FLOTSAM & JETSAM: The Scrooge campaign

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Scrooge campaign

Sam Smith

I thought there was something familiar about the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, but I couldn’t quite place it until I attended an excellent recitation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol by Hudson Valley storyteller Jonathan Kruk.

Within minutes, I realized that I had been observing Rick Scrooge, Ebeneezer Gingrich, Humbug Herman and Miserly Mitt playing out a selfish, mean and narcissistic ideology unlike any we had seen in modern American politics, one that dates back, in fact, to the 19th century capitalistic excesses against which Dickens aimed his tale.

Certainly, we have not seen in the past century as nasty a crop of GOP candidates as in the current race. These are not merely corrupt politicians of convoluted ideology and prostituted loyalties; they are also the self-obsessed voices of those who, like Scrooge, can see no reality beyond the financial ledger and what they mistakenly view as their own welfare.

Unfortunately, however, like many metaphors this one eventually collapses because, while Scrooge was rescued from his failings by a trio of ghostly spirits, there is today no similar emergency rescue squad from America the past, America the present, or America the future. We lack the education for the first, the media for the second, and the leaders for the third.

And so the party of Ebenezer Scrooges plays out its self-serving yet self-destroying politics of selfishness and cruelty promising nothing but certain misery for the Bob Cratchits of the land and their crippled sons as the White House, major media and other purported spirits of America remain afraid to even look them in the eye and say “Humbug” right back to them.