There’s something about having many old high school and college friends who have grown up to be more socially conservative than I am that makes it almost irresistible to occasionally roll a grenade across the floor. That’s my term for Facebook posts with which I know these friends are almost certain to disagree with me. Once in awhile, I just can’t help it.
For example, take this video clip, which I posted the other day of an appearance Christine O’Donnell, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware, made in 1999 on Bill Maher’s old show, “Politically Incorrect.”
A high school friend who is much nicer than I am posted — and then removed — this comment in response to my Facebook posting: “1999? C’mon, Chris. What do YOU have on record from what you said in 1999? No, we’re not running for office but I still think this whole trail is ridiculous. Define her on political views, not personal views; and the fact that she certainly stands her ground.”
I want to agree with my friend. I really do. But is something said in 1999 by someone who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 really ridiculous? Maybe, but I don’t think I know anyone who has dabbled in witchcraft — much less gone on national TV as a 30-year-old to joke about it.
To me, both of these things show poor judgement on the part of someone who was old enough to know better.
And for the purposes of comparison, let’s consider Barack Obama. In 1985, the year he turned 24, Obama began working as a community organizer in Chicago – a fact that has been criticized by many of the same people who now support Christine O’Donnell. In 1991, the year he turned 30, Obama graduated from law school. I don’t think he dabbled on the weekends as a warlock, but I could be wrong. If a TV clip of him joking about witchcraft existed, however, you would have seen it a million times by now on Fox News.
Yes, I said and did many dumb things when I was younger. Heck, I still do from time to time. But as my friend also pointed out, I am not running for office and that is an important distinction. It might just be due to my knowing better and not subjecting myself to that kind of spotlight.
In response to my posting the 1999 video, another of my Facebook friends quoted Saul Alinsky, the community organizer and writer who died in 1972: “”Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Are her critics doing this to O’Donnell? Sure. But she is the one who stepped into the bright lights. And that decision might indicate the 41-year-old O’Donnell isn’t much wiser than she was back when she gained some notoriety in the early 1990s as a crusader against — of all things — masturbation.
Personally, I hope she gets elected. We need more of her kind of loopiness in Congress.