How bad is it? Give me a sign…

If there’s one thing about the collapse in the U.S. media’s credibility and sustainability that disturbs me most (aside from its effects on my own potential income), it’s that I can’t tell how deep the crazy in today’s politics really runs.

Like in this NYT Tea Party article here.  Excellent feature, but it doesn’t really indicate that anything but a very small minority of Americans has taken leave of its senses. Which isn’t anything new. Yet the Democrats seem to be collapsing. Why? How genuinely widespread is the crazy and not-crazy opposition when they’re not being shown on a 24-hour news channel?

Or is offscreen even a relevant political category anymore? Maybe I’ll just watch Fox for a while, that should clear up any questions I have.

Somebody has to do it

A man in a puffy tan jacket stops in front of the memorial commemorating the night the wall fell. It is difficult to determine his age under his white knit hat, but bits of gray hair and a roughness to his cold-chapped skin mark him as old enough to remember the night the barricades had opened and people had streamed across the bridge.

He takes a rag from his pocket and carefully wipes the last day’s accumulation of snow from the plaque. The old parking lot nearby, and even the parts of the sidewalk that haven’t been shoveled are covered in inches of snow. But the memorial has barely any, even before he begins his work. He has been here every day, making sure these words can be read, though he knows that no one else will read them today. Everyone passes with their shoulders tense against the cold and their eyes scanning the sidewalk for treacherous bits of ice. That doesn’t matter to him.

When he goes, the flakes immediately begin re-whitening the brass surface. An hour later the letters have vanished; but he will be back tomorrow.