THE GOP PIED PIPER OF COMMON SENSE
BY STANLEY CROUCH
The success of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund and the Success Academy has been written about often because of their ability to reduce the prevalent intellectual genocide in our public schools. The problem of a parallel prevalence is why Joe Scarborough, the Republican congressman who became an MSNBC pundit, is doing the job of a contemporary Edward R. Murrow in facing the political genocide of the GOP committed by the tea party.
There has been a lot of talk on the subject of the Republicans’ purported identity crisis. This crisis has been caused by far-right extremists. They have been rejected by Americans at large, as shown in November’s election. But they push their power into paranoid and gerrymandered districts that maintain a distance from national concerns.
Scarborough does not duck standing up to millions of dollars made by the sellers of lucrative paranoia, misogyny, hatred of government and racism. Being a Southerner and a former congressman, he knows intellectual rot by its scent. He throws down as much logic in our electronic media as one will, apparently, ever hear from a conservative with a daily cable show. He will not accept what should be a Grand Old Party that is settling for being led into Grand Old Paranoia.
As an independent having no innate feeling for the right or the left, I assume it is always the duty of the citizenry to look before we leap, and make sure we are not being hustled, something that will be revealed soon enough on both sides of the aisle.
Scarborough knows what reason costs. Having served terms in Congress, and having been dismissed as a “RINO” or a turncoat, he knows what being sensible costs. That has not caused him to hide beneath the bed with those Republican leaders who tremble in their boots before Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the National Rifle Association, Rupert Murdoch and the rest; all of them have become wealthy selling and addicting as many to factoid poison as possible.
What Scarborough is doing has an equal importance to eliminating intellectual genocide, which unions can too often defend, saying that all can be solved by simply raising teacher pay, no investigation of ability even necessary. This is the same thing said by Wayne LaPierre, even though about 80 percent of the NRA’s members support background checks before a gun can be purchased.
As Scarborough points out, LaPierre sells fear in order to sell more guns. He is not interested in murders; his interest is in gun and ammunition sellers. Little Wayne wants the weapons and ammunition dealers to get away like fat rats. If the public will swallow a doomsday sandwich of factoids, we must remember that the rules are whatever the market will bear.
Scarborough finds this despicably unbearable. One could observe how disturbed the tea party has made him during the past few years by deciding to make compromise a mortal political sin that would not be accepted. Scarborough wants to see effective compromise that will better the country. He knows a dangerously arrogant confederacy when he sees one, and can hear them galloping to Gettysburg, where the GOP may make fatal decisions by dismissing and insulting women and so-called minorities. He warned them every chance he got, having listened to his wife and her fellow Republican women who were disturbed by the supposed “war on women.” They took it seriously, but those following Rush did not.
Scarborough knows that irrationality is different from being wrongheaded. That is why he warns against turning Republicans in the rural or small-town areas of this country into survivalists. President Barack Obama is no more a socialist than white people, as the Nation of Islam teaches, are innately devils invented by a crazy black scientist called Yacub.
Along with David Frum and Peggy Noonan, Scarborough is immensely important in standing up against the spread of lucrative fantasies about black government helicopters, all guns being taken and the destruction of the American will to be free.
Like the old country saying used to go, “Knowledge is freedom; ignorance is slavery.” So intellectual genocide is a highway to slavery, while actual information moves us closer to an attainable version of freedom. Take your pick.
Stand with those who have proven that they are revolutionizing public education, and those who have made common sense into a revolutionary Republican position.
Remember their names Harlem Educational Activities Fund and Eva Moskowitz in the world of books and learning; Frum, Noonan and Scarborough in the world of deadly serious political opinion, where the challenge to our democracy has always been the highest quality of compromise.
Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.