DUSTY RHOADES: What's Wrong? It's So Hard to Hate These Candidates
"Mr. Rhoades? The doctor will see you now."
"Thanks. ... Hi, Doc."
"Dusty, mein boy. Come in and haff a zeet. Tell Herr Doktor vot is troublink you."
"Well, for one thing, Doc, that accent's a little much."
"Vot do you mean? All psychiatrists are supposed to haff der Viennese accent."
"Ummm Doctor Cho, you're Asian. And you told me you were born in South Dakota."
"Oh. Right. Anyway, come on in. Have a seat."
"So, Dusty, what's the problem?"
"Well, Doc, it's the hate."
"I know, Dusty, I know. All the divisiveness of the past few years, I can understand how it would get you down"
"No, Doc, you don't get it. I don't hate any of the candidates right now."
"I don't understand."
"Look, I'm a columnist, right? A liberal one. I'm supposed to be filled with hate. Don't you read the letters to the editor?"
"It's even in the handbook."
"You guys have a handbook?"
"Of course. Check it out. Page 37."
"Well, I'll be"
"All liberal columnists are required to hate the flag, hate America and anyone who's not as liberal as they are."
"Wow. I always thought that was just right-wing propaganda."
"Nope. All true. And there's my problem. I need to get good and angry in order to write, and I just can't bring myself to hate any of these guys."
"What about McCain?"
"Oh, don't get me wrong. I disagree with the guy. Strongly. But check this news story out."
"This right-wing talk show host introducing McCain kept bringing up Obama's middle name, Hussein, and calling him a 'hack politician from Chicago.' And you know what McCain did? He came out and apologized! He said that he didn't agree with the talk show host, that Obama and Hillary Clinton were 'honorable Americans,' and that he was going to keep referring to them with respect."
"I don't get it, Dusty.. Isn't this something you've been calling on Republicans to do for a couple of years? To distance themselves from their crazier supporters' harsh rhetoric, just like people are always demanding Democratic politicians do?"
"But Doc, I never thought they'd actually DO it! How am I supposed to hate this guy?"
"Well, what about Hillary Clinton? Isn't she the most divisive figure in American politics?"
"Pfft. Don't believe everything you read, Doc. Hillary Clinton is only thought of as 'divisive' because a few loudmouthed Republicans never got over losing the 1992 election to her husband. He's not around anymore, so they hate her in his place."
"I thought you called her 'Republican Lite."
"And I meant it. But it's hard not to take up her side when you look at some of the ridiculous BS that's been leveled against her. "That was pretty silly."
"Absolutely. And you know how all these people in the press are griping that Barack Obama is inspiring but not 'specific' enough about his policies?"
"I've read it once or twice, yes."
"Well, check this piece out from The Washington Post. Their reporter, E.J. Dionne, talks about how, and I quote: 'As Hillary Clinton droned on learnedly about health care, family and medical leave, and global warming, a colleague in the press section leaned over to dismiss her for offering nothing but 'a laundry list of wonkery.'"
"So, it's the old 'heads we win, tails you lose' nonsense the press has been running on the Democrats since the '90s!"
"I see. Go on, Dusty."
"Remember Al Gore? When he started talking detailed policy objectives, they made fun of him for being wooden! But when he got fired up, suddenly all these pundits were saying he'd gone off the deep end, he was going crazy!"
"I think we're getting somewhere here."
"What do you mean?"
"Look, you can't write unless you're ticked off, right?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Well, who do you hate now?"
"Who do you think? These idiots in the so-called 'liberal' media! Liberal! Hah! What a joke. Soulless bunch of corporate drones is what they are oh."
"Now you're getting it."
"They're petty, and stupid, and they concentrate on style over substance, and obsess over Obama's middle name, and they want us to pick the leader of the Free World based on whether or not we'd like to have a beer with him or her and they they wow! Thanks, Doc! I can write again!"
"Any time. Now here's my bill."
"WHAT!? This is outrageous! Why, you"
"Waitput that down! Nurse! NUUUURSE!"
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage.
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