Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Arsenic and Old Lies

Growing up, there were a few favorite old movies I remember watching. One, "Arsenic and Old Lace," is a farcical comedy about an elderly pair of aunties who took bachelors in as boarders, and then gave them elderberry wine laced with arsenic, was a favorite. Cary Grant, the loving nephew, begins in the story with no idea of his aunts' proclivities to murder. He does know that his uncle, a bit demented, thought himself to be Teddy Roosevelt, and in that role, he was regularly digging new "locks" for the "Panama Canal" in the aunties' basement. His construction activities conveniently provided burial plots for the poisoned bachelors.

If you haven't seen the play or the movie, you are missing a gem. I am including this excerpted clip to set the stage for this post:

You really should give "Arsenic and Old Lace" a try.

Remember, when I watched the movie as a kid, there was no such thing as John Wayne Gacy or Ted Bundy or other, now notorious, serial killers, at least not whose mayhem came into our home in the drum beat of the 24 hour news cycle. So two elderly women poisoning lonely bachelors could still be funny, and the play did speak to an audience that could distinguish Teddy Roosevelt from his cousin Franklin.

Today, however, we are living inside the farce. We are under the ministrations of Arsenic and Old Lies.

This notion came to mind as I thought about the recent Democratic Candidates' debate.

Excepting Jim Webb, whose Democratic party credentials are undoubtedly doubted by Democrats (after all, he made out a case during the debate that "an enemy" was someone that was literally trying to kill you with a grenade (an episode from his wartime service in Vietnam), the candidates, answering a question about the enemy of which the candidates were most proud of making, America was treated to a laundry list of American freedom and enterprise, represented by such "enemies" as health insurance companies, the National Rifle Association, Wall Street, the rich, and Republicans.

So the association whose fairly moderate positions regarding the right to keep an bear arms is a worthy enemy for a political candidate to have acquired?


Why would a candidate for the Nation's highest office take pride in so positioning themselves politically that an organization that supports a clear cut provision of the Constitution -- the Second Amendment -- might be considered by them as an enemy?

And why is it a matter of bragging rights to have exacerbated the economic liberties of health insurance companies or of "Wall Street" (whatever "Wall Street" is supposed to mean in that context, it carries the connotation of American businesses)?

The answer is simple.

Again, setting aside Jim Webb, the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are not Democrats as John Kennedy was, or as Truman was, or even as Franklin Roosevelt was.

As a group, and as individuals, they are Statists, they are progressives, they are Socialists.

Now we have lived, as a People, long enough to watch the rise of socialism in Europe, the Americas, Asian and Africa. Its collapse, in the Soviet Bloc, we have witnessed too. Were it has not been abandoned, its wreck and ruin continues unabated.

The depredations of socialism are evident in the land of Obama's new best buddies, the Castro brothers. Cuba's organized and planned economy has the been operating inefficiently since Castro's revolution, and the nation's inability to mount a successful domestic and international economic enterprise is well understood. Those very same ideas of central control and management of economy put the Soviet Union in the position of being unable to sustain a long term move-for-move build up in competition with the United States, and ultimately resulted in the USSR collapsing under its own weight. The current terrible economic suffering in Venezuela is the direct result of these same socialistic ideas put in practice.

Yet here we have old lies being fed to us in an unction of elderberry wine. Our old uncle, Bernie Sanders, thinks he can build up the house by digging holes of taxation under the foundation. Old auntie Hillary will "do us good" even if it means killing us.

I prefer the movie to the threatened reality of a farcical America under their poisonous, tired, and disproved old lies.