Please, Hit Him Again

Kish and I continue to watch Treme, the new HBO series on post-Katrina New Orleans.  We’re hoping to find something that grabs us.  So far, our overwhelming reaction is that virtually none of the characters is particularly likable, whether they are behaving irresponsibly, bloviating about how great New Orleans music and culture are supposed to be, or looking concerned about how their beloved city is responding to a colossal disaster.  I know we are supposed to be rooting for these folks, but it really isn’t easy.

The character we most despise is Davis McAlary, a shrimpy, soul-patched loser who can’t hold a job.  McAlary is an insufferable musical snob who thinks he is just about the coolest guy ever to pulse along with one of the music at one of the New Orleans parades that seem to occur every day.  In the most recent episode, McAlary unwisely used the “n” word in a bar and got a punch to the chops to commemorate his stupidity and cloddish insensitivity.  What does it say about a character when you wish he would have been decked again?  I don’t know if McAlary is supposed to be detestable, but if so Steve Zahn, who is playing him on the show, deserves an Emmy.

We’re sticking with Treme for now, but five episodes in I have to say it has been a disappointment.

Reflections On A Political Flier (III)

A few more thoughts on the signed political flier from Anne Gonzales that was left on our doorstep and that led to a posting here on the Webner House blog and a response from our current Representative in the Ohio House.

Political fliers tend to be rote exercises.  Photos of the candidates with their families are commonplace, as are a few bullet points that try to capture the candidates’ positions on complex issues.  The same words — words like “bold” and “fight” — get used by both parties.    Democrats usually say they are boldly fighting for us and for fairness, whereas Republicans say they are boldly fighting against tax increases and for balanced budgets.

I think it is time to change these meaningless images and buzzwords.  I don’t care whether a candidate has a family.  I think political “fighting” has caused a lot of our current problems.  And, I don’t need anyone trying to exercise “bold leadership” or take “bold action” on my behalf.  Instead, I’d like to see candidates talk about their prudence, judgment, thoughtfulness, and responsibility.

Ohio is wrestling with large budget deficits, heavy tax and regulatory burdens, a shrinking population, industries that are fleeing the state, high unemployment rates, crumbling infrastructures, and northern cities that are collapsing upon themselves.  All of these problems relate to the economy.  Taxes, costs, regulations, and other factors have caused businesses to leave the state for more friendly locations.  Those departing companies have taken jobs and tax contributions with them.  Workers, their families, and their income tax payments, have followed the employment opportunities out of state, leaving behind vacant homes and falling school enrollments.

We don’t need a “bold” leader who promises to instantly fix these problems with some new program or who is looking to show how they can “fight” for anything.  More often than not, the “bold” proposals of the “bold” leaders of the past have exacerbated these problems rather than solving them.  Instead, we need hard-working, intelligent representatives who will dig into the facts, recognize the challenging realities of our state’s predicament, and actually make some tough decisions about state (and local) programs and budget issues.

If I saw a flier that addressed those issues in an honest way, I would give that candidate some serious consideration.