It may be the dawning of a new Age of Aquarius, a challenge to those of us who missed the last one because our moms put our bell-bottomed jeans in the wash.
Consider recent developments: Immigration reform has strong bipartisan support in Congress; the Boy Scouts of America is reconsidering its national policy banning gay scouts; women in the military are being officially allowed into combat; and the Tea Party’s idea of risking fiscal disaster by precipitating a government shutdown in order to avoid fiscal disaster has been the subject of political second thoughts.
Why, even the notion that assault weapons are essential to the preservation of the Constitution, as conceived by the Founding Fathers with their assault muskets, has led to a rare national exclamation of “huh?”
In rebuttal of those who ask “What part of ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand?” the answer is increasingly “What part of ‘a well-regulated militia’ don’t you understand?”
It is possible other examples of newfound sanity may exist, but that’s enough common sense for now.
As it is, the appearance of an ascending road to reason lit by thought and fair play takes a little getting used to. The fact that some of the newly enlightened lantern bearers are conservatives makes it even harder for a liberal like myself to understand. After all, theirs was a party whose candidates for president spent months falling over each other to appear more right-wing wacky than the next. Genghis Khan could not have kept up with that crowd.
What a difference an election makes. This new era of reasonableness may not last, but just in case it does, and the snark and satire industry is hard-hit — jeopardizing my job — I have made taken this challenge and made it into an opportunity. I have founded a business, which I intend to run from home during periods of redundancy. A press release explains it:
Welcome to www.reg-mea-culpa.com, the website for those who have much explaining and apologizing to do. Have you stood athwart history yelling “Stop!” only to be flattened by oncoming, inevitable social change? Have you been a politician opposing the rights of minorities and women only to discover that the American people are not all Neanderthals?
Then reg-mea-culpa.com is for you. (Sorry, our website is not up and running yet.) The brainchild of Reg Henry, whom critics recognize as one of the sorriest writers in America, mea culpa will provide statements or letters of regret, penitence, contrition and apologies in ranges of sincerity from mild “mistakes have been made” to groveling repentance and promises of never to be so stupid again.
Here are some examples of our recent work:
Dear Hispanics of America: It came to our attention during the presidential election that some of you would rather have voted for a cactus than a Republican candidate on the grounds that the cactus was less prickly to your sensitivities.
Apparently some of you have mistakenly gotten the impression that we in the GOP think you are all illegal criminals who have come here to take away jobs from those Americans who, just like you, are dying to make motel beds and pick lettuce when not on welfare. We regret this impression very much and we are mucho sorry, as you say in your language. Please vote for us next time because we now believe in immigration reform. Really.
Sincerely, the RNC
Dear Military Ladies of America: We are glad you little gals are going to be at the front lines as much as you like. We apologize for suggesting that you were too frail for the work and might have a touch of the vapors in combat. Yes, we know that history provides plenty of examples of female warriors, but all we can remember from school is Joan of Arc and she was French, so naturally she was a bit suspect. We thank you for your service.
Cheers, Chauvinists of America
Dear Would-Be Gay Scouts: We have been so busy being trustworthy, loyal and helpful that we forgot that being discriminatory may not be friendly, courteous and kind. Sorry, scout’s honor. We will be prepared for social change before the end of the century, if not before.
Den (not of iniquity) Leader
Enough examples. Now where did those bell-bottomed jeans go?
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.