Fighting the Good Fight

Joan Walsh of Salon made an apt observation today, when commenting on Rush Limbaugh, who is currently hospitalized. She thinks it’s impolitic to hit Rush on this, even though he’s never shied away from hitting others when (literally) down:

“There’s no liberal Rush Limbaugh, because most liberals don’t have a taste for cruelty as entertainment or political sport.”

I think she’s right, though such high-mindedness does pose a challenge for progressive and/or liberal people. I think that good causes can be promoted with humor and the sharp side of the tongue. Florida Rep. Alan Grayson gave a great example when he argued that opposition to health care reform was “pro death.”

I hope that some day soon our own humorist-turned-Senator Al Franken can find his voice.

I’m proud of Franken’s clever trick of putting the anti-rape provision in the defense bill: he inserted a rule forbidding contractors from forcing employees into arbitration if they suffer a rape while in their employ in a lawless region (Iraq, for example). Those foolish enough to speak against it quickly found themselves on the wrong side of the issue. And it highlighted the legal – and moral – hazard our nation faces when hiring mercenaries (oops, I mean “contractors”) to do our fighting (oops, I mean “security”) instead of our soldiers.

Franken is smart, highly educated, and an adept entertainer. So I’m looking forward to some entertaining – and effective – political rhetoric from him one of these days.

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