We know that the right wing revels in stupidity; Willful stupidity and well practiced stupidity are thought to be the way elitist anti-populous tax-the-middle-class Republicans capture support from the masses. Seems to work rather well. But increasingly this trope of (ig)noble ignorance is being supplemented by large doses of mean spirited in your face angry verbal assault. Imagine a member of congress saying to an expert witness at a committee hearing “As long as I’m sitting here and you’re sitting there, I can call you whatever I want.”
Seriously. The last time I heard that kind of talk in real life was in a bar, late at night, everyone was drunk, and the words were slurred.
I would like you to look at two freshly produced essays reflecting on one recent incident:
Don Shelby has written this piece for Minnpost:
A video of Rep. Don Young every American should see
On Nov. 18 the celebrated historian, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. The committee was taking testimony on another congressional effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration and drilling….After Brinkley delivered his testimony, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, walked into the hearing late. Please watch this short clip of what happened:
Click here to be shocked and amazed. Don, former WCCO (CBS) News Anchor, is a friend of the victim, and provides excellent analysis of this fiasco.
Meanwhile, Shawn Otto (of ScienceDebate fame and author of an important new book on science denialism) also wrote about this astonishingly immature and inappropriate behavior by a member of the United States Congress:
Congressman to Witness: ‘You Just Be Quiet!’
A heated exchange between two congressmen and a historian they didn’t want to hear from shows what happens to democracy when knowledge is no longer the arbiter of what is true, but is simply another “way of knowing.”
This shameful display happened when Republican congressman Don Young from the state of Alaska shouted down a noted historian invited to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee…