Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hank Williams Jr. and the Political Climate in the US

Hank Williams Jr. is a child in a man's body. This country singer turned political hack grabbed headlines earlier this month for an analogy this month he made on Fox and Friends in which he likened Obama to Hitler, before going on to refer to him as "the enemy." For the past two decades one of Junior's main revenue streams has been royalties for the song "All My Rowdy Friends" played in the opening of Monday Night Football which airs on ESPN (recently moved from ABC.) Unfortunately for Junior, ESPN didnt find the analogy particularly attractive and officially discarded the opener. Humorously, (though not perhaps to him) Hank cried that ESPN was treading "on the toes of freedom of speech," if nothing else this shows that Hank has no idea of the actual meaning of the US Bill of Rights, strange from a Patriotic man, no?

A few days after the indecent, he released a song in which he criticized not only Obama and ESPN but also Fox and Friends, the show that graciously gave Hank an outlet to peddle his views. The greatest offense I saw Fox and Friends commit against Hank was the prevalence of an awkward silence after his analogy, followed by one host almost reluctantly say "I don't understand that analogy actually..." The analogy goes as follows: in reference to Obama and Biden playing a round of golf with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Hank says, "it would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu."

I challenge anyone to read that quote without pausing and thinking "what?" then realizing there is no easy answer to your reflex question. 1) Hank could legitimately think that the genocidal slaughter of millions of innocent civilians is roughly equal to the evil of Obamacare (and other Obama policies.) 2) Hank could believe that the ideological gulf between conservatives and liberals is so big it warrants comparisons to the differences between genocidal perpetrator and genocidal victim. 3) Hank is a complete moron whose main fault is not knowing how to construct a coherent analogy. I believe it is a combination of number 2 and 3. In conjunction with Hank's concise description of the Obama administration as "the enemy" its fairly easy to tell that Hank is stunningly narrow-minded and has little concept of the world outside the US. To Hank, democratic politics is not the process by which we fairly create policy, it is war, if you don't win outright, you lose, negotiation is treason, maybe even we don't negotiate with terrorists? One might question whether he sees the situation as ideological polarization or belligerency. Combine that with an elementary grasp of the English language and you get a moronic analogy.

The reason why I even blog about it is because this type of language has become the norm in today's politics. Politicians, pundits, attention seekers are rewarded not for thoughtful arguments and realistic policy proposals but for emotive and brash rants which may or may not be cogent. I surmise that if we could add up everyone who agrees with Hank (or at least what they think Hank meant) the figure would disturb us. The regressive motion of the conservative movement makes me think of the man, the myth, the legend William F. Buckley Jr. If he were still alive and in control of the conservative movement, surely he wouldn't let the anti-logical arguments of Palin and Limbaugh and Hannity dictate conservative thought. Of course its not just conservatives, many liberals have responded with their own demagoguery. *cough occupy cough* I'll blog something along those lines soon.

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