“I prefer planting to building,” my teacher used to say. “In building, you have to be there to lay every brick. In planting, you place a seed in a position that assures it will sprout and grow on its own.” I used to laud that as a noble sort of sentiment, until I saw Hillary Clinton’s variation on this theme. Rather than build a relationship with her audience, rather than build a rapport with the voice of the people, rather than build consensus on important issues, she prefers to plant questions.
And yet I was prepared to cut her some slack. Perhaps there was only one shill with one plant, and perhaps that questioner was told to wait until near the end, only to ask if no one else had spontaneously brought up the issue. Surely that is defensible to some degree, if a candidate wants to be sure that a particular matter of critical significance is not overlooked in an uncontrolled open forum.
What really rankled me was that the falsehood was not merely a vehicle for opening the door to a particular truth. Instead the lie was specifically utilized and capitalized on to make a manipulative, deceitful point. When the young lady perked up with her choreographed query about global warming, the candidate responded: “You know, I have noticed as I travel around Iowa that it is mostly young people who ask me about global warming.” That was the moment she crossed the line into shameless exploitation.
To observe that the young person you planted to play a young person was indeed a young person, indicating that young people were the ones spontaneously bubbling over with this concern, is to perpetrate an outrage against truth in politics. Of course, those of us who have followed Hillary’s career closely know that lying is second nature to her, maybe even first nature. She is the girl who cried Wolf (Blitzer?) and if she really desperately had some kernel of truth she wished to pass along, she would find it had sunk in the quicksand of long-lost credibility.
The interesting sidelight emerging from this incident is the observation that indeed young people are not the ones pushing global warming. Although schools work feverishly to brainwash the youth, using torture methods like making them watch Al Gore’s movie multiple times, you do not see a huge groundswell of college kids voluntarily giving up Dad’s car to go green. This must be a source of frustration to the indoctrinators who are working overtime on the underage.
It turns out that all the mouth-breathing evangelists in the global warming crusade are 60s retreads trying to reclaim their lost idealism. The Iraq War thing is going sour: why, America might even be winning! The only true hope for salvation lies in positing an unwinnable war with unprovable obligations to solve untrackable problems. If you drive your SUV with too heavy a foot you drive some ozone away. If you barbecue steaks in the backyard you barbecue some protozoan life form off in a black hole somewhere.
But wait a second. Weren’t these guys telling us the same thing forty years ago? Instead of calling it global warming, they called it the population explosion or the ozone layer or CFCs or DDT or the rain forest or even global cooling. Whatever it was, our prosperity was making the planet bleed. If we now had machines and were no longer breaking the backs of the proletariat directly, the Marxist paradigm could still be satisfied by showing that we were leaching the vitality of the globe just to pamper ourselves.
So the answer to Hillary Clinton is revealed in her own duplicity. If the young people of Iowa or elsewhere across the fruited plain were hot about warming, the plants would not need so much watering. Oh, no, the young ‘uns are proving surprisingly sensible. She needs to coax them to lie so that she can lie to them in return. While the youth of America are still as unsure and insecure as their station in life predicts, they do have an intuition that the future is theirs.
It may indeed be a time for planting that would meet with Ecclesiastes’ approval. A time to plant seeds of optimism, of hope, of progress, of greatness, of drive, of inspiration, of passion, of humanity, in the hearts of our young people. A time to teach them that the future can only truly be theirs if they take it into their own warm little hands.