Governor Palin is fond of saying, "they’re going to criticize you no matter what you do, so you might as well dance." That’s a very healthy way to approach to life, and certainly applicable to the current government shutdown and debt ceiling fight that is currently taking place in Washington. The GOP could learn a thing or two from Governor Palin’s statement when it comes to how they should approach the fight. The current battle and the Gov’s philosophy have invoked memories of my college days, specifically the second semester of my freshman year. Maybe the current GOP can learn a small lesson from the way I and some of my college friends went about life during that time.
I was pledging my fraternity during the second semester of my freshman year. During that twelve weeks or so before we became active members of the house, we went through a rite of passage, experienced long-standing traditions, and were put in situations that forced us to bond as a pledge class. Uh, yeah, that is a euphemism for saying we were hazed. They didn’t put us through anything painful or dangerous, of course. It was really just a bunch of obnoxious college kids forcing other obnoxious college kids to make complete fools of themselves in very creative ways. Looking back on it, some of it was mind-blowingly stupid, but it was all good, harmless fun.
Anyway, at the beginning of our pledgeship, many of us were uptight about the prospect of being hazed. We didn’t want to rock the boat in fear we would receive extra punishment. Planning any kind of elaborate prank against the house was out of the question. We made sure to know the history of the house or characteristics of the active brothers when quizzed, because not knowing it would spell trouble. When we were called to clean the house, which was about once a week, we made sure it was spotless when we were done. And, if you have ever been on the inside of a fraternity house, you know how hard that can be. This kind of attitude lasted for about the first month or so of our pledge program.
Then, a funny thing happened as time went along. We realized it didn’t matter what we did or didn’t do. We were going to be hazed anyways. If we knew every single detail about the history of the house, they would keep on digging or ask us some crazy trick question until we got something wrong, therefore giving them an excuse to haze us. If we cleaned the house perfectly, someone would purposely get one part of it dirty, so they could haze us for cleaning the house poorly. We couldn’t even win when it came to playing a prank on the house. After about six weeks of pledging, we had yet to play any kind of prank against the brothers. We got hazed for that because they said it showed we didn’t have to guts to act against them and it was clear we had not bonded as a pledge class yet. When we did pull of a prank against them, and it was a really good one, guess what happened? Yup, we got hazed.
This started to become a running joke among our pledge class. If one of our pledge brothers got a quiz question wrong about the history of the fraternity, one of us would say in mock outrage, "dude, you screwed it up for all of us. Now we’re going to get hazed." If someone was planning on messing with the active brothers, someone would joke, "you can’t do that, because if you do, we’re going to be hazed." Once we knew we were going to be hazed no matter what we did, we completely loosened up. We planned multiple pranks against the house. We didn’t clean the house as thoroughly as we used to. We didn’t care if we forgot where some senior in the house was born. Everyone in our class collectively decided to just do what we want and have fun.
Fortunately, our status as pledges was only temporary. At the end of the semester, we became actives, the hazing stopped, and we were all able to look forward to hazing next year’s pledge class. That is not the case for the GOPers and conservatives in DC. Unless they plan on eventually becoming liberal Democrats, they are always going to be blamed for everything wrong that happens in DC, or in the rest of the country, for that matter. Therein lies the difference between my status as a fraternity pledge in college and being someone on the right side of the political spectrum in Washington.
The media and the Democrat politicians are blaming them for the shutdown. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Thursday, they’ll be blamed for that. If it rains next week in Washington, they’ll find a way to say it’s the GOP’s fault. This is how preposterous they get- Sally Kohn, the leftist commentator and Fox News contributor, blamed the debacle of the Obamacare website on Republicans. She said they didn’t allocate enough money for the site to be operational. This, despite the fact that they have more than three years to build it and spent $634 million on it, when it was only supposed to cost about $90 million. But in the world of Sally Kohn and other Dems, it’s all the fault of the GOP. So, if the GOP is going to be blamed for everything anyways, shouldn’t they just grow a spine, fight the Dems tooth and nail on everything, and do what is right? Don’t refuse to rock the boat because you might get some negative coverage on CNN. Don’t go along to get along to because you don’t want Harry Reid to call you an anarchist. Don’t be a me-too conservative because you don’t want Joan Walsh to call you a racist in her next incoherent Salon column. All those things will happen no matter what you do. Follow Governor Palin’s philosophy. Learn the lesson I and my fellow pledge brothers learned back in college. Stand up for what’s right, because they’re gonna haze you anyways.