Another political post.
“Life … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
There’s no one to vote for.
I think the first political conversation I remember hearing was between my mom and dad. We were driving from the Yankee Doodle restaurant, a local burger place, to Radio Shack in my dad’s old blue Dodge Dart.
Dad had a blue Dart, and Mom had a white one.
They also had the same birthday.
I grew up thinking that people whose parents were distinctly different were kind of weird.
But anyway, we’d just had dinner, and we were off to Radio Shack. We’d go there pretty often, since my dad owned a TRS-80, the first commercially available home computer. Yeah, the Apple was “released” earlier, and Dad thought about it, but it would be another year before it was really available, and I guess he didn’t want to wait.
And he and my mom were talking about Reagan, the man running for president against Jimmy Carter. The didn’t like him much, I remember Mom saying he was way too old, and Dad saying that perhaps the best thing they could hope for was for him to die in office and leave the job to the vice president, but the thing that I hitched onto with my nine-year old mind was the phrase “hold your nose and vote.”
I piped up from the back seat of the rusty old Dart, asking my dad what he meant by that, and he told me that sometimes there’s no one running that you really like. Sometimes you just have to look at the guy they’re running against, and decide which one will be less bad. That both of them smell, but once you’ve figured out which one smells worse, you just have to hold your nose and vote for the other guy.
The best etymology for the phrase that I can find is the idea of a “clothespin vote”, which apparently dates back to 1954, so I’m sure everyone is familiar with the idea. William Safire defines it as a mark of maturity, realizing and accepting that you can’t always get what you want in a candidate.
But I’m done.
Yes, I know. Politics is the art of the possible, deals need to be cut, promises need to be broken, and we need to elect the people that we trust to make the best deals possible, to have promises that are pawns to be sacrificed, and promises that are the hills that they will live and die on, in some cases literally.
But I’ve spent my whole life voting against. Over the years, my perceptions and ideologies have changed, so I can’t defend all the votes that I’ve cast, but I have almost always voted against, not for. Obama’s first term probably qualifies as an exception, but the combination of George W. Bush’s presidency and the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. McCain’s running mate would have given practically anyone the Democrats nominated my “against” vote.
The current election campaign is to the point that most everyone who isn’t a diehard supporter of Mr. Trump would probably agree to vote for Gov. Romney just to keep the man from Manhattan out of the Oval Office.
And if push came to shove, I think that group would include Sec. Clinton.
And I’m tired. I’m tired of voting against, and I don’t really believe that anyone who I can be persuaded to vote for can do any good anymore. I’ve got liberal friends who have grown to absolutely loathe Pres. Obama for his support of Wall Street and his escalation of the drone war against the world, to name the two biggies, but I just don’t know anymore. I still think that he’s a good man doing his best at an impossible job, and there’s the problem.
I don’t think there’s anyone I could vote for who would do any better.
Back when I was a jarhead, I wrote a little comic bit about the company gunny’s chair. In my unit, the company gunny was the guy who was in charge of bringing the bad news from the officers to the troops. He was the guy who’d tell you you had to work late, or on Saturday, or that you were going to be punished for something that your idiot roommate did because, as they say, reasons. And I made up this little bit about the chair at his desk. I said that it had an invisible spike on it, a spike with barbs, coming right out of the center of the seat, that slid right up the man’s ass the first time he sat down in it. Now, Marines have a joke about getting “fucked by the Big Green Weenie” anytime the Corps inflicts something unpleasant on them, and senior Marines tend to joke about having been fucked so many times that a taxi could drive right up their assholes, with the doors open, and they wouldn’t feel it, so I supposed that when the spike slid up his ass, the new company gunny wouldn’t notice.
He’d just sit there, doing his job, passing down word from on high to the troops.
But the first time he saw that something the officers were up to was unjust, or improper, or just flat-out fucked, he’d be a good guy, and try to stand up for his men.
And that’s when he’d discover that the barbs on the spike had hooked into his tailbone.
He’d stand up all right, but his spine would be ripped out of his body through his backside, leaving nothing but a spineless, gaping asshole.
Yeah, that was the punchline.
But the reality was, being the bad guy was literally the primary job of the company gunny. If the troops liked him, he was probably not doing what he was supposed to. The promotion was a poisoned cup; take the advancement, lose the respect of your juniors.
That’s middle management in the Marine Corps, but the American presidency is the One Ring of Sauron. As long as we want to use twenty-five percent of the world’s resources, have a thousand bases ringing the world, and feel that we should have more say in every country’s affairs than not only their neighbors, but their own citizens, anyone who become President of the United States will either be corrupted or destroyed by the simple fact of holding the job. No matter how clean the campaign, no matter how honest the candidate, they’re going to lose, be it in the primaries, the general election, or the Oval Office itself. The country is already an oligarchy, there’s no way anyone will be allowed to force through real change, no matter how sincere they are or how many small donors they get.
There’s no more hope, I’m done.