Monday, April 14, 2008

Am I A Bad Person?

Does it make me a bad person when I take pleasure in another’s misfortune? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on the person. Schadenfreude is a German word meaning “pleasure from misfortune” and I’ve been feeling it a lot lately. Was I happy to read that ultra-liberal New York Governor Elliot Spitzer was forced to resign after being charged with hiring prostitutes? Darn right. It’s partly because his politics and mine are polar opposite, but it isn’t just that. Barack Obama’s politics are opposite mine as well but I wouldn’t feel as much schadenfreude if he were publicly humiliated the way Spitzer was. Spitzer has a hyper-arrogance that Obama didn’t seem to possess, so when I learned about the former’s demise, I heard myself saying, “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” instead of a more neutral, “Oh. I see.”

When the Mainstream Media played clips of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s outrageous sermons over and over, I felt it again. Whose misfortune was I taking pleasure in then? Well, it was hurting Barack Obama’s campaign that his longtime friend, pastor, and spiritual mentor was espousing crackpot ideas, but that wasn’t why I felt it. I wanted Obama to finish trouncing Hillary before he self-destructed. Obama was taking heat for keeping his membership in, and his contributions to a church in which people cheered as Pastor Wright blamed “White America” for the September 11th attacks, and blamed the US government for introducing AIDS and drugs to kill off black people. However, that wasn’t it either. Not entirely. It was the Democrat Party’s misfortune I was taking pleasure in, because it is comprised of people who either believe such crazy ideas as Wright was spouting, or of people who refrain from correcting them when they’re expressed. That’s what was being rubbed in the face of every American who watches the news. Democrats were forced to take a hard look at the victim mentality they have watered and fertilized for the past forty years.

That’s why Obama had to make the big speech about “race.” Winning the Democrat nomination depends on his maintaining the image of a black man who isn’t obsessed about being a victim, who is beyond all that. He had to put some distance between himself and what the Reverend Wright preached. Conservatives like me don’t think he did that successfully but Democrats do, so he’s still their man for now. That prompted more schadenfreude because it means Obama can still take the nomination away from Hillary. It’s her misfortune I’m taking pleasure in as well as the Democrat Party’s.

My schadenfreude got even stronger when, shortly after Obama’s big speech, the Mainstream Media broadcast three of Hillary’s speeches in which she described how in 1996 she allegedly had to run with her head down from her plane to a waiting car to avoid sniper fire. Then the MSM showed actual film of her and her entourage doing nothing of the sort on the tarmac of a Bosnia airport. They played those embarrassing clips over and over to leave no doubt in any voter’s mind what an abject lie she had been telling. That was a wonderful, heaping helping of schadenfreude. There have been so many other opportunities to expose her like this during the past seventeen years but the MSM refused to pull the trigger on her. That they’re finally doing it as she runs for president made it that much sweeter.

Then Hillary went on Jay Leno’s program and tried to joke about it but she flopped. That was nice too, but it got even better when after the story had largely died down, her slick husband Bill resurrected it when he lied about Hillary’s lie. Hillary had to tell him to shut up. I was thinking, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” What does the credit card company say in its ads? “Priceless.”

Now we hear that Obama was pandering to elite leftists at a fundraiser in San Francisco saying small town Americans are angry and bitter. We’re typical white people clinging to our guns and our religion and our resentment of illegal immigrants because we don’t know any better. Then the rabidly-anti-gun Hillary told a story about her dad taking her behind a cottage and teaching her “to shoot when I was a little girl.” Then Obama says Hillary is all of a sudden “talking like she’s Annie Oakley.” Then Hillary criticizes Obama’s remarks about us typical bible-thumping, gun-nut honkies and gets booed by Democrats in Pennsylvania.

I just can’t wait to see what happens next - and it looks like it’s going to continue like this for four more months until the convention! Like I said: it doesn’t get any better than this.

Am I a bad person for enjoying it all? A little naughty perhaps but heck, I’m human.


Anonymous said...

No, you're not a bad person. I consider myself pretty liberal and I even got a few laughs from the Spitzer scandal. He was so arrogant, that you couldn't help but take smile as his career imploded. It even got funnier when the Lt. Gov. took over. At least he was honest about his wild past. The bizarre back-and-forth conversations between Hillary and Barack is also classic comedy. Personally, I think she's coming off a lot worse than he is, unless he decides to go and bowl every night. Then my mind might change. Who bowls a 37 besides 6-year-olds?!

Anyway, I know that you like laughing at other's misfortunes, especially if they're liberal minded. What about your take on Idaho Sen. Craig's "wide stance?" Here's a guy that publicly condemns homosexuality and then tries to pick up men at an airport bathroom. And don't tell me you believe it was all a misunderstanding. The funniest part is that he decides too resign, and then doesn't. If I were an Idaho voter, I'd be totally confused.

What Florida Rep. Mark Foley? Here's a guy who wanted to protect children from Internet predators and he gets busted for being one! If it weren't for the disturbing details, I'd say that's pretty funny as well.

There are loads of bad examples on both sides of the political spectrum. I'm just wondering if you take enjoyment from misfortunes from both republicans and democrats. Maybe I'm the "worse" person because I'll laugh at both.

Tim - Waterbury, VT

Tom McLaughlin said...

Thanks Tim. Yes, I did take pleasure in Larry Craig's antics. What a buffoon. There aren't too many shining lights in the senate lately but we're going to wind up with one for president. I wonder if Craig will run for reelection in Idaho. Would you be surprised? I wouldn't at this point.

As for Mark Foley, I'm glad he was exposed as the homosexual predator he is. I couldn't help but notice the contrast between how Foley's sexual harassment of a page and former Massachusetts Congressman Gerry Studds actual sodomy with one in an elevator of a public building. Studds was unashamed and reelected many times afterward. Then there was Barney Frank's lover boy running a call-boy ring out of Frank's apartment. He's still in office. We don't have to go into detail about the "liberal lion" Senator Kennedy's antics.

My point is that the Republicans at least had the dignity to resign when they're caught, though Craig recanted his as you pointed out. Newt Gingrich resigned and so did Speaker Bob Livingston soon after. Aside from Spitzer, I can't think of any Democrats who did the right thing. Can you?

Anonymous said...

You're right about the Massachusetts representatives. They don't have a good track record at all. Kennedy's incidents I don't find funny at all. He should probably be in prison right now. My aunt and uncle, two very liberal democrats who live in Mass., refuse to vote for him because of what he got away with. I think that's understandable.

Politicians doing ridiculously stupid things have been going on forever. Mostly the public acts disappointed, but I think we secretly love it when people fall from grace. The more bizarre it is, the more entertaining it becomes. The Spitzer saga is a great example of this. As is the former Gov. McGreevy scandal, which had to - of course - resurface itself very recently. Even Hillary's fabrications have become hilarious. I remember reading something Carl Bernstein wrote recently in regards to how this is nothing new with her.

It all ranks very high on the unintentional comedy scale. Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

That was Tim in Waterbury on the last response comment.

I really should just create an ID sometime...

Anonymous said...

This is for those who are caught up in the whole ‘us vs. them’ mentality that becomes much more prevalent near election times. It makes me feel like we should be called the Divided States of America.

Party lines are drawn. Democrats are bad because they focus so much on wealth, spending and regulating morality. Republicans are just a bunch of liberals who want social program handouts and regulation of the economy. Wait, did I get that backwards?

It reminds me of the playground at an elementary school where you hear one child saying “I’m better than you at drawing,” followed by the argument, “Yeah, well I can run faster than you.” Their only goal, as with politicians, is to win more votes of approval from the other children on the playground. While counting their votes, they hope that no intelligent people point out the fact that neither one of them has backed up their claim of being better at something.

As I listen to the events leading up to our next Presidential election, I realize that part of the whole childish, political game is the taking of pleasure in and the celebration of the opponents mistakes. One child laughs and celebrates when the other one turns around and steps in a mud puddle. Now that child is “one up” on the opponent but for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with the issues they were originally arguing about, it’s just that one of the children made a silly blunder. The triumphant child is saying na,na,na,na,na and is counting votes while believing they have gained control of the playground!

I don’t think taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is bad but I do think it shows a lack of integrity and maturity. It is a sure sign that the person is worried about their own weaknesses being exposed.

When I am coaching, basketball for example I do not encourage my players to celebrate when the opponents miss a shot, but I do encourage them to focus on the things that our team is doing well while analyzing those things that we need to improve on.

I wish politicians would do the same, just focus on what is best for our country, or better yet, the whole world, rather than what will hurt the other party and therefore benefit their own.

Robert J. Dow