INDIANAPOLIS Racist Star Evapolink:
Butler University Commencement
Remarks by Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
May 9, 2009
[Butler University is a private liberal-arts college in Indianapolis with an enrollement of 4500. It is nationally renowned for its Fine Arts program, a first-rate College of Music, its overachieving men's basketball teams, and world-class binge drinking. World-class binge drinking, formerly an intramural sport, replaced Lacrosse in 2007, thanks to the efforts of current President Bobby "If 18-Year-Olds Are Allowed To Drink And Drive, It Means They'll Drive Off Campus, Solving My End Of The Problem, Anyway" Fong. Butler still ranks as a Division III Hockey powerhouse, reflecting its long-standing reputation as one of the nation's premier Midwest destinations for rich college-age fuck ups from the East. Notable grads include Peter Lupus, strongman Willie Armitage in the original Mission Impossible series, and, pound for pound, considered the biggest prick ever to live in Marion County; convicted former Illinois governor George Ryan, best known as Not The Guy Who Married Jeri Ryan; and the Reverend Jim Jones. Check the Wiki page if you think I cherry-picked that list.]
[snip of customary remarks sucking up to parents, faculty, Butler Basketball, binge drinking, and, first and foremost, to Mitch Daniels himself]
Among the grossest and most arbitrary of such lumpings is the idea of a generation, a generalization at war with the obvious reality that any age cohort is widely diverse, containing heroes and villains, angels and devils, geniuses and fools.
In other words, strap yourselves in for the grossest and most arbitrary lumping of a generation you are likely to hear between now and the time they wheel you into some futuristic Republican cost-cutter's wet dream of a nursing care facility.
Even though the whole notion of a “generation” must be discounted as the loosest of concepts, within limits it is possible to spot the defining characteristics of an age and the human beings who create it. Along with most of your faculty and parents, I belong to the most discussed, debated and analyzed generation of all time, the so-called Baby Boomers. By the accepted definition, the youngest of us is now forty-five, so the record is pretty much on the books, and the time for verdicts can begin.
Followed by the hangings.
Which leads me to congratulate you in advance. As a generation, you are off to an excellent start. You have taken the first savvy step on the road to distinction, which is to follow a weak act.
Ten thousand comedians out of work, and we get this.
I wish I could claim otherwise, but we Baby Boomers are likely to be remembered by history for our numbers, and little else, at least little else that is admirable.
The reader is, of course, welcome to finish the speech from here. If we do not it is only because this dry-shod crossing of the ocean of Mitch Daniels soul confirms precisely everything we've been saying about the perpetual sexual juveniles of Mitch's generation of Sixties Republicans and their thirty-five years of taking revenge for that Prom Night humiliation out on the rest of us.
We Boomers were the children that the Second World War was fought for.
Well, we were the unfortunately-delayed missionary-position romp people dreamed of while fighting that war, maybe. They had real children back in those days, too.
Parents who had endured both war and the Great Depression devoted themselves sacrificially to ensuring us a better life than they had. We were pampered in ways no children in human history would recognize. With minor exceptions...
The Displaced, the Polio-Stricken, the Non-White...
we have lived in blissfully fortunate times. The numbers of us who perished in plagues, in famine, or in combat were tiny in comparison to previous generations of Americans, to say nothing of humanity elsewhere.
Let us pause for a moment to ask: Do you have a fucking point? Because it sounds like you're either accusing me of egotistically not contracting smallpox, or of being insufficiently grateful that I didn't. Science, like Time, marches on, occasionally impeded, for a span of eight years to A Fucking Millennium or Two, by the forces of authoritarianism and religion. I'm grateful, yes, that the Germ Theory of disease has supplanted Astrology, Humors, and Exorcism, at least outside the modern American Republican base. I'm grateful I was never bled, purged, or redlined. On the other hand, Mom used to put butter on our burns, an Achilles tendon injury ended my basketball career, and we used to play Lawn Darts unsupervised. Suck it, cosseted current Butler grad!
This reminds me of my very favorite Roddenberryism, the way "Bones" McCoy would periodically break into a weepy fit because "in the 20th Century they used to cut people open to perform surgery. With knives."
All our lives, it’s been all about us. We were the “Me Generation.” We wore t-shirts that said “If it feels good, do it.” The year of my high school commencement, a hit song featured the immortal lyric “Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today.”
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
Psalms 103: 15-16
Other, Bigger Hits from the Summer of Love For Everyone But Tiny Daniels: "To Sir With Love" (Lulu); "I'm a Believer" (Monkees); "Your Precious Love" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). Hundred-word essays on the deep philosophic meaning of each, with emphasis on how they capture an entire generation's world-view, are due one week from today.
[By the way, kids: nobody ever wore an "If it feels good, do it" t-shirt, unless it was an extra in Psych-Out or The Trip. They sure weren't wearin' 'em in the halls of North Central High School, 1967, where the fashion was Oxford button-collar shirts, grey slacks, oxblood belts and Bass Wejuns, purchased from Roderick St. John's at Glendale Mall. God I hate nostalgia.]
As a group, we have been self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and all too often just plain selfish. Our current Baby Boomer President has written two eloquent, erudite books, both about….himself.
Just in case you were wondering: one, yes, this is the sort of "witicism" one confronts on a regular basis in Indiana politics, and two, yes, this is precisely the sort of belch of fetid swamp gas Mitch's soul emits when he really gets going.
As a generation, we did tend to live for today. We have spent more and saved less than any previous Americans.
Details forthcoming, I suppose.
Year after year, regardless which party we picked to lead the country, we ran up deficits that have multiplied the debt you and your children will be paying off your entire working lives. Far more burdensome to you mathematically, we voted ourselves increasing levels of Social Security pensions and Medicare health care benefits, but never summoned the political maturity to put those programs on anything resembling a sound actuarial footing.
Christ on a Cracker, who was touting this guy as Presidential material the other day? Look, if we're going to play this stupid game, let's play it. From the end of WWII to the present day, every administration has left its successor a larger deficit than the one it inherited except the first Boomer president. The worst of the lot, of course, was the one whose first OMB director was Mitch "The Brain" Daniels, a man with no economics expertise whatever but a big stock of platitudes and an uncanny knowledge of when to bail on Water Company stock; followed closely by Ronald "The Great Deficit Cutter" Reagan's. Every WWII-generation administration raised the debt I've been paying all my working life, too; the difference being that my Social Security benefits were cut in 1983, and may yet be again if the people who lie about Social Security insolvency for a living have their way. We can argue about whether military/corporate entitlement is a bigger part of the problem than social entitlements, if you'd like. In the wake of what's occurred after thirty years of one side mostly controlling that argument--namely, both the military and the social safety net in tatters--we'd be happy to oblige. But fer fuck's sake, the idea that Ken "Not A Boomer" Kesey brought America to her knees with a t-shirt, while Mitch "Seven Years as a Political Sinecure to a Major Pharmaceutical Manufacturer, Thirty Years on the Taxpayers' Dime" Daniels stood by, unable to bring his Big Platitude Guns to bear in the tempestuous seas, is more an illustration of what actually happened as an entire political party went to pieces because the hippie chicks laughed at their shortcomings than it is an illustration of How We Failed.
Our irresponsibility went well beyond the financial realm. Our parents formed families and kept them intact even through difficulty “for the sake of the kids.” To us, parental happiness came first; we often divorced at the first unpleasantness, and increasingly just gave birth to children without the nuisance of marriage. “Commitment” cramps one’s style, don’t you know. Total bummer.
Fun fact: The divorce rate skyrocketed in the 50s, and did so without the help of Mitch Daniels, or as he's known in these parts, Husband #1 and #3 of Crazee Cheri Lynn Herman Daniels-Something-Daniels. Thirty years of effective control of the national legislature. How's the National Divorce Prohibition Amendment coming along, again?
Today, if you are thinking about standing on the shoulders of the past generation, I’d say “Please don’t.”
For one thing, if you stand on Mitch's shoulders you still won't be able to see over the podium.
Non-residents are reminded that Daniels thinks the big problem for his administration has been that Hoosiers just aren't smart enough to keep up with him.
Current Butler grads are further reminded that, should all go according to form, you will be listening to some bozo lie through his teeth on Commencement Day, 2032. There's no time like the present to shoot yourselves; the rest is downhill anyway.