Bizarre political theater played out this weekend in D.C., where about a thousand veterans rallied to protest the government shutdown of veterans' memorials - an event unexpectedly, shamelessly, photogenetically hijacked by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, neither of whom are veterans and both of whom supported (and in Cruz' case largely orchestrated) the shutdown they were now loudly protesting. The gathering featured prayers, guns, a giant Confederate flag, the frenzied trashing of barriers and racist calls for scary black Muslim guy Obama to “put down the Quran" and "come out with your hands up" because, really, nothing says American democracy like all those things. In her speech, Palin even had the audacity to promise to call out "any who would use our vets as pawns in a political game." Just wow. Happily, actual veterans who organized the actual march - who just want the memorials open - were having none of it. On their website, they issued a statement saying the event was "not in alignment with our message" and blasting those who would "seek to hijack the narrative for political gain" - thus, hopefully, disproving the great oh-so-cynical H.L. Mencken on just how much hypocrisy we can stand.
"No one in this world, so far as I know, has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."