Commentary by Bill Buchanan
One of my favorite quotes, and one that I use frequently, comes from Lily Tomlin: she said, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” There is no use denying that I am a cynic. In theory, I would like to be one of those people who is eternally optimistic, who is innocent and childlike in their view of the world. But my reality is something much different.
This does not mean that I am devoid of joy or enthusiasm. I consider myself a pretty upbeat person. I enjoy a good joke or a good story, and I love to laugh.
But I take a pretty dim view of some things. Politics and most professional politicians, for instance, never fail to disgust and disappoint me. Those on both sides of the political spectrum tend to speak one way, act another.
My current favorite Political Pomposity Award would go to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who lectured the president on the nation’s finances by stating, “I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!” According to documents filed by his ex-wife in their divorce case, Walsh owes about $100,000 in child support to her and their three children. Clearly, they don’t need anything else heaped on their backs — they have enough to endure with dear old dad.
While it is easy to maintain cynicism about Congress, it pains me to be cynical about Christmas. There have always been claims that Christmas is too commercial. It is hard to argue with that. However, recent events have taken take this to a completely new and very disturbing level.
In particular, I am talking about the Black Friday incident where one Wal-Mart shopper, in order to discourage competition for a discounted Xbox video game player, apparently whipped out the pepper spray and tagged other shoppers in order to gain an advantage. The incident allegedly caused minor injuries to about 20 shoppers, among them, several children.
This is hard to fathom. Was this a spur of the moment decision, or did the woman make a mental checklist before heading out the door: keys, check; shopping list, check; giant aerosol can of pepper spray, check?
Apparently Black Friday brings out the beast rather than the best in some people. A guy told me a story a few years ago about his wife and mother-in-law going to a Wal-Mart about 6 a.m. where a fight broke out between two women wanting the same item. He said his wife and mother-in-law looked on in horror as the two women, one of whom was pregnant, wrestled each other to the floor and rolled around until an assistant manager came and broke up the scuffle.
I don’t know which is worse — rolling around on a skanky Wal-Mart floor at 6 a.m. while wrestling with a pregnant woman over a Tickle Me Elmo doll or pepper spraying children while they shop with their mother. Somehow neither of these incidents quite conveys the true meaning of the Christmas season to me.
But maybe I’m just being cynical.