Be Careful What You Sign

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Be Careful What You Sign

My late father was fond of many tru­isms. One of his favorites was, “Keep your words sweet; you might have to eat them.” Being one who has far too many times made a meal out of self-​baked Alpha Bits, I fully tes­tify to the afore­men­tioned statement’s accuracy.

This came to mind yes­ter­day when learn­ing of John McCain’s bat­tle with brain can­cer. Can­cer in any form is hideous; brain can­cer is an unspeak­able obscen­ity. Given McCain’s age and health his­tory, it is impos­si­ble to envi­sion this being any­thing but a brief, final bat­tle before his ascend­ing into eternity.

As a career mod­er­ate, one will­ing to work both sides of the aisle, McCain has gar­nered more than a few detrac­tors at each end of both aisles. On the right, McCain has been rou­tinely pil­lo­ried as the RINOs RINO, a squish benignly or actively bull­doz­ing every hill upon which red pill pop­pers choose to make today’s final stand; tune in tomor­row for the new indig­na­tion du jour. On the left … eh, it’s the left. What aren’t they indig­nant about? But I digress.

It’s sadly pre­dictable how, in a world where “Obama is a POOPY­HEAD!” and “Trump is a MEANY­PANTS!” passes as polit­i­cal dis­course, the arm­chair politi­cians have not uni­ver­sally dis­armed them­selves in favor of prayer and sup­port for a man now fight­ing his great­est bat­tle. Be it damn­ing with faint praise via tack­ing a griev­ance dia­tribe onto a get-​well wish, or pro­claim­ing McCain’s con­di­tion as karma come home to roost, haters gonna hate. And how. Hope they never take ill.

Like it or not, we are known by the com­pany we keep. Those who her­ald the snark­belcher for being cool and edgy and speak­ing truth to power aban­don all claims of inno­cent bystand­ing when the worm turns. Make no mis­take; the worm will turn … after it meta­mor­pho­sises into a dragon.

Those who blog, post, and tweet as they please with total dis­re­gard for the human­ity of oth­ers will in time dis­cover that which they believed granted immu­nity from their own words’ con­se­quences was tran­si­tory. The day will come when that rock solid, self-​made (to what­ever degree it actu­ally was, this as opposed to what­ever degree we per­ceive it to be) career will both blow up and throw up in our faces. That immov­able object of a third party or out­side cor­po­ra­tion we’ve built upon? It will move, down­size, change direc­tion, or sim­ply fold alto­gether. That in-​demand, on-​demand skill set we have labo­ri­ously acquired? Seem­ingly overnight it will become faded fish wrap, dated and dis­carded. Your sta­tus as the hot hand, the heart­throb, the heavy hit­ter? As The Eagles suc­cinctly put it decades ago, where’ve you been lately? There’s a new kid in town. Every­body loves him, don’t they. And he’s hold­ing her … and you’re still around.

Remem­ber con­ser­v­a­tive new media’s early days when all were wel­come? Now, CNM is CNN minus a spot on the local cable net­work, strat­i­fied and tied to a totem pole. Used to be we called our­selves an army of Davids. Well, Goliath is still stand­ing, and our sling­shot ammo con­sists of yelling at Jake Tap­per on Twitter.

Rely­ing on the new cor­po­ra­tion, same as the old cor­po­ra­tion (ratings/​website hits are KING!) albeit with a dif­fer­ent philo­soph­i­cal core as long as it is a solid busi­ness model for attract­ing adver­tis­ers, is a risky propo­si­tion. An end­less drone of opin­ion pieces makes for an entirely unsat­is­fy­ing intel­lec­tual meal and a dwin­dling mar­ket­place. Now, there are peo­ple in CNM who prac­tice fun­da­men­tal jour­nal­ism. They read the bill. They study the tran­script. They attend the meet­ing. They ask direct ques­tions to those directly involved. But these peo­ple are the rare excep­tions in a morass of clip and com­ment sludge.

The fail­ure to treat polit­i­cal oppo­nents as peo­ple instead of crash test dum­mies will inevitably con­sume both its cre­ators and its sup­port­ers. As surely as if we signed it our­selves, that which we sign off on will be attached to our names. There­fore, be cau­tious and cir­cum­spect. Fire; a cleans­ing one but fire nonethe­less, is com­ing. Don’t get burned.

Be care­ful what you sign.

https://youtu.be/cHEHAvo80zY

My late father was fond of many truisms. One of his favorites was, “Keep your words sweet; you might have to eat them.” Being one who has far too many times made a meal out of self-baked Alpha Bits, I fully testify to the aforementioned statement’s accuracy.

This came to mind yesterday when learning of John McCain’s battle with brain cancer. Cancer in any form is hideous; brain cancer is an unspeakable obscenity. Given McCain’s age and health history, it is impossible to envision this being anything but a brief, final battle before his ascending into eternity.

As a career moderate, one willing to work both sides of the aisle, McCain has garnered more than a few detractors at each end of both aisles. On the right, McCain has been routinely pilloried as the RINOs RINO, a squish benignly or actively bulldozing every hill upon which red pill poppers choose to make today’s final stand; tune in tomorrow for the new indignation du jour. On the left … eh, it’s the left. What aren’t they indignant about? But I digress.

It’s sadly predictable how, in a world where “Obama is a POOPYHEAD!” and “Trump is a MEANYPANTS!” passes as political discourse, the armchair politicians have not universally disarmed themselves in favor of prayer and support for a man now fighting his greatest battle. Be it damning with faint praise via tacking a grievance diatribe onto a get-well wish, or proclaiming McCain’s condition as karma come home to roost, haters gonna hate. And how. Hope they never take ill.

Like it or not, we are known by the company we keep. Those who herald the snarkbelcher for being cool and edgy and speaking truth to power abandon all claims of innocent bystanding when the worm turns. Make no mistake; the worm will turn … after it metamorphosises into a dragon.

Those who blog, post, and tweet as they please with total disregard for the humanity of others will in time discover that which they believed granted immunity from their own words’ consequences was transitory. The day will come when that rock solid, self-made (to whatever degree it actually was, this as opposed to whatever degree we perceive it to be) career will both blow up and throw up in our faces. That immovable object of a third party or outside corporation we’ve built upon? It will move, downsize, change direction, or simply fold altogether. That in-demand, on-demand skill set we have laboriously acquired? Seemingly overnight it will become faded fish wrap, dated and discarded. Your status as the hot hand, the heartthrob, the heavy hitter? As The Eagles succinctly put it decades ago, where’ve you been lately? There’s a new kid in town. Everybody loves him, don’t they. And he’s holding her … and you’re still around.

Remember conservative new media’s early days when all were welcome? Now, CNM is CNN minus a spot on the local cable network, stratified and tied to a totem pole. Used to be we called ourselves an army of Davids. Well, Goliath is still standing, and our slingshot ammo consists of yelling at Jake Tapper on Twitter.

Relying on the new corporation, same as the old corporation (ratings/website hits are KING!) albeit with a different philosophical core as long as it is a solid business model for attracting advertisers, is a risky proposition. An endless drone of opinion pieces makes for an entirely unsatisfying intellectual meal and a dwindling marketplace. Now, there are people in CNM who practice fundamental journalism. They read the bill. They study the transcript. They attend the meeting. They ask direct questions to those directly involved. But these people are the rare exceptions in a morass of clip and comment sludge.

The failure to treat political opponents as people instead of crash test dummies will inevitably consume both its creators and its supporters. As surely as if we signed it ourselves, that which we sign off on will be attached to our names. Therefore, be cautious and circumspect. Fire; a cleansing one but fire nonetheless, is coming. Don’t get burned.

Be careful what you sign.