'Chief, Put Out the Fire, Will Ya?' How the Left Has Channeled Sam Quint
When you write about politics and debate issues as often I do, you tend to form a pretty good understanding of the opposing traits that make conservatives and liberals two very different types of people. Thus, when you have a friendly discussion with someone you don't know very well, you might find yourself taking note of the subtle things they say or do that might tip off where they stand politically.
It's a trivial exercise, really. I've always been of the opinion that someone's political leanings have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not they're a good or bad person. In fact, I'd say it's the last thing people should precondition a friendship on. Some of my best friends happen to be ultra-liberal, after all.
Still, you sometimes can't help but deduct who is an ideological ally and who is an ideological foe.
Some of us even go as far as to seek out ideological allegiances with fictitious characters from television or movies. I often hear people on the left hailing Andrew Shepherd from The American President as their ideal liberal leader. Righties tend to look to roles cast more in the mold of 24's Jack Bauer.
I don't typically put much thought into which made-up people are most likely to stand shoulder to shoulder with me at a political rally, but I must admit that the other night, I did just that.
It might have been because I had just finished some back and forth, online-debating (if you can call it that) with some of this website's regular liberal visitors, but something caused me to look at one of the all-time great screen-characters in a whole different light.
One of my favorite films is Jaws, Steven Spielberg's 1975 masterpiece about a gigantic shark that is terrorizing the small community of Amity Island. So when I came across the movie on television a few nights ago, I couldn't help but stay up and watch the last half of it.
Though it was Jaws' nail-biting suspense and frightening shark scenes that made the movie a summer blockbuster many years ago, it was the dynamic between the film's three key characters that turned it into a classic.
One of those characters is Sam Quint, the salty shark-hunter played brilliantly by actor Robert Shaw. Shaw steals many of the film's scenes with his blunt demeanor and off-color sense of humor.
Politically, Quint initially seems like an obvious conservative. He's a rugged individualist. He's an entrepreneur and a capitalist, owning his own business and maximizing his profits based on demand. He's a man who clearly recognizes the incompetence of government, knowing all along that the local police and the island's mayor are ill-equipped to deal with their town's deadly serious shark problem.
But as the movie progresses, an awful lot of similarities begin to emerge between Quint and today's progressive left. For starters, he has a real problem admitting that the things he's doing just aren't working. He demonizes those who offer better solutions, letting his passion, pride, and desire to make a name for himself outweigh all reason. Most notably, he distracts others away from the topic at hand when he knows he's losing the debate.
This has been a real hallmark of the left in recent years - the refusal to debate a topic based on its merits. Instead, liberals often interject completely irrelevant issues into a discussion in order to redirect the conversation away from any meaningful dialogue.
Just like Quint repeatedly distracts Chief Brody every time the chief tries to use Quint's radio to call for help, the professional left changes the channel to a different station whenever the arguments being made against their side are making too much sense.
If the topic is the bad economy and high unemployment, we hear about a War on Women. If the topic is the IRS's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, we hear about the need for a "larger discussion" regarding who should be eligible for that status in the first place. If the topic is the Benghazi cover-up, we hear all of the left-wing parrots hyping some list of 50 or so individual acts of overseas violence that took place during the Bush era. If the topic is unsustainable entitlement programs exploding our national debt, we hear about how expensive the Iraq war was.
The brazenness and consistency of it is truly remarkable.
Imagine if, during the Bush era, every criticism of the administration was addressed by Republicans and conservatives with the counter argument of Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, or the Marc Rich pardon. That's about where we're at right now in our national debate. It's calculated attention deficit disorder.
Sadly, the strategy actually seems to be working for the left, so I don't see it changing anytime soon. They seem to be able to find a way to successfully cloud just about every serious issue there is, further dumbing-down the American public when it comes to the country's most important topics. And though we've seen the media take a few nibbles at the administration lately, they won't be playing the role of the great white shark any time soon - at least not until the next Republican president takes office.
For now, we're stuck on the sinking boat with Quint. I just wish the acting was as good.