Friday, January 4, 2013
Rep. Alan Grayson: The Bitch Is Back
I like to think of myself as a compassionate person. I'm a big fan of historical peace activists such as Jesus of Nazareth, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I follow contemporary compassion activists such as The Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, and Cory Booker on social media, finding inspiration from their daily posts about how we can make this world a better place by striving for internal peace as well as world peace.
Treating others with loving kindness is the best philosophy I've encountered. Some of my lefty friends ask how I can stand to engage in heated dialogue with my right-wing friends and still manage to treat them with loving respect. Don't I think such animosity increases my anxiety? Shouldn't I ignore people I disagree with rather than encouraging them to engage in difficult discussions with me? I shrug off such concerns while reciting one of my favorite mottoes: kill 'em with kindness.
Still, I am not immune to human emotion. I get angry. Just yesterday, at the diet industry, which profits by injecting psychological fear of our hips and bellies into our body politic. I also get angry with our nation in general, full of lazy thinkers and greedy sociopaths. So I understand the value of outspokenness because sometimes in order to wake people up and pull their heads from their asses long enough to empathize with other human beings, you have to make some pretty bold statements. Some of my favorite thinkers are tactless assholes at times: Christopher Hitchens, Barney Frank, Bill Maher. I don't always agree with everything they say, but I find their outrageous frankness refreshing when I'm especially enraged. Rep. Alan Grayson is another polemicist jerk I admire.
Here he is in his famous 2009 speech on what he perceives to be the GOP health care plan:
Some say that kind of talk got him defeated at the polls in 2010. But now the bitch is back. Here he is talking to former Governor Eliot Spitzer after Grayson's re-election in November 2012:
Eliot Spitzer: "What's number one on your agenda?"
Rep. Alan Grayson: "To make John Boehner cry."
Those of you who read my posts regularly know I have a soft-spot in my heart for cry babies. Speaker Boehner is generally not one of them. Still, even I think Rep. Grayson's joke, poking fun of Boehner's propensity toward tears, is a bit petty. That's really number one on his agenda?
Remember when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republicans' number one agenda item was to make President Obama a one-term president? Many Democrats complained that the Republicans weren't playing nice. I was one of them. It seems petty and counterproductive to focus energy on overseeing the demise of a politician rather than working on improving our country. It also seems petty to crack jokes about making your political opponent cry when you're asked a serious question about how you plan to do your job as a person given a second chance to represent his constituents. I can see how some might be turned-off by Rep. Grayson's comment to Spitzer and their ensuing laughter. But damn if I didn't laugh along with them.
What can I say? I like a fighter. As long as he's fighting the good fight. The Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus of Nazareth, is said to have chased greedy bastards out of the temple with a whip.
Speaking of whips. Here's an interesting interview I heard on NPR this morning about Rep. Alan Grayson's comeback:
This term, for the first time, Grayson joins the Democratic leadership in the House — winning the job of regional whip. Surely, that calls for him to change his style?
"Well, let me put it this way: I know how to handle the whip," he says.
But does that mean he'll need to be more moderate in his approach to people?
"Is that how you see people who wield whips, as moderates?" he says.
I'm getting goosebumps thinking about all the upcoming brawls we'll get to watch between Rep. Grayson and his opponents in the 113th Congress. Even a pacifist occasionally enjoys a good fight.