It’s 3:00 AM & I’m on the ‘puter. The TV is on for noise but I noticed that “West Wing” was on. It’s only on one channel & only at 2:00 AM. I liked it before so I stopped to watch it.
This episode centered on the debate between the incumbent President & his opponent. I noticed that when the “President” was speaking, knowing full well that it’s fiction, I still got goosebumps. I’m not a liberal but I’m not quite a conservative either. I don’t agree with some of the politics of the show, nor do I agree with those of Martin Sheen. He may have spent more time in the “Oval Office” than any real president but he’s always been distressingly liberal.
My point is in the form of a question: When was the last time any real life candidate, for any office, of any party, gave you goosebumps when you heard him speak? I don’t remember but it’s a fair bet that I was a helluva lot younger & I bet you all were too. Why do you s’pose that is? When did we stop expecting, demanding that our elected officials (especially to the highest office) be passionate, intelligent, ethical, honest, & realistic? That they be realistic about what can/can’t be achieved & about the compromises that may be necessary to get anything done? Realistic, even while dreaming, believing that we, as a country, can do better; can BE better.
When did we become so “fat,” lazy & complacent? When did we decide to accept “the best of a bad lot”? I’m just as guilty as anyone else; between trying to keep a roof over my head (with mixed success) & not go completely bonkers I stopped believing that “if you don’t like your politics or your politicians, then for Gods sake, CHANGE THEM !
I have an old beat up t-shirt that I wear when I go vote; “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” It may be accurate; but when did it all become a joke? I have said for years “there may not be anything or anyone I want to vote for but there is damn well something or someone that I want to vote against”. Again, it may be accurate, but what bothers me is that I can’t even remember when I actually started to believe it.
The first time W. ran for president, I voted for him because Al Gore scared the shit out of me. He still does; maybe more. The second time, I voted for him because I felt the same about Kerry. As for the most recent debacle, there weren’t really any good choices. Ron Paul was interesting but I think he stood too close to a microwave at some time. I didn’t want to but I went with McCain. In all three elections, I voted against someone not because I believed “W” or McRino would do a good job or because I had sparkling republican pixie dust in my eyes. To be brutally honest; I figured that while W. might try to overturn Roe V. Wade, he would leave me my guns to defend my right to choose. REALLY !
The lesser of two evils is a lousy reason to vote for anything beyond prom queen.
I wasn’t always like this; my folks were on opposite sides of the political fence but they spent a lot of time raising me to think for myself. They taught me that responsibility & duty go along with freedom; that what is now called “giving back to one’s community” was just how you lived your life. They taught me that public service was not an onerous duty but my proud privilege as an American. They did good work, I believed them. For a while.
When I graduated from high school, I was as empty-headed a liberal as ever there was. I was in the Navy for several years before I was able to vote in a presidential election. By then, that fatuous liberal gleam in my eye had been snuffed out by reality. And an ugly, bloody reality it was. I learned that our government & elected officials, along with the media, cannot be trusted with the lives of our service men & women. I learned first hand that the Cold War was a very real & deadly war regardless of what the libs said, then or now.
I worked intel in a several capacities, often behind multiple cypher locked doors & armed guards. I knew there were very good reasons for both. Isolated duty meant that we were our own fire, sabotage alert, bomb threat & defense force. Even the “topside” troops would not be able to help us in a crisis because they couldn’t be permitted into the building & any aid was always at least 5 hours away by chopper.
However, even then, I still believed what my folks had taught me were important. I was an American with a capital “A”. Still, somewhere along the line, I started to become cynical. When I got out, it only got worse. Not just because I was slowly starting to come unhinged but because I ran into people all over hell’s half-acre that couldn’t & wouldn’t read or think for themselves. They had their hands out expecting the “guvmint” to solve all their problems. They certainly couldn’t be bothered to inform themselves about such an arcane subject as politics. Not when they had computers, cell phones & designer duds to buy & honest work to avoid. To me, those who won’t are the worst & possibly subhuman. The truly stupid have some excuse; the lazy & serenely ignorant have none at all.
So I got to wondering how we got this way. I’m not talking about political corruption; like “the poor,” who have always been with us & always will be. I’ve said before that I would vote for a “business politician” with a clear conscience, knowing that he is corrupt, over a “reform politician” every time. They’re both corrupt but a business politician stays bought. He only sells his soul once per issue because he knows that his word is all he has to sell & if he breaks it folks will stop buying.
A reform politician has, first & foremost, conned himself & honestly believes he wants to help the “dear peepul” bless their precious, rancid, black hearts. He is bought & paid for but he will sell his soul & break his word 5 times before breakfast if someone convinces him that it is “for the good of the people.” That’s why he has assorted flunkies to do his dirty work & fall on their swords if they get caught. What’s scary is that he may not even be aware it. It doesn’t matter what party either belongs to, although most reformers tend to fall on the liberal side of the bell curve.
I wonder when good, responsible, ethical politics & politicians became fictional characters. Why a well-crafted show about such politics & people, that won a truck load of Emmy’s is relegated to one channel & only broadcast in the wee small hours. Think about it, there are a half-dozen channels that are still running MASH & Dark Shadows reruns. The TV gods know that people watched it (in droves) & would again but still it took 3 years to even show up opposite Mother Angelica & the infomercials.
Sure, they “saved the world” & “slayed their share of dragons” but they also showed the cost of doing so. They even went so far as to show that sometimes the dragon wins & eats its share of Saint Georges.
All I can figure is that someone is afraid to remind us that there’s an alternative to dishonest & incompetent career politicians. As Bill Cobsy has said more than once to his kids; “I brought you into this world & I can take you out.” I guess someone doesn’t want the public to remember “We put you into office & we can take you out.” So, as much as I’m able, I am going to try to prove Sam Clemens wrong; I’m not just going to bitch about politics, I’m gonna to do something about it.
Like I said; “Think about it.” Really.