Democrats & Liberals Archives

Boiled and Oiled

I had some corn last night and it was so good that I had to mention it. There are times when the comfort taken from the simplest foods are the only thing that can make us happy. I had that food, one of my favorites since childhood in the company of three of my grandchildren, my wife and my favorite youngest daughter and her husband. These are among the few people out of some six billion on this planet that keep me happy and interested in life. So it seems to be for most of us, the whole world boils down to those who we love the most. So it is for those in Iraq and Palestine and Israel and the USA too.

There is a lot of corn of all kinds being passed around at political events these days; we are in the throes of a presidential election. There are also a lot of mean-spirited attacks on both major party candidates being run as advertisements or news. The level of cruelty and dishonesty that we descend to during these campaigns has gotten worse and worse over my lifetime. It is cruel to demean a person by mocking his speech patterns. It is cruel to mock a man’s integrity and deny his honor after a lifetime of service to his nation. It is dishonest to say that you were there with him and that you know his medals are lies when in fact you never served with him on the same swift boat at all. It is dishonest to deny that any of the things done by this President were done for the benefit of the people of his nation. We are not going to succeed as a nation if we continue to destroy the validity of everyone who ever runs for President in this way.

It is easy to believe a lie, Mark Twain’s quote is much in the news lately, the one about lies and truth. It goes something like this, “A lie will make it around the world before the truth can get its pants on”. That is often true because the carefully discerned truth is usually complex and well told lies are very simple. We all learn early on in life about the need to make lies simple. I lied to my mother many times in my life and she noticed those lies most when they were elaborate and complicated. When I told her a simple lie she would casually reach out her hand and swat me on the mouth. When I told an elaborate lie she would mock me in front of my friends and siblings and then swat me on the mouth. She never tried to remove my teeth with one of those swats, they hurt but they were mostly a reminder of the fact that my mouth was being misused when I lied.

I want to swat the mouths of more than one of the people on TV that I see speaking for both parties today. I think a reality talk show where a little old lady with a fly swatter stands by every “spokesperson” and swats them on the mouth every time they tell a lie would work. My siblings and friends always found my travails entertaining. There would be hundreds of spokespersons vying for a chance to be swatted in public and the ratings of that show would be astronomical, believe me. Nothing would make me happier than to see Ann Coulter and James Carville across from one another being swatted frequently for their comments. The fly swatter is a great leveler of liars and it could really improve the level of discourse in this nation if it were used in this way. When you are washing out your mouth after having been swatted in public it does clarify the difference between a lie and the truth for a short time in even the most recalcitrant minds.

The jobs report was bad this month and the Democrats are rejoicing, but very quietly. The bounce in their step propelled by this bad news is kind of like that of a child that made it out of the kitchen without being assigned a real task; like solving the Medicare funding shortfall. You don’t want your head to pop up too high or you might just get called back and told that your job today is to clean out the outhouse and balance the budget once again. This election is really all about who gets to appoint the next members to the Supreme Court. If the next President stays in office even four years the court could change dramatically. If a Democrat is elected and reelected the eight years could see five justices replaced during that double term. That will change the nature of the court for a long time to come.

Of course no one is clearer on that fact than the Republican majorities in the House and Senate and the current President. The first term was about the war on terror, the second will be about replacing the current court with one that will change the law in a more conservative direction. Of course with one voting age citizen out of thirty two either in prison or on Probation do we need a more severe outlook on justice? I read that astonishing number in the LA Times last week. They quoted a number of adult people somewhere over six million either incarcerated or on probation or parole, isn’t that a dainty dish of blackguards? I think we need to rethink our legal system a little and our drug laws could use some cleaning up too. Crimes that have no victims do not need incarceration so much as treatment in most cases. The drugs themselves are not as bad as the society that keeping drugs illegal engenders. Our society is broken by laws that punish people for misuse of substances less potent than those prescribed every day by doctors for people too old to know better than to take them.

If the numbers quoted above are accurate we no longer have a viable society courtesy of our war on drugs. I shudder to think what a forty year war on terror will bring us if this is the current “successful” result of our forty year war on drugs. I am glad my grandchildren will have to deal with that problem and not me. I want to walk quietly off into my own personal final sunset long before we get to that point. Our candidates for President are trying to out-optimism one another and three percent of our citizens are currently criminals under our existing legal system? What will they be campaigning on when we reach five percent? The euphoria ticket? God bless and take care of our optimists, some think they need a little touch of reality, just a smidgen. ©Henri Reynard/GoldenBrush Interactive

Posted by Henri Reynard at August 10, 2004 12:48 PM