What’s the Difference Between Ben Gazzara and Benghazi?

Brown_VW bus_2012-12-26

2014-06-17 – What’s the difference between Ben Gazzara and Benghazi?

You may think this is a silly question. Ben Gazzara was an actor who died in 2012. Benghazi is a city in Libya that figured in a terrorist attack in 2012 in which Americans were killed at the US diplomatic mission. Congress is perpetually holding hearings on the Benghazi attack, hoping to pin some sort of culpability on President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As far as I know, there are no Congressional hearings about Ben Gazzara.

Ben Gazzara had many notable roles in his life. The most memorable to me was his role in the series Run for Your Life, which aired in 1965-68. I was in high school at the time. Doctors told Gazzara’s character, lawyer Paul Bryan, that he had a terminal illness. The show was about Bryan’s adventures on the road as he tried to get the most out of his remaining time.  Kinda like the show Route 66, with a terminal illness in the background. Bryan was given nine to 18 months to live. The series lasted three years.

The Benghazi hearings, too, have outlasted their life expectancy, still trying to get the most out of life.

The rest of us are waiting for that show to be cancelled. (The leader of the Benghazi terrorist attack sure wishes it would have been cancelled before today.)

Before the summer of 2012, most Americans probably knew more about Ben Gazzara than they did about Benghazi. He was a pretty famous actor in his time. Americans generally know their actors, but they tend to be a bit sketchy about geography or international politics.

The nice thing about this sketchiness is that foreign places can become convenient symbols for politicians. We don’t have to know anything about Benghazi to have an opinion about what went wrong their—or didn’t. If you believe something went wrong in Benghazi, I will believe nothing did. Or if you believe nothing went wrong in Benghazi, I will believe it was a horrible fiasco. The important thing is the battle between you and me, not any facts about Benghazi.

Or Iraq.

If you’re tired of fighting about Obamacare or the minimum wage or the thousands of things that make real differences in our life, hold a hearing about a faraway place. Or start (or end) a war there. No one needs to know why.

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