On a recent trip to Washington, DC I watched, thunderstruck, as two women stood next to the Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian debating whether or not “they used the real Heart of the Ocean” during the filming of James Cameron’s famous movie Titanic. Armed with completely absurd “facts” and ignoring the ginormous posters around the fabulous gem betraying its true identity as the one and only Hope Diamond, this woman wagged an ugly fake fingernail at her friend’s face. My colleague saw the contempt welling up in me, and to avoid a rather embarrassing reality check for these two idiot women, he ushered me to the next exhibit.
Many have drawn comparisons between American politics and the sinking of the fabled liner, and I’m about to do the same. SPOILER ALERT: If you have a Gadsden flag tattooed on your ass or you have ever considered going to Hawaii to look for the long-form birth certificate, then I suggest you read no further.
The Titanic was the pride of Great Britain. Carrying only the finest, the ship was meant to show the rest of the world (and the folks over at Cunard) that the White Star line was king of the world’s oceans. Mere days into the ship’s maiden voyage, a slow dance with an ice cube sent the glittery jewel to the bottom of the Atlantic where it currently sits, decaying and forgotten.
There was no crash or jarring impact to speak of; it’s often believed that most of the passengers didn’t even feel the ship graze the massive chunk of artic ice. The impact was so slight that the steel didn’t tear; it bent, popping the rivets, which allowed the water into the ship’s underbelly.
Within a few hours the most beautiful machine man ever created slipped under the water with hundreds of innocent souls still aboard.
Over the last 100 years fingers have been pointed and accusations have been hurled at the poor, innocent iceberg. Well, I’m here to say that the iceberg was framed! Investigations after the tragedy revealed that a man by the name of Fredrick Fleet, shivering and cold up in the crow’s nest, hadn’t been issued a pair of binoculars. That’s right, kids. The one dude on the whole boat who needed binoculars didn’t have any. The radio operator, bored with his job, ignored multiple ice warnings from other ships. Yes, the two men on board who could’ve saved the ship by merely doing their jobs didn’t, and we all know how this story ends.
It wasn’t the iceberg that killed the fabled ship; it was the vanity, arrogance and ineptitude of the men controlling it. They were smarter than God, tougher than Mother Nature, and wholly uninterested in anything beyond their narrow worldview.
As I watch the debate forming this year, the GOP reminds me of this most famous of disasters. A refusal to listen, a persistent arrogance and pervasive anti-intellectualism define the GOP’s base, and they don’t seem to care. Our country looms on the brink of financial disaster and social unrest, the Democrats have done their best to implode our healthcare system and yet the Republicans still insist on making this about the goings-on inside a woman’s underwear or whether or not two dudes who love each other can get married.
The paradigm is shifting and the tent is expanding, yet the bigoted, backward rubes controlling the base whose sheer stupidity has propelled people like Sharron Angle and Rick Santorum into prominence still cling to the notion that they are indeed the “true conservatives.” They aren’t, and they aren’t going to win. They are out of touch, ignoring the repeated warnings, and as November 2012 approaches may find themselves sinking into the abyss come Election Day.
It’s time for a reality check, Republicans. Pioneers like Lauren Scott, candidate for Assembly district 30 are emerging in your ranks and you’d be wise to take heed of their message. Being the party of the ignorant and the arrogant won’t lead to anything but four more years of Obama, and thankfully people like Lauren can see that. Hopefully, the rest of the Republican Party will too. If not, then full steam ahead.