the loss of innocense and the pain of mortality he delivered in that short monologue. (I never heard the monologue repeated, nor have I found it in any of his compilations. I wish I could find it.)

In this article, Garrison Keillor ponders how the decent Republican party, "the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships" has transformed itself into today's lot of Republicans.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.

While I have excerpted the above choice morsel, the entire piece is well worth reading and pondering. And he wraps it up with a thought that those of us who get passionate about politics need to keep in mind: "Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It’s a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning."

(Thanks to Comments from Left Field for bringing this article to my attention.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan. I needed that.

Tony O.

8/31/2004 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucky for us the left is there to guide us through the moral quagmire. Lucky that Kerry isn't taking money from the drug companies. Lucky that MoveON.org is a paragon of fairness and honesty. Lucky that . . . I could go on, but I won't.

Considering what both parties say compared to what they do, Washinton, D.C. is not the place I would pick for a child to learn morality. I stand by that statement regardless of which party controls Congress and/or the White House.

8/31/2004 1:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


Thanks for not going on. You weren't making any sense, or responding to the post.

8/31/2004 4:08 PM  

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