By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – A vice presidential candidate walks into a barbershop …
If this sounds like the start of a bad joke, you are picking up on the right scent.
Such was the scene recently in Norristown, when GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, was paired up on an awkward blind date in the inner sanctum of any black community – the barbershop.
Followed by CNN cameras – not like there were any surreal floods or forest fires going on, so why not? – the barber in question had to quell chuckles from the cheap seats as he had to fight through the layers of Brylcreem to kinda sorta cut and style hair that was, literally and figuratively, as white as you could get.
When the dog-and-pony haircut came to its merciful end, the CNN crew accidentally stumbled upon actually “news.”
Turned out the barber was not quite sure who Pence even was, having to ask his name, and then being somewhat taken aback when he learned he was on the same ticket with a candidate who secured his nomination by stoking racial prejudice in what we hope is a vocal minority of mostly angry white males who started demanding their country back a split-second after Barack Obama was elected the first president of color in 2008.
Spin Central tried to sell us that Pence was chosen for the bottom half the GOP ticket to make it look respectable.
Good luck with that.
The choice of Pence as VP wannabe, as exhibited by his track record, was merely an act of doubling down on the Make America Great (i.e. White) Again platform that bullied its away to the nomination.
Pence’s addition to the ticket only underscores the Molotov cocktail of ignorance and arrogance that is a self-imploding campaign that is sagging in the polls against a flawed, and beatable, candidate in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The barber is not alone in not really knowing Pence.
Criticize him for that if you must, but why should he bother?
The nation has become so turned off by partisan politics that exist and subsist by and for the special interests and big corporations, that it is not too hard to tune it all out.
Fortunately, the information still exists for any who seek it. We may not know what goes on behind closed doors in Mike Pence’s world, but we know the basics from his actions.
For all those like the barber, who don’t really know who he is, considering the following a PSA (public service announcement) from GNN (Gordonville News Network).
Pence is the governor of Indiana. Nothing wrong with that, at least at face value. For those of us who have been there, the people are quite nice – well, up to a point.
John Mellencamp is a native son, as is Larry Bird.
But Indiana is also home to some of the most ridiculously soft gun laws in the country. When they talk about loopholes, put the Hoosier state’s logo on the poster (believe it or not, blind people can even own guns there).
The GOP presidential nominee is touting himself as a “law and order” candidate who will end violence – mostly in America’s urban kill zones (conservative code for where non-whites run amok) – about 12.2 seconds after stepping into office. The city often cited in these disjointed diatribes is Chicago, and it always mentioned how the Windy City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but still has a mounting body count.
What isn’t mentioned? An estimated twenty percent of the guns used on the streets of Chicago are purchased in nearby Indiana, where Pence is the governor and vice presidential candidate on ticket vowing to save Chicago from its evil ways.
For that many guns — one in five –to come from just one outside state is downright obnoxious.
The blind shooters is only the tip of the gun-nut iceberg that is the Hoosier state. In 2014, Pence spurned state school organizations and signed a bill to allow guns to be allowed in cars on school property. He recruited the NRA to train the National Guard on concealed carry techniques (even when the National Guard questioned why they were being trained by a private agency, as if they couldn’t connect the dots there).
He also signed a bill in which lawsuits against gun manufacturers in Indiana – and sellers of ammunition and firearms – became almost impossible. It also retroactively terminated a lawsuit from the mostly-black city of Gary, Ind., where one would guess he would not be welcomed in many barbershops.
But what did he care? It was designed for the gun industry to view Indiana as gun-dealer friendly. He surely got his cut.
Now, while we know more about this guy with an A grade from the NRA, let’s look at how he came into our orbit in the county seat.
After losing bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, the historically homophobic Pence built his brand with one of those slanted talk-conservative radio shows — the creatively named “Mike Pence Show” – where pro-gun rhetoric is like a stretching exercise before yoga class.
He billed himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” which is kind of like being a Dead Head on hashish.
Pence was elected to the House in 2000, sweeping in on the coattails of George W. Bush’s stolen win over Al Gore in the presidential election and the fact that his perpetually gerrymandered district was vacated when the incumbent ran for governor.
Pence stayed in the House until 2012, earning a battlefield promotion to Republican Conference Chairman (a thrown bone after losing to John Boehner by a country mile for Republican minority leader).
Pence then ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 (the outgoing GOP governor was “term-limited,” so it was not that much of a bold move to walk away from his Tea Party friends in D.C.).
To be fair, Pence made himself fairly visible as a “values” Republican while in the House.
As such, his views are out there. You need not be a political junkie to shoot his poison into your veins.
And these “values” would likely not make him welcome in too many black barbershops — let alone Mexican restaurants (opposed birthright citizenship) or places where women dare think to do anything but cook and clean and bring their husbands martinis (strongly advocated defunding planned parenthood).
If the Tea Party had the guts to set the rest of the GOP free from bondage and form their own party, Pence would be right there with Sarah Palin as a leader.
Consider the following:
-Pence declared that “freedom won today” when the Supreme Court took the people out of the political process with its Citizen’s United ruling in 2010.
-He voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007 because a hike from $5.15 to $7.25 would “hurt the working poor.”
-He was all in, from the jump, on Bush’s war of folly in Iraq that created thousands of American casualties, with a disproportionate number being black or Hispanic, and opposed withdrawal.
-As the GOP stance on immigration mysteriously softens, consider that Pence – as far back as 2006 – proudly put forward an immigration policy he dubbed “No Amnesty Immigration Reform.” Right on cue, he didn’t need more than a split-second to vote down the DREAM act to give children of undocumented workers non-immigration status.
We’ll send you away with these fun facts:
-He denies climate change, as he is still waiting on the facts not presented by 99 percent of scientists (whisper: he also claims that the full effects of tobacco use are not yet known).
-He opposes embryonic stem cell research, claiming those breakthroughs are “obsolete.”
-He believes in evolution.
Impressed when he showed up for a photo opp recently in Louisiana after horrific flooding, were we? Consider that he wanted to limit funding for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005.
So, people, that’s Mike Pence.
And the first time he ever went against his own party’s playbook may have been when he walked into a black barbershop in Norristown.
And the barber didn’t know his name.
That was a well-deserved slap in the face.