"It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all uncertainty."
-- Old Adage
Sometimes I worry that we have become too stupid and too mean to live.
I certainly think we have reached a tipping point politically, one where we will never again see a national politician with the support of 60 percent of the country or more (other than in times of crisis).
After all, politicians these days seem to have completely forgotten the necessity of expanding their base of support. They just pander and pander to the folks who already like them, and to heck with everyone else.
Alabama's new governor,, caused a furor last Monday when -- during a Martin Luther King Day celebration -- he said that while he was governor of all Alabamans, the only ones he considered his brothers and sisters were the ones who had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.
Jeez, I don't even have a ridiculous Alabama joke for this one. Alabama used to be some far-off weird place to me, but from where I sit today, I could jump in my car and be in Alabama in two hours or so.
It reminds me of a time about 20 years ago when I was staying with friends for a while when I first moved to Southern California. My friends were fundamentalists (in a less charitable mood I might call them Shiite Christians), and one afternoon their adorable 4-year-old daughter came to me and said, "Mom says you're not a Christian."
I tried to explain to her that yes, I was a Christian. I had been raised in a Protestant churchgoing family and believed the three things necessary to call myself a Christian. Jesus is the son of God, he died for our sins and he will return someday.
All that did was confuse her, but it certainly taught me something about fundamentalists. For all the talk about preaching the Gospel and spreading the word, they seem very quick to kick people out of the tree house.
That seems to me to be what Bentley was doing, whether he meant to or not.
"Yes, I'm the governor of everyone, but if you really want me to be on your side, step up and get baptized."
To be fair, he apologized a couple of days later.
"If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way."
The problem is, since the guy is a politician, I think his apology is probably more about shutting down the controversy than about really being sorry. I'd feel the same way if he were liberal.
Let's be fair. He spoke from the heart when he made the first remark. Did a couple of days really change his views, or was it just a case of wanting people to stop yelling at him?
Why is it that we are so quick to circle the wagons these days? Do we really want a country where Christians hate Jews, where liberals hate conservatives and the only thing we can all agree on is that the Octomom is a waste of protoplasm?
Remember when we were all Americans?