I’ve been getting allergy shots for the past year and during that time have often encountered a retired professor with whom I’ve had some fairly interesting chats. I won’t name him, but he retired from Michigan State University in 1992 after a stint that began in 1966.
In appearance, he is a real throwback. Tall, with long, scraggly white hair down his back, he always wears a vest full of peace sign pins and the like. He is extremely loud and whenever I brought up a topic of conversation, he would launch into a rant. Frankly, I’ve always been polite and have let him talk, but I know that he was indifferent to the fact that other people in the room probably think he is nuts. My observation is that he simply LOVES to hear himself pontificate and show off how SMART he is.
The professor, according to Seekers and Thoughts, “received his master’s degree in political philosophy from Columbia University and his doctorate in early modern intellectual history from the University of Missouri. Under the name of Dick Martin, he taught in the Humanities Department at Michigan State University (1966-1992) where he also aided in the creation of the Whole Works and Contemporary Humanities programs as well as a course on England during the Enlightenment.” His previous book, Towards a History of Consciousness: Space, Time and Death, sells for anything from $80 to over $200…and is obviously geared toward college libraries and the academic crowd.
A few months ago he was frantically trying to finish a book for the German publisher Peter Lang, which is one of those academic publishing houses. The book is about humor and politics over the last few decades. He was fussing about making the deadline and needing to find certain information, so I, being a former librarian made a couple of simple suggestions which hadn’t dawned on him. He, at that point, fully embraced me as someone with a level of intelligence that he could accept.
We agree on many things…for example, that the United States no longer really exists…that it is now completely overrun by corporate interests. So, the other day, when I saw him for the first time in a long time, it seemed like a good time to catch up on political developments. I invited him to check out my blog.
I started to grouse about how I wouldn’t be voting for the first time in my entire voting life. He immediately started on about how he had NEVER voted and was shocked that I had even bothered. I explained that I was a bit younger than he was, so it had taken me awhile to reach this point. He then informed me that of all three running, Clinton was the worst and Obama was the LEAST OFFENSIVE.
Of course, I had to argue that point. The professor brushed aside my main complaint about the disenfranchisement of the voters of FL and MI, the unrepresentative caucus system, and the stealing of Clinton’s delegates at the RBC. My comment about how I thought Obama was behind it all and how the poohbah enablers were ruining the party and how democracy was dead in America was met with a combination of derision and glee. I added that the people surrounding Obama were destructive.
“OH, THAT’S WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! AMERICA HAS TO BE DESTROYED! he exclaimed with a big grin on his face and excitement in his voice.
I took exception to his delight. While I believe there has to be change and I’ve been protesting against “the system” since I was in college (from 1968-1972), I was never one who promoted violence.
Then came the CONDESCENSION, which really ticked me off, because it reminded me so much of the tone of the the Obama campaign and Obama followers, complete with that touch of misogyny that enrages me:
“OH, DEARIE, WHERE WERE YOU IN THE 60’s??? DIDN’T YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON?”
Well, I admit, my tone sharpened at that point. I happened to be in my freshman year at Cornell when the black students took over the student union armed with rifles. I remember how we were all confined to our dorms. I also remember after this event how I walked across campus with the MOST BRILLIANT student in my Roman history section, who happened to be black. (And Roman history keeps coming back to me.) She came from a fine family and was absolutely distraught. She was being forced to transfer because of the intimidation and harassment that the radical blacks were dishing out to her. She had arrived at Cornell on her own merits. She lived in my dorm, not in the “special” house for blacks. At that time, Cornell had top history and government departments in the Ivy League, and as a history major, she was being forced to leave the place where she deserved to be, not by whites, but by blacks.
Well, as is typical of the blowhards espousing this anger and dreams of destruction, who are also privileged and cowardly, the professor suddenly wanted to change the topic. He looked down and wouldn’t face me as he mumbled, “Let’s talk about something else.”
Luckily, I was called to get my shots checked so I let him hang. I was sick of the arrogance and the condescension and didn’t plan on carrying on the conversation anyway…and this is EXACTLY how I feel now about the Obama camp and the Democratic Party.
I’m not interested in “talking” with them anymore…because what they want to talk about is false and undemocratic. I value my INTEGRITY at this point more than any party’s empty talk.