It is a slow Monday morning, foggy here in Chapel Hill. I have a half hour before I take my four mile walk [I hate to start while it is still dark -- I cannot see where to put my feet], so I thought I would take a few minutes to explain why I hate Joe Lieberman so much.
It isn't really political, although right now he is threatening yet again to destroy the coalition for health care reform. Objectively speaking, Lieberman's voting record in Congress is reasonably liberal -- certainly vastly more so than the voting record of Sessions or Kyl or McCain or Hatch or any of the other Republican senators. No, the reason is personal, even though I have never met Lieberman, nor even seen him in person.
There is a certain kind of Jewish man for whom the phrase "passive aggressive" was coined. This is a sweet, slightly sad man with a wry smile about his lips, whose voice is soft and a trifle crooning, who will tell you to your face how much he cares for you and feels your pain, and then knife you in the back every chance he gets. He tends to marry a strong woman to whom he professes undying devotion, even as he shares unvoiced with his fellow men the secret that they are all afraid of their wives. He never exhibits strong passions of any sort -- not anger, not lust, not even real love. Each time he does a sneaky, vicious, underhanded, immoral thing, he gets a sad look on his face as though it were something being done to him, rather than something he has done. In effect, he lives his entire life in the passive rather than the active voice, acknowledging no responsibility for the pain he inflicts, and managing always to communicate that it is hurting him so much that his victim really ought to feel pity for him, rather than rage at what he has done. These passive aggressive Jewish men are, at bottom, bitter. Their supposed sweetness is all sham, made doubly intolerable by their inability ever to admit that it is a sham.
My family was full of men like this. My rage at them is visceral and deeply rooted. To keep from becoming that way, it was necessary for me to reject the unspoken offers of love and affection that came from them, because the price of that love was a willingness to be complicit in the shared lie that they were really decent honorable men. For those who recall my rant about the recent film, A Serious Man, the root of my revulsion was the presence in the movie of an entire community of such men.
Every time I watch Lieberman on television, and hear that sad little catch in his voice, see that sweet, sorrowful smile, I recognize him for the snake he is and want nothing more than -- in the words of the Old Testament that I am sure he carries with him always -- to crush him under my heel.
Well, that was fun. Now for my walk.