American politicians put the "pain" back in campaigning
For the longest time I thought that Kenny Rogers song was about laundry. I mean, you gotta’ know when to fold ‘em, know when to hold ‘em. You gotta’ know when to walk away, and know when to run.
If those lyrics aren’t about socks, underwear, ripped-to-shreds T-shirts and blue jeans covered in sawdust, caustic paint-strippers and paw prints then I don’t know what is. There are days when I just don’t want to do laundry. Hell, there are weeks when I don’t want to do laundry. There are days and weeks when I don’t.
Living alone, and rarely seeing people other than my pups Jack and Hugo, this operational method makes perfect sense. It’s not that I live in squalor; I checked my ethical and moral beliefs the other day and discovered that I am firmly opposed to squalor. That’s probably a position that both the current US President and the horde of Republican candidates should appropriate. It’s safe, it says nothing and hardly anyone would be strongly opposed to such a stance.
Speaking of which, this whole political process is quite amusing. As many of you know (and as quite a few of you don’t) for about a decade I was quite the political animal. I wrote about it, ranted about it and was a regular columnist in enough newspapers that my readership was frighteningly large and widespread. I knew I had made it when I started getting phone calls and letters from senators, reps, governors and the like. I was somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun . . . something that irritated most of my editors to no end (as 99% of them were somewhere to the left of Karl Marx).
And then, inexplicably and slowly, my interest waned. I quit writing about the stuff, quit caring about the stuff. I realized it was all a stupid game played by stupid people (or, if not stupid people, the sort of gene-spliced humans who had a rather large strand of weasel DNA bopping around in their genetic make-up). It really should not be a surprise that we have such incompetent leaders, because anyone smart enough to run for higher office is smart enough not to run for higher office.
I’ve identified several characteristics inherent to the type of person who wants to seek out and campaign for one of the chairs at the big table. None of them are especially pleasant.
1: You must have the personality and temperament of a used-car salesman. Moreover, it’s not good enough to be a mild-mannered used car salesman who simply wants to sell you a semi-functional Ford truck, go home, eat some chicken and watch Jeopardy. It is imperative that you possess the traits of the sales weasel who will pester you for days on end.
In short . . . if you’re going to run for any state or federal seat you must be a stalker. For best results you should have probably been convicted of stalking . . . twice. It’s all about credibility.
2: Telling people what to do, sticking your nose in their insignificant business, is muy importante for those who wish to wield the reins of power. You must be a complete and absolute control freak. Almost everyone was, at one time or another, acquainted with an elementary school teacher who hovered over your little desk and berated you because your penmanship looked less like John Hancock calligraphy and more like cuneiform bird-scratches. This teacher was insistent you follow all the rules – an oblong pink eraser was okay but a Frito Bandito eraser on the end of your jumbo-diameter pencil was both a crime against humanity and a mortal sin.