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Less talk, more action

When I was in my last year of high school — and needed good marks to get into the school of my choice — my father asked me to take algebra. As I was your liberal-arts type, this was asking the proverbial fish to ride the proverbial bicycle. He insisted, telling me it would make a man of me, et cetera. Lacking a suitable alternative to my mother’s cooking and my father’s money, I acquiesced.

That year in Miss Anthes’ algebra class I sat in the final row of desks, near the back wall. This placed me next to Ron Rowatt, who was officially the funniest guy I knew at Nelson H.S. Ron went on to fame as Ottawa legend J.J. Clarke, weatherman deluxe on CJOH. He also knew all the words to Hot Rod Lincoln. Each day, Ron warmed up the classroom crowd, a la Ed McMahon, while Miss Anthes worked her way through the subtleties of algorithms.

It was an amusing eight months till the final exams. Ron’s nonstop patter made algebra class — if not the subject itself — a must-attend class. Then came final exams and somehow there wasn’t a single question about why “the cops was after my Hot Rod Lincoln”. I got a pity pass of 50 from Miss Anthes and an abject lesson that amusing won’t help you get through algebra.

Since Grade-13 algebra I have come to understand that, like me in algebra, most people would rather be entertained than educated in polynomials. The old Star Kist commercial said, “Charlie, Star Kist wants tunas that taste good, not tunas with good taste.”

But if that were true, John L. Hall would be hosting SNL instead of John Cusack. Progressives like Cusack demonstrate that entertainment, not education, is the way to a Millenial’s heart. A while back the movie star (whom I genuinely enjoy) was opining on Twitter about how violence begets only more violence, a statement of biblical stupidity that has nonetheless become gospel in progressive ranks.

I hopped aboard the chain to ask the Grosse Pointe Blank star if he felt that applied to using violence against the Nazis. Or the Confederates in the Cvil War. Or the Mongol Hordes, for that matter. Cusack fulminated about me raising the old Nazi thing again (Goebbels is always screwing up a good thread), then conceded that there might be isolated examples where violence could actually stop violence.

Which pretty much ruins his argument. Not that anyone cares if he’s consistent, because he’s John Cusack, star of Grosse Pointe Blank.

His president, Mr. Obama, stumbled into the same pumpkin patch when in full rhetorical thrall he suggested only better ideologies would defeat ISIS. He was quickly trolled online. “For instance, Imperial Japan was defeated by 15 and 21 kiloton better ideas,”  jabbed @iowahawk. But Obama knows intuitively that few care about facts when you’ve been hangin’ with Zak Galifinakis. If you’re talking, you’re walking.

It’s the same about fracking. The EPA can admit there’s no substance to the tap-water-on-fire, but Darryl Hanna ain’t buying. All the vaccination studies in the world aren’t moving Jenny McCarthy on the issue of whooping cough. (Although she’d faint if a peanut entered a school filled with unvaccinated kids.) They’re stars, and that’s a hall pass for vapidity.

What many in the progressive left and its lapdog media do believe passionately is that talking — unending, inflammatory, gaseous debate — is a path to healing. Using the N-word, President Obama has launched his umpteenth call for more chat on race. Or, more properly, his latest attempt to have dissidents fall into line with the party on such issues. Compliance, not debate, is the object of the exercise.

In their unceasing demands for more and more raking the coals of the past, the TalkBots are not unlike the couple who analyze their marriage every night. And who can never figure out how the smallest problems become the biggest problems they face.

Picking at the scab rarely encourages healing, of course. As my brother, Dr. Ian Dowbiggin, points out in his book “The Search For Domestic Bliss”, the mania for intrusive, intense marriage counselling drives more marriages apart than heals them.

Liberals would tell you that not talking simply buries the problems. But whether it’s Canada’s dialogue with its native population or America coming to grips with its segregated past, the outflow of chatter expended on these items — and the media’s fascination with the same — has left us almost exactly where we were in the 1960s when dialogue became the operative notion. Bitter, divided, unwilling to compromise.

If the Obama presidency shows anything, it’s that society needs far less talk and more everyday interaction between communities. Places like Charleston, a 50/50 racial city, have been doing just that for the 52 years since Selma. Building bridges and, sometimes, fences, to create a practical working relationship in the everyday world. But it’s hard to reach out a hand when it is always holding a microphone, decrying the abyss of the depraved violence for MSNBC, CNN, or FOX.

Prediction: The candidate who vows to shut the hell up for about 15 minutes on race, gender, identity, et cetera will win the 2016 U.S. election by a landslide. As my father was wont to say when I complained about taking algebra, “Less talk, more action.”

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy #notthepublicbroadcaster

Originally published on 2015-07-28 with The Prince Arthur Herald