Tuffy Gessling and Bradley Manning…
Posted August 16, 2013on:
Two seemingly disparate souls — Bradley Manning and Tuffy Gessling. We all know Brad Manning, the now infamous convicted Wiki-leaker, but I‘m not sure if Tuffy Gessling will ring a cowbell with you.
Tuffy is an awesomely descriptive name by the way — right up there with Anthony Weiner’s nom de junk Carlos Danger. Tuffy is the rodeo clown who donned a Obama mask at the Missouri State Fair.
Tuffy climbed into the rodeo ring to perform his duties as an amuse bouche for the bulls and to tantalize the crowd with the help of a rodeo announcer. The announcer crowed, “Do you want to see Obama run down by a bull!” and continued, “He’s gonna getcher getcher getcher!” in the sort of voice reserved for those rather earthy gentlemen in Deliverance who were violating a naked Ned Beatty.
Another clown ran up to Tuffy and started bobbling the mask’s lips and the crowd went wild. Tuffy had done his job — the audience was whipped into a frenzied lather. Some said it resembled a rather raucous Klan meeting.
Tuffy got fired and the President of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association resigned. No word yet on whether the Cowboy President resigned while wearing a Dick Nixon mask.
Is this worse than the effigies of Dubya? Is this worse than the caricatures of the Big Dawg after Monica? Who knows? Such determinations are in the eyes of the beholder and depends almost entirely upon subjective sensitivities. Add to that the pesky little thing called freedom of speech. So who knows, but I don’t find those types of arguments interesting or particularly enlightening.
What I find interesting doesn’t draw upon the qualitative or quantitative differences. What I find interesting is what has happened since Tuffy was banished from ever again letting his clown shoes touch the dirt of a Missouri rodeo ring.
Tuffy has become a cause celebre in conservative circles. One defender is Rep. Steve Stockman. You probably remember him as the guy who brought Ted Nugent to the State of the Union. Stockman’s background is so checkered he could be used to declare the winner at the Indy 500.
Stockman has invited Tuffy to throw his masks, red noses, and squirting flowers into his clown car and head to Texas where he will be welcomed with open arms and long horns. Never one at a loss to find a set of facts to analogize to Nazi Germany, Stockman said:
Ordering citizens into reeducation camps for mocking a liberal leader is wrong. Liberals have targeted this man (Tuffy) for personal destruction to create a climate of fear.
Not to be histrionically out hyperbolized, Glenn Beck, in the rare sober reflection only a dry drunk and an allegedly non-using drug addict could conjure said, “I declare myself officially a rodeo clown. We are all rodeo clowns.”
Even Peggy Noonan broke the strains of her verbal constipation and wrote a sentence that didn’t start with, “When I was writing for President Reagan.” Ms. Noonan declared that President Obama should fully celebrate Tuffy in all his rodeo clowniness.
What happened to personal responsibility? Isn’t that the touchstone upon which conservatism is built? Sure Tuffy can say or do what he wants, but at the end of the rodeo he is still accountable to his bosses at the Missouri State Fair and last I checked, a state fair is not in the business of alienating people.
So how does Bradley Manning fit into Tuffy’s final rodeo roundup? In his sentencing hearing Bradley made a statement:
I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry I hurt the United States of America.
I understood what I was doing, and decisions I made. However, I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those factors are clear to me now, through both self-refection during my confinement in various forms, and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.
I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions.
In retrospect I should have worked more aggressively inside the system.., I had options and I should have used these options. Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things. I can only go forward. I want to go forward. Before I can do that, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.
According to Bradley he was going through some personal issues and to compensate he copied several hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents he had sworn to keep secret and turned them over to the alleged Scandinavian rapist, Julian Assange. My advice to the Bradley’s prison psychologist, “Good luck sorting that one out.”
Who knows what drove Bradley or for that matter Edward Snowden to do what they did? Allegedly what drove Snowden to become disgruntled, enraged, pissed off or whatever, was disagreeing with an economic policy embedded within a trade pact — not the alleged national security rap ballyhooed by reporter and Snowden publicity agent, Glenn Greenwald.
What do the two regrettable souls of Gessling and Manning have in common? Failing to take a moment and ask themselves, “Do I really want to take this action whether it be something as large as compromising my country or as small as compromising my personal integrity?”
Both were pawns of others and like pawns, they were the first to be sacrificed. Their regret is nothing more than a particularly sticky mental post-it note reminding them of the dangers of listening to their inside voices as amplified by those who would use them. The cost of their regret is the justice everyone else demands. A good lesson indeed.
Have a great weekend.
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