Parsing the finest of hairs


As you may have probably guessed, I listen quite a bit to talk radio.

Mostly, it’s from the conservative side, people like Mark Levin and Andrew Wilkow. (Not a Rush fan; the show is mostly talk advertising, not information. And Hannity is too argumentative.)

In the interest of fairness, I also listen to liberal channels (love the Sirius radio, I do). And in the interest of full disclosure, I also have to lay down for a while afterward, as the tortured logic and pure hatred spewed from the callers and hosts alike are brutal to my psyche.

Yet on a rainy Thursday morning, while on the way to work, I was listening to an interview with former Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who was a conservative stalwart while he served.

Through the course of the conversation, the interviewer from Breitbart News and Coburn discussed the current election, the Republican candidates, and Coburn’s backing of Sen. Marco Rubio.

There were two items of deep concern that were said by Coburn, though, and points to some of the reasons this election cycle is incredibly important.

Coburn was editorializing to a statement made by GOP candidate Donald Trump regarding Muslims, in which the Donald said, “I think Islam hates us.”

Referring to the U.S., of course.

Coburn disagreed, which I’m OK with, but not with his reasoning, which was not that Islam hated us, but hated our behaviors.

After a brief period of my jaw hanging loose, I mustered up the gumption to say, “Whaaat?”

To my mind, that was something that was remarkably naïve for someone of his purported experience to say, because our behaviors are endemic to our culture, and yes, even the bad ones. That cannot be a justification nor even an explanation for ridiculous acts.

I realize that’s a simplistic take on the exchange, but I will never, ever, allow some other people or culture to determine my actions in my own country, nor will I apologize, extemporize, or any other –ize that in any way sublimates our culture to another’s.

The other problem I had with his statements is that he backs Rubio as a candidate because, as Coburn states, Rubio is the only candidate who will be able to work with Congress to solve the nation’s ills.

This especially doesn’t dovetail with his comments that term limits are necessary.

It does point to another problem, that only a Washington insider is capable of dealing with Washington, D.C., and that Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz have so alienated themselves from the current powers that be that there is no opportunity there for progress.

Here’s the thing. An insider will be willing to compromise, even until the very problem they look to solve has been forgotten. I point to the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill, which both houses passed and was signed by President Obama, and which mires the country in more debt.

We’re currently at $20 trillion in debt right now. But when you add in budgets and the numerous increases, as well as unfunded mandates, this country is on the hook for more than $100 trillion. Both Coburn and the host of the show pointed out that even if you dig up every mayonnaise jar, found all the lost pennies, and took every scrap of income from everyone in the country, we could come up with maybe $80 trillion.

We’re broke, folks, and we don’t need more and more plans and programs and whatnot to pay for. Coburn did say that hard times are coming, and we need to be ready for that.