In Politics, Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Photo by Michael Reynolds | EPA

Photo by Michael Reynolds | EPA

The leader of one party in the U.S. Senate—the party that blocked background checks in the wake of the Newtown massacre—triumphantly holds up a gun at a conservative political conference. The leader of the other party in the Senate, in a bit of wink-wink wordplay, describes his opponents as “addicted to Koch,” pronouncing it like the drug and referring to the Kansan billionaire brother act whose generosity drives the conservative agenda. These gestures—the former by Republican Mitch McConnell, the latter by Democrat Harry Reid—seem to be keeping a lot of pundits up at night.

How troubled should we be about this? Well, there certainly seem to be other things more worth worrying about. Senate Republicans, for instance, won’t act on benefits for veterans and the neediest of the unemployed. Closer to home, High Country News examined the Fallon leukemia cluster in which 16 children developed cancer and nobody can explain why, except there was a jet-fuel pipeline running right where the kids played. Meanwhile, neither a federal judge nor Nevada officials seem to think that busing the mentally ill across state lines is such a big deal. And Nevada’s governor believes a slight business tax would be the worst thing to happen to the state since, uh, ever.

In other words, if you don’t want politicians to seem silly, don’t discuss silly issues. Concentrate on the important stuff. For example, according to the John Travolta Name Generator, my byline should be Marcel Greez.