Biff America: Not loving Cotton (column)
My father hated “Hogan’s Heroes.”
Honestly, other than my old man’s vocal loathing of that TV series, I really don’t remember much about the show; nor was I a fan. I do know it was a comedy set in a prisoner of war camp run by inept guards. One item of note is that, many years later, I became good friends with one cast member’s son.
The only reason I even remember as much as I do about “Hogan’s Heroes” was that my old man would watch the show and yell at the television. He would complain about the plot, acting, accents — even the wardrobes and haircuts of the cast. Sometimes he got so loud he was heard all over the house.
On the bright side as long as he was criticizing Hogan he’d be leaving me alone.
During a particularly loud rant I came out of my bedroom and said, “Dad, if you hate that show so badly why do you watch it every week?”
My old man looked at me like I was absolutely crazy. He carefully put down his jelly jar full of Four Roses and ginger ale (called a highball in those days) and said with a calm yet incredulous voice, “Because ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ is my ‘favorite hate.’”
My mate and I haven’t had a TV for many years so I am neither educated nor opined on the products of that mass media. But regardless, if nothing else I’m my father’s son.
Because Tom Cotton is my favorite hate.
Tom Cotton, that Senator from Arkansas, stands for everything I dislike. He is one of the most vocal War Hawks in Congress reportedly claiming bombing makes America safer and calling for the expansion of the use of killer drones that have been responsible for many civilian deaths. He voted against lowering interest rates on student loans and for a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal employees. His record on voting against environmental protection is too long to fit in a short column. Suffice to say he’s has earned a “0 percent” approval rating by most, if not all, conservation groups.
Tom Cotton also voted against equal pay for women and has called for steep budget cuts for social assistance. Plus, his hair looks as if he cuts it with a Swiss Army Knife and combs it with a rock.
I loathe Tom Cotton. He is, without a doubt, my favorite hate.
Then I made the mistake of googling him. Nothing can throw cold water on hot ignorance as do facts.
Born in rural Arkansas, he attended Harvard and was on the editorial board of “The Harvard Crimson.” After law school he enlisted in the Army, turned down a cushy gig in a Judge Advocate General’s Corps and volunteered for the infantry. He attended Airborne and Ranger school and served, in combat, with bravery and distinction in both in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a nut shell, Tom Cotton is a bad-ass who has lived by his principles.
This country is as divided as it has been in my lifetime and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the name calling and I’m tired of politicians, media and those on the right and left being unable to vehemently disagree with a person’s opinion without hating the person who holds it.
And what is equally disheartening is when you discover that you yourself are part of that problem. Until recently I knew nothing about Tom Cotton other than his politics, yet despite this ignorance I hated him as a person. Like many in this angry nation I confused the person with the person’s politics. And I have to admit I’ve been doing this more frequently the last few years.
Now granted there are weasels, freaks and hypocrites on both sides and I’m not suggesting they are forgiven for their crimes. But there are also decent folks who, from perspective, history or circumstance, might reach diametrically opposed positions.
So in that spirit I’ll say this to Tom Cotton, since I’m pretty sure he is a faithful reader: “T.C. (we always call each other by our initials), I hate your politics, policies and positions with a passion, but I do respect your life choices and character. … But for the love of God T.C., can we talk about that haircut?”
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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