I picked up a book today from the “bargain books” table at the local grocery store… the first paragraph reads as follows:
“An enterprising researcher explored in 2005 the backgrounds of a highly selective and well-publicized group. He found that 36 had been accused of spousal abuse; 7 had been arrested for fraud; 19 had been accused of writing bad checks; 117 had directly or indirectly bankrupted at least two businesses; 3 had done time for assault; 71 could not get a credit card because of bad credit; 14 had been arrested on drug-related charges; 8 had been arrested for shoplifting; 21 were current defendants in lawsuits; and 84 had been arrested for drunk driving in the prior year.
No, the data did not relate to the 350 players in the National Basketball Association, but to our 535 elected representatives in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.”
Angry constituent: “Congressman Smith is a liar, a thief, a womanizer, and irresponsibly lazy.”
Political insider: “Quite so. There are millions like him and they deserve representation.”
The book is Called Heroes, Hacks & Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside by Ted Van Dyk. I have no idea if it’s any good. I don’t even know if I’m going to agree with the expressed viewpoint. I haven’t gotten past the first chapter. But I did like the first paragraph. It makes a good point. And I’m not talking about the obvious one here – I’m sure that we’re all well aware that politicians, in general, are corrupt, lying sons-of-bitches. But perhaps that’s the point… They are, after all, supposed to be a relatively accurate representation of the constituency… So, given the percentage of crooks and liars out here in the “real world” – is it such a surprise that some of the men and women who we elect to represent us are also crooks and liars? That then begs the question: Well, don’t the assholes deserve equal representation? Isn’t that sort of the idea of a republic? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not making the argument that we should embrace the sneaky, scandalous motherchuckers… I’m just sayin’ – They’re only as good as the people who elect them. To expect more from them than that is to reach too high… Going forward with this vein of thought, then… the only way to make a real actual change (not the Obama kind) in our government is to start by first making that change in the constituency. If we expect our government to work together and make constitutionally sound decisions – then we, as the electors, must start working together, ourselves. The percentage of Americans who consider themselves to be politically “moderate” centrists is shrinking at a rapid pace. People are leaning farther and farther to one side or the other, becoming less and less willing to make compromises. Our inability to put our heads together, to work towards a common goal… to sit down at a table and look at the arsehole on the other side and say “Okay, here’s our problem… what are we going to do to solve it?” – it is this inability that is killing our nation. There was a second there, after 9/11, when the vast majority of Americans were on the same page… It may not have been the right page – the jury’s still out on that one – but for the most part, united we stood. And then it all went to hell. Once upon a time – a group of men from all different political backgrounds, with different ambitions and different viewpoints, worked together to do something absolutely crazy… They staged a revolution. They gave the King of England the middle finger… And our great nation was born. They didn’t all agree – our Founding Fathers. Some of them didn’t agree on anything, much less whether or not to revolt… but they had the good sense to see what their realistic options were, and they worked together to make something happen. Imagine what would have happened if they’d just argued incessantly about whether or not dissent was patriotic… Recently, on some radio show or other, Lucky made the point that the Libertarian Party may be the essential “meeting point”, so to speak, of the left and the right… (all apologies if I misrepresent your words here, good sir…) I, for one, think that he’s right. Libertarian candidates receive support from both sides of the isle. Republicans generally agree with half of what they say – and the Democrats agree with the other half. So perhaps it’s time we start backing the right horse – the Libertarian one. Anyway – my point is – no, we don’t have to get all “Kumbaya motherfuckers”… However, it would be in our best interests to try to find a middle ground – even if we don’t always like it. After all – in the words of the Rolling Stones – “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find – you get what you need.”