The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Friday, October 15th, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
Every classroom has one.  He sits at the back, restlessly jogging a knee up and down, slouching in his chair, surveying the room with a smirk on his face and a malicious twinkle in his eye.  If any thinking at all goes on between his ears, it’s about whom he can safely stare down in the playground, or how to humiliate a vulnerable classmate, or what to eat for lunch.

He winks knowingly at his sycophants, answers the teacher disrespectfully, and never, on principle, cracks a book.  He’ll make a rude noise behind the teacher’s back, point at a blameless classmate to escape punishment, and save his self-congratulatory laughter for later.  Should there be a bigger and stronger boy in the class, he will defer to him at all times.  He’s always been this way, and nothing will ever change him.  Even if the most improbable concatenation of happenstance and influence should make him President of the United States, he’ll still be mean, willfully ignorant, cowardly, and clever enough to not get caught, at least most of the time.  His name is certain to be George.

We have seen three Presidential debates now, and though little light was shed on many critical issues, the actual choice before the voters is abundantly clear:  a grown-up for President, or the class bad boy.  Mr. Kerry was predictably solemn, calm, earnest;  if not entirely humorless, he did a thorough job of keeping his sense of humor in check.  But he also kept his dignity and his wits about him at all times, and did his level best to engage with the questions in a rational and factual way.  He is serious, and he took the debates very seriously.  He seeks, after all, a very serious job.

His opponent was just George.  The winks and smirks and scowls, the restless tapping of fingers and hunching of shoulders, the sputtering denials and bare-faced lies, the smarmy hypocrisy, and the decidedly unfunny ain’t-I-just-the-cutest humor;  it was all true to type.  That his performance struck so many as bizarre had little to do with the nature of the performance itself.  All of us are familiar with the class bad boy;  we simply don’t expect to see him in the guise of a man in late middle-age who holds the most powerful office in the world.

In the classroom, George would never have run for office.  His classmates would know him too well to vote for him.  He might become a cheerleader instead, where his antics and clownishness would have free reign.  Not coincidentally, our boy George was the head cheerleader at Andover.  Now that the voters have had almost four  years to get to know George, and have seen him close-up and unvarnished three times in two weeks, is it possible that they’ll vote him back into office?  Not if they have as much sense as a classroom full of school kids.

The Afternoon Affront

If polls can be believed, President George has made gains with female voters at Mr. Kerry’s expense.  Can women actually prefer the man whose economic policies have widened the gap between their wages and those of comparable males, who has undermined their children’s schools, poisoned their babies’ air and water, and undercut the already feeble government initiatives to subsidize day care and other essential aids to working mothers found in every other advanced nation but ours?  Do women in these polls understand that, if given a second term, President George will stack the Supreme Court with Justices who will assuredly send abortion back to the kitchen table?

They should read Thursday’s newspapers.  According to the AP’s Edith Lederer, two hundred and fifty world leaders, including eighty-five heads of state and two former U.S. Presidents, have signed on to a UN plan to safeguard a woman’s right to education, health care, and to make her own choices about bearing children.  But because the statement includes as a fundamental human right, “sexual rights”, presumably the right to choose when, with whom, and under what circumstances to mate, the Bush administration refused to sign.

For a woman to vote for President George in 2004 makes as much sense as an African-American voting for Confederacy President Jefferson Davis in 1861.  That African-Americans in the South had no such right to begin with ought to give any woman contemplating the comparison pause.

©J.C. Nossiter, 2004
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