It might just have been the phoniest line in the American political universe for at least the last decade. But when Michelle Obama took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention this last summer to proclaim the motto of her political ilk that, “When they go low, we go high,” the line was seized upon as a masterstroke of political theater.
Of course, Michelle and her husband promulgated this absurd veneer of being above the fray for two terms. Remember it was Michelle’s husband who adopted the role of national schoolmarm at the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast, chiding all of us:
“Civility is not a sign of weakness. At times it seems like we are unable to listen to one another, to have at once a serious and civil debate. This erosion of civility in the public square sows division and cynicism among our citizens. It poisons the well of public opinion.”
Uh-huh. Pardon me for choking on the water from that well that had been poisoned by a president who mocked political conservatives who opposed his failed stimulus bill as, “tea-baggers.” Perhaps referring to your fellow countrymen with a vile sexual term like that is his idea of “serious and civil debate?” Perhaps that is what Michelle meant by “going high?”
I often wonder what would have happened if former President Bush would have used an equally offensive word to describe his political opposition at the NAACP. Or what if he would have used gutter slang to reference his political opponents in the LGBT lobby.
Yet this practice of sowing division and discord while simultaneously condemning the sowing of division and discord became the Obama way. It was reflected in his inaugural address that heroically intoned, “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances…that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
This shortly after he scoffed at the bitter Pennsylvanians who, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” No petty grievances in that line, are there?
So given that this was the transparent hypocrisy of Team Obama, it is hardly surprising that the party they led for eight years has followed in their footsteps. When called out for not exactly “going high” when they started selling “Democrats give a sh*t about people” t-shirts on their website, the party responded with even more potty-mouthed vitriol:
Taking away health care from 24 million people is going low. Giving a **** about people is going high.
Someone wise once said that profanity is the futile attempt of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully. That seems pretty appropriate for a party that wants to pretend demonstrable falsehoods wrapped in unwholesome bathroom talk is the essence of what it means to take the high road.
It’s inexplicable really. Given an incredible opportunity with a temperamental and often times uncouth Republican president to sell themselves as the party of decency, Democrats are mimicking the Obamas instead – feigning dignity and class while playing in the mud.