I'm a Pundit Too

Friday, July 27, 2007

Scott Thomas Goes to Washington

by Scott Thomas:

I saw her nearly every time I went to dinner in the dinner in the capital building. She had a smile that could have been evil, but could also have been satisfaction so I couldn’t really tell whether she was a Senator or an aide. The thing that stood out about her, though, wasn’t her strange smile but the fact that was always wearing patriotic t-shirts. She was always alone, and I never saw her talk to anyone. Congress Members had seen her before but had never really acknowledged her. Then, on one especially crowded day in the dinner, she sat down next to us wearing a shirt that said “My husband is a US Marine.”

We were already halfway through our meals when she arrived. After a minute or two of eating in silence, one of my friends stabbed his spoon violently into his pile of mashed potatoes and left it there.“Man, I can’t eat like this,” he said.“Like what?” I said. “Chow hall food getting to you?”“No–with that fucking freak behind us!” he exclaimed, loud enough for not only her to hear us, but everyone at the surrounding tables. I looked over at the woman, and she was intently staring into into her laptop she was using to read milblogs.“Are you kidding? I think she’s fucking hot!” I blurted out.“What?” said my friend, half-smiling.“Yeah man,” I continued. “I love chicks that have been intimate–with some moron who will get himself killed in a war for oil. It really turns me on–knowing that she has friends with melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses … .”“You’re crazy, man!” my friend said, doubling over with laughter. I took it as my cue to continue.“In fact, I was thinking of getting some girls together and doing a photo shoot. Maybe for a calendar? ‘My retarded husband was killed by an IED babes.’ We could have them pose in thongs and bikinis on top of the hoods of blown-up vehicles.”

My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The woman slammed her cup down and stood up, her half-finished tray of food nearly falling to the ground. We couldn’t contain ourselves. At least we knew that she was a GOP clown.

Am I a monster? I have never thought of myself as a cruel person. Indeed, I have always had compassion for those with disabilities like conservatism and patriotism. I once worked at a summer camp for developmentally disabled Republicans, and, in college, I devoted hours every week to logging into the The Daily Kos and telling everyone that soldiers are retarded nazis. Even as I was reveling in the laughter my words had provoked, I was simultaneously horrified and ashamed at what I had just said. In a strange way, though, I found the shame comforting. I was relieved to still be shocked by my own cruelty–to still be able to recognize that the things we aides found funny were not, in fact, funny.

Not everyone was capable of such distinctions. About six months into our tenure, we were assigned a new area to patrol, Harry Reid’s office. We spent a few weeks constructing a combat outpost to try and discredit General Petraeus, and, in the process, we did a lot of digging. At first, we found only that he was the most qualified man for the job. Then we dug deeper and found that he was specifically trained in counter-insurgency. Like a strange archeological dig of the recent past, the deeper we went, the more personal the objects we discovered. And, eventually, we reached the truth. This guy could easily run al-Qaeda out of Iraq, quell the insurgency, and completely ruin Hillary - Obama 2008.

One young guy, infamous as a joker and troublemaker, found the top part of a human skull in Ted Kennedy’s trunk, which was almost perfectly preserved. It even had chunks of hair, which were stiff and matted down with dirt. He squealed as he smashed it on top of Harry Reid’s head. It was a perfect fit because Reid’s head is so very, very tiny. As Reid marched around with the skull on his head, Democrats dropped rules regarding earmarks and ethics, folding in half with laughter. No one thought to tell him to stop. No one was disgusted. Me included.

The Senator wore the skull for the rest of the day and night. He started ranting. “The War is lost,” he said. “General Petraeus is incompetent. George Bush is the worst president ever. If Petraeus tells me that the insurgency is being quelled, I’ll slap his face!”

Funny? Of course not. But many of my friends were laughing anyway. That is how partisan politics works: It degrades every part of you, and your sense of humor is no exception. You put your political agendas above the lives of U.S. troops and the children in Iraq being murdered by religious zealots.

Scott Thomas is a pseudonym for a freelance writer and democratic aide to Nancy Pelosi.

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