Universal Degradation

     The Brattleboro Reformer may not be the worst daily newspaper in the United States, but if it’s not, it’s not for lack of not trying.
     “[Name], a certified Angel Card Reader, receives messages through a client’s spirit guides. The client should leave the session with positive information and a sense of reassurance of what one already knows.”
     The Reformer printed that as news.
     That ain’t news.
     It sounds like the Republican primaries: Candidates with no standards at all (certified Angel Card Readers) reassuring voters about what voters think they already know.
     Who “certifies” people for this, and how?
     I know how I’d like to get them certified.
     But we can’t blame newspapers for our country’s degradation of values. When half the nation has become unhinged from reality, what’s a newspaper to do?
     Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced a resolution asking their congressional delegation to impeach President Obama, for recommending that public schools let transgender students pee in the bathroom of their choice.
     This is a stern resolution — in the sense that “stern” means “moronic” and “absolute horseshit.”
     Reuters consulted “legal experts,” who said the call for impeachment “is on shaky ground,” as the president did not actually do anything. He just recommended something, which is not a high crime or misdemeanor.
     This transgender bathroom brouhaha is absolute nonsense. Transgender kids in public schools are not dangerous. Transgender kids are the ones who get beat up in public schools.
     Planting his flag atop this mountain of manure was Oklahoma state Rep. John Bennett, R-Sillisaw, who said President Obama should be impeached because he is “biblically wrong.”
     I called Bennett — the chairman of Oklahoma’s Public Safety Committee — to ask why he thought a U.S. president could be impeached for being “biblically wrong.”
     Bennett never called back. Busy raising money from his coven, I suppose.
     Bennett’s statement is so idiotic it’s not even wrong: It has no meaning at all.
     The Oklahoma Senate could not take up the impeachment resolution this week, as it was discussing a bill granting students the religious right not to have to pee in the same bathroom as a transgender student.
     That piece of legislative witchcraft would cost taxpayers billions of dollars: to build Religiously Pure Bathrooms in all of Oklahoma’s 1,791 public schools. But Oklahoma is facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, despite its drastic cuts to public education.
     It’s odd that Oklahoma lawmakers are so worried about where children pee, since Oklahoma lawmakers have been screwing kids longer and harder than any other state in the nation.
     Since the Great Recession, Oklahoma has cut per capita spending on public education by 23.6 percent, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute: far more than the second-worst state, Alabama (-17.8%) and the third-worst, Arizona (-17.6%).
     Look at those states. Look at what they’re doing.
     How far can ignorance take us?
     Pretty far these days, so long as politicians can pander their own perversions for money and walk over little kids’ faces in pursuit of votes from scaredy-cats.
     What a country.
     Seeking solace from these idiots and degenerates, I opened up W. Creizenach’s “English Drama in the Age of Shakespeare,” (London, 1916). A bookmark fluttered out, a fragment torn from a 100-year-old letter.
     There, in fading ink were the letters: “Yet I can hardly believe i / is note to thank you again / ime, and to tell you how”.
     For some reason I found those words consoling. I had no idea who wrote them, nor to whom. Both people are surely dead.
     Know why that little scrap of news from dead people lightened my heart? Because those words were genuine. And we so seldom hear such words today.

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