David Brooks, Mike Pence
The Last of the Great Gentlemen
PBS: “Shields and Brooks”
One of the preeminent presentations of one of the preeminent news programs on air today is “Shields and Brooks”. For the initiated, this segment of the most informative television news forum is the one that is waited for the entire week.
At the end of every week and towards the end of every PBS “Newshour” comes a network news opinion denouement. Mark Shields, a tempered-by-the-trenches veteran of both politics and news; teams-up with The New York Timesdoyen, David Brooks to offer precise, intelligent and articulate views of certain of the week’s news.
On Friday, February 9th faithful PBS watchers weren’t disappointed. At the risk of doing disservice to the fine performance of the vaunted Shields, it was Brooks who stole the show this day as the interview by venerable host Judy Woodruff drew the program to its close.
‘Gentlemen…and I use the term loosely…’
Invoking the image of a romantic past, Brooks chastened: that, what appears to be a culture in politics and life this day undermines so much of what the better angels of our inspirations should beget. Left unsaid were the ponderings of how things got this way. Yet in the space of a few lines of discourse, Brooks summed it up well and wisely: ‘There’s a problem here.’
‘Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?’
We all have our demons. Yet, though the wonders of technology might well bring the worst demonstration of intentions and inclinations and actions of human nature into our view each and every day.
It is a consummation devoutly to be wished. That, in a time passed, maybe “we” were better as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, citizens: people. Men. Gentlemen?
It is a shame. If our conclusion reached is: that the self-respect and honest and earnest manner of courtliness that likely obtained for our parents and grandparents has been lost. Has been forfeited in favor of coarseness and an overt crassness; that seems to define common behavior in this day and age.
Of course, it is possible that such behavior tendencies were prevalent but largely unseen before the advent of ubiquitous and invasive high technology. Yet, maybe, this time, the fault is not one of technology that parades everything before us at the virtual push of a button.
Rather, with the ability to see ourselves like never before. We have probably shuffled downward. Slid in our standards of behavior, which we practice before our peers and before…ourselves.
Maybe Brooks is right. We are lesser, and…we vote!
“The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars But in ourselves.”
Wm. Shakespeare Julius Caesar
‘Democracy, the worst form of government…’
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
If the best form of government rule is democracy. Then its strength might be its shortcoming.
In an indirect representative form of democracy, which is the means of civil rule in the United States and some other governments in the world today. The ‘chink in the armor’ of the most perfect form of self-rule is that those who cast the ballot are, today, more often than not inclined to vote for that candidate who best represents what they feel. Is someone suited to carry their personal message to the fore; who is created in their image…
Somehow, it seems that we are inclined this day, not towards electing the person who is best suited or who is betterthan we are. We are satisfied or even motivated to support that person, that candidate, who we see as our ‘equal’ and not our ‘better’.
The seeds of its own destruction rest within democracy as when the greater citizen-rabble is convinced of individual and collective self-righteousness: it is then that mischief is afoot. Moreover, when those who are actually elected are of the terse belief that they are obligated to espouse every whim of each of their constituency rather than to exercise their own, independent general powers of judgment, if they possess such; to resolve each issue placed before them. The specter of dysfunction settles heavy upon the entire system.
‘You blocks, you stones…’
“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”
-Wm Shakespeare Julius Caesar
Brooks tapped into the energy that Friday night. Our elected and appointed representatives might just well be representative of so many of us. Not all of us, granted, but enough of us. Enough that the delinquent behavior of those who are seemingly so widely accused; might be too easily sufferable by, not only those who are elected and in charge; but also those who elected them.
Unfortunately. The whole matter of bad behavior might well have come full circle. “They” there on Capitol Hill and yon…not only represent so many of us. “They”, in so many respects are, us… Now what?
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
-Walt Kelly Pogo
Was Pence Just Being…Pensive?
If nothing else, being possessed of power is an enabling circumstance. When enabled, we are each inclined to do that, which comes most naturally to us.
Vice President Mike Pence, duly elected representative of the American people. Went forth on our behalf into one of the most fraught places on the globe. The Korean Peninsula. He arrived as the representative of the United States, its President and its people.
There, in South Korea at the Olympics venue, at a moment when the good faith display of genteel manners and diplomatic aplomb would have been most appreciated and politically profitable. The politician cum statesman offered not a hand in salute or friendship. The amanuensis of Donald Trump sat stoic but a mere arms length away from the anointed emissary of one of America’s most vociferous detractors. Sitting with Pence was the sister and official representative of Kim Jong Un. The much maligned leader of North Korea.
Pence, was un-energized. He showed it! The, to date, most functional purpose for this man was either ignored by him, un-sensed by him, had been actively defeated by orders thrust upon him by a recalcitrant and puerile President. Or, were lost on him because he had not the knowledge or the ability to enable the preferred reaction of any, thoughtful, everyday…gentleman.
“It’s about just being a gentleman.
The MeToo movement, everything that we have seen over the last six months, it’s, are, men — do they know what its like to be a gentleman and just behave decently like a gentleman?
If you look through the history of our political leaders, Teddy Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney they were gentlemen. It’s not hard.
And yet those once — you lose the social standards of how a man is supposed to behave, you have got a lot of bad stuff that comes out.”
(PBS Newshour 02/09/18)
Posted 6 minutes ago by DILULIUS, King of Troy