Prof. Rudolph Fehring of the University of Cincinnati music school was a perfectionist. If, say, the oboe hit a particularly bad clunker, he'd hold his head in his hands to fight back the tears. "And they shot men like Lincoln!" he would wail.
The professor came to mind after all these years as I reviewed the election returns this morning. No particular surprises. "And they defeated men like Feingold!" Same idea.
Not much will change in Washington, D.C. There'll be a tide of clunkers, and not just from the oboes. The names in the roll call will change, especially in the House, but the same people are still running the country and none of them received a single vote yesterday. They simply bought the election and the candidates who won it.
We still have a kakistocracy; it is simply a bit stronger now.
I leave it to the historians to debate exactly when we crossed the line from republic to kakistocracy. That would be important only if we were a people who learned from history rather than dooming ourselves to repeat it.
As the shrug du jour in the losers' locker rooms of American sport puts it, "It is what it is." We are what we are.
You think the Bush Bust was bad? Soon it will be 1930 all over again.
Think the Bill of Rights has been heavily trod upon? Soon it will be 1984 --the book, not the year.
Thought it was a real kick poking fun at Obamacare? Wait till you get a taste of Boehnercare, Grandma.
After ten years of spilt blood and spiraling debt, are you a wee bit tired of war? Try forever on for size.
The very rich will get very much richer. The poor will get poorer. Our kids will sit in the rickety rocker on the front porch of their sagging shack and ask, "Remember when there was a middle class?" Millions of Americans will die needlessly because they couldn't afford basic health care. Our teeth will rot and so will our society.
One nation, under surveillance. Don't even think about building a new mosque . . . anywhere. Love it or leave it. Support our troops. Taxed enough already. Climate change? "Them ain't facts. Give us facts."
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.