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Sep 20 2011

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Heroes of the Republic

By Donald Kaul

Stephen Colbert, every liberal’s favorite mock conservative, has taken to calling his viewers “heroes” as he exhorts them to contribute to his Super PAC.

What’s a Super PAC you ask? Good question.

It’s a money-laundering device that allows individuals, corporations, and unions to give unlimited amounts of money to a political group, which can in turn use the booty to promote a political candidate. It differs from a regular Political Action Committee in that it doesn’t give directly to candidates, thus freeing it from the $5,000 limit on contributions that regular PACs operate under.

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What, you might ask again, is the big difference between giving money to a candidate and buying ads supporting him? Don’t ask me; ask the Supreme Court. They’re the ones who came up with the cockamamie idea that money is a form of speech.

I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again: If money is speech then why is bribery illegal? All you’re doing is trying to convince somebody of the worth of your cause by using a form of speech often more persuasive than mere words.

Colbert’s motto for his PAC is “Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.”

As anyone who’s ever seen him on TV knows, Colbert is curveball artist. He ridicules conservative positions by adopting them, taking them apart, and reassembling them in larger, more vivid, and absurd forms.

When I first saw him I said, “That’s funny but he’s a one-trick pony; he can’t keep doing that and stay funny.” To make a long story short, he’s kept doing it, and he’s stayed funny. Very funny.

I think his Super PAC will be used to throw more sand in the gears of our corrupt political system and underline just how zany it has become. For example, candidates now spend huge sums to buy a win in the Iowa Straw Poll. Gimme a break!

Moreover, I think that calling his viewers “heroes” is a stroke of genius. How better to pander to your audience than by making members feel they deserve a medal, just for liking you.

I’ve decided to do it myself. From now on, all readers who send me complimentary cards, letters, e-mails, and smoke signals will earn the official designation of “Hero of the Republic.” They won’t get a medal. They might not even get a reply, but they’ll know who they are.

Here is a typical example, from a Mike R.:

“I am so glad to read your columns again. I love your wit and straightforwardness.”

That’s it. Simple, dignified, intelligent. Mike is a real hero.

I’ve decided to go Colbert one better, however. Taking a page from Rick Perry’s book, I’ve decided to designate readers who don’t agree with me as “Traitors to the Republic.” What better way to vilify opponents than to question their loyalty to their country, hey Rick? Take this letter I got the other day, for example:

“You come across as being one of the most liberal, Communist, socialist, Marxist, secularist, anti-Christ, anti-American reporters for the biased, prejudiced, slanted, liberal media. Here in Mississippi we put you in a class with our Commie President Hussein Obama, Bill Ayers, George Soros, Mike Moore, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda and all other anti-Christs and anti-Americans…Liberalism is a mental disorder. That’s you.”

The letter was signed “God and Country Christians”

If that’s not treason, Tokyo Rose never lived and Benedict Arnold belongs on Mt. Rushmore.

I say unto you, Mr. and Mrs. Christians, your remarks are an insult to the very idea of Americanism and a dishonor to us all, including the brave men and women fighting for our freedom, curiously enough, in places we can’t find on a map. You are traitors. I am sending your letter to the FBI.

So if two guys in dark suits, narrow ties, and snap-brim hats come to your door soon, don’t be surprised.

In the meantime, people, keep those cards and letters coming in, and keep writing letters to the editor praising my columns. A society can’t have too many heroes.

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.otherwords.org

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