Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Lost in Translation

An interesting discussion ensued after dinner last night at the Colonel's table.

Okay, it's the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's dining room table at which the Colonel is allowed a regular seat; but that's not important right now.

After-dinner discussions in the Colonel's house most often revolve around a recounting of the day's antics -- actors young and old.

Okay, it's the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's house the crushing mortgage for which the Colonel is allowed the great privilege of paying monthly; but that's also not important right now.

Last night's discussion wasn't so much about the hilarity of the very recent past as it was about concern for the future, in a country divided by two completely antithetical visions of the role of government. 

To the delight of the Colonel and his #1 son (and to the dismay of the distaff side of the household), the discussion wandered out of the flowered meadow of easy theoretical options and strayed into the minefield-littered battlefield of practical consequences.

As he has learned to do with his increasingly wary family, the Colonel lay quietly in conversational ambush until the moment at which the other participants were so deeply engrossed and so heavily invested in the discussion as to prevent their escape from the educational kill-zone at the moment of his initiation of direct lecture fires.

"Citizenship in our republic is a two-handed proposition.  On the one hand, the Constitution that establishes and limits the powers of our federal government guarantees a wide range of personal rights and liberties.  On the other hand, acceptance of the title 'citizen' in our republic carries with it the inescapable responsibility to conduct our personal activities within the boundaries framing that wide range and to accept the less-than fully democratic principles on which the republic was founded."

Caught in the direct fire lecture kill-zone, most of the Colonel's family waited patiently and quietly for the lull in firing indicating that the Colonel was reloading, knowing that to return fire was an invitation to escalation of the Colonel's use of verbal force and certain prolonging of the lecture firefight.

#1 son dashed the hopes of the rest, returning fire with relish.

The Colonel feels constrained at this point to explain to the LSU and 'Bama grads who may have erroneously stumbled upon this post in their frantic search for meaning in their lives beyond football, that "returning fire with relish" does not mean that #1 son threw hotdog toppings at the Colonel.

"But, Fearless Father and Former Roguishly Handsome Soldier of the Sea," -- the Colonel's progeny always display the utmost formal respect -- "the Federal Government is doing things with my tax dollars that I vehemently disapprove of on principle."

Okay, the Colonel will admit that his progeny do not address him so formally and respectfully.  But, if four decades with the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda have taught him anything, it is to translate aggressive address into more palatable pablum. 

"But, you senile old flatulent fool..." is caught by a filter just behind the Colonel's tympanic membrane and converted to "But, Fearless Father and Former Roguishly Handsome Soldier of the Sea..."  

#1 continued, "I feel like my vote counts for nothing.  I'm so tired of voting against things and they happen anyway."

"Ah, my son, welcome to the Colonel's world.  I haven't voted for anything or anyone since November of 1984."

The Colonel carried on and held forth for three of four more hours on the topic of citizenship in the republic and the role of each of the three co-equal branches of the federal government under a constitution specifically designed to frustrate accumulation of federal power at the expense of the several states and the many freedom-loving people residing therein. 

The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda finally interrupted him,

"Hey, you old... [translator kicking in] roguishly handsome protector of my virtue and plentiful provider for our progeny, you do know that you have been sitting here at this table, in the dark, talking to yourself for the past three hours."  
           
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