Bugs and Daffy can’t seem to agree on whether it’s duck season or wabbit season, so your humble observer will clear the air on that issue. It’s political season, and the wild game has begun – wild games which won’t end until at least November.
Our forecast for the next nine weeks, depending on those to whom one is most inclined to listen and believe: clear to mostly gloomy with occasional mud showers in September transitioning to heavy downpours in October.
‘Tis also the season for revisiting memorable quotes of gifted Americans concerning our elected and appointed officials, those responsible for putting them in office and the disinterested among us. In some cases, YHO reserves the right to slightly alter a word or phrase of two here and there.
First, we need to define the term, politics. Groucho Marx does it well: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” His definition is bi-partisan.
Kin Hubbard calculates, “We would all like to vote for the best man, but he is never a candidate.” And yes, Nancy, that includes women as well. Follow this gem with one from Clarence Darrow who, like Hubbard, sought the best but came away disappointed. “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it,” said Darrow. After five-plus years, me too, said I.
Far too often YHO hears intelligent individuals say they do not want to become involved in politics because…fill in your own typical answer here such as, “One person can’t make a difference.” Those who think they’re remaining above the mud should learn from Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Remember the fellow who was approached by a pollster and asked, “What do you believe is the number one problem in politics today, ignorance or apathy?” The polled replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Welcome to office, those of you who attained seats of power thanks to the more than 50 percent who don’t vote, then complain to the heavens about those they helped elect.
Robert Reich’s idea is neither the Democrats nor the Republicans make up the largest political in America. That distinction goes to the I could care less, the not-so-silent plurality that generally doesn’t vote but does wield a major influence on who is elected. Now that’s pure, undeserved power. It really doesn’t matter, though, because the two major parties are taking care of us. Oscar Levant points out the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too. Yours truly has never believed anyone should be discriminated against where graft is concerned. We’ve often heard running for office, especially on the national level, isn’t about fulfilling the desire to use the office to better serve the constituency. If you wonder who really wields power, ask George Soros or the Koch brothers or the many other mega-wealthy why they never run for office.
There’s good news, though, P.J. O’Rourke tells us. “According to the Obama administration, the rich will pay for everything.” But there’s a disappointment. “The bad news is that, according to the Obama administration, you’re rich.”
We can’t win even when we win, Emma Goldman believes because “…if voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” To be sure, a fool and his money is soon elected. Unfortunately, it looks like no matter how much we’re promised that hope can lead to change which benefits us all, we have to accept the reality that change isn’t always the panacea we seek.
Thomas Sowell traced our history and declared, “If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago, and a racist today.”
Sorry, faithful reader. Despite all hope to the contrary, it does seem that our little swampy friend Pogo had it right all along when he identified the cause of our problems. The cause is us. To we who remain optimistic, us is also the cure.
We do, though, need to pick our friends carefully as we seek allies who share our dreams of stability, solidarity and security. Friends in our nation’s capital must be at a premium if Harry S. Truman was once led to comment, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”
Pat Culverhouse is an award-winning journalist who also writes for the Minden Press-Herald. E-mail: Paschal1946@yahoo.com