"This happy nation will be better governed for the next weeks than it has been all the rest of the year. There will be no Parliament, no ministers and no permanent heads in London, and everything will go well."
~ On his departure for a holiday, Sir William Harcourt to the Queen’s secretary, September 22, 1893 [A.G. Gardiner, The Life of Sir William Harcourt, London: Constable, 1905, Vol. 2, p 242]
We are all too familiar with the usual flaws in the product: too many noxious fumes, snake oil potions and a lousy service department. We know that the product works for us about half the time… if we’re lucky. The other "half," the product spends lining its pockets. Time to face the fact: Our "elected officials" perform about as well as that anatomical enhancing device from K-Cheat as advertised on late night TV.
I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up! We are not alone. Customer approval is at an all time low. I am beginning to believe that some of the time, these "elected" personages are… to sugar coat it… mentally defective.
Okay, I stand corrected: Most of the time.
Consider some of what "they" believe: a) An acceptable nominee for Attorney General is one who doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture; b) Money grows on trees… trees in China; c) A President who thinks that the best way to prevent Nuclear Armageddon is to… threaten a Nuclear Armageddon.
I mean, is this product even safe? Most people would agree that the things this crowd endorses are hazardous. Time for some good old fashioned ‘Merican litigation! I’m calling the highly recommended law firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe! Unfortunately, they seem to be in the license plate manufacturing business these days. Out come the Yellow Pages; my fingers zip to Product Liability Lawyers. Presto Bingo there’s plenty to pick from. I think I have a strong case. And Philadelphia attorney Andrew J. Stern agrees with me: "It could be a fluke. But, in general, people are much more safety conscious… When jurors have evidence there are defective conditions not being addressed, they have no tolerance."
See, any jury would convict and award substantial damages! Trouble is, they pardon their own.
Read the front page of any major newspaper in the world and immediately the question pops up. What the (vernacular oppressed)!?
And then there’s that little problem of devil worship. In Alaska, one Pillar of Righteousness admitted (boasted?) "I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie. Exxon’s happy. BP’s happy. I’ll sell my soul to the devil." Now we’re talking! I love honesty. Looks like the Prince of Darkness is doing a brisk trade in the halls of government. But the oil companies are happy. That’s nice. I wish I were… don’t you?
Don’t despair little hobbits. We know that our "elected" officials come with an expiration date. And a lot of them are up for renewal before Frodo can get rid of that… that… Precious. So surely they come with some sort of warranty?
It’s time to get out the warranty booklets on the Noble Senators Ignoramus and Moronicus. Like you, I keep those warranties for my "elected officials" someplace "safe," like in the attic with that priceless collection of Garbage Patch Dolls.
What would such a warranty look like? That’s easy. Like the Mission Statement to your kids’ school, it’s the heaviest book of meaningless rhetoric since the 2004 Republican Party Platform. And, a person for whom English is a second… or third… language wrote it.
Oh yes, it’s bound to be packed with hollow promises: three acres and a cow, "he kept us out of war", "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage", "Not just peanuts", "Kinder, gentler nation"… " ‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe." The promises it contains would be as meaningful as the lyrics of a Britney Spears ditty and as truthful as a Richard Nixon speech.
But lookee here! What’s this in small print on the last page (p.1492) of our warranty? Hmm, that teenatchee print sure is hard to read… better get out my son’s stereo-microscope. It’s the instrument of choice used by The Boy to dissect lice. In this case, it seems a highly appropriate device.
"Warranty valid only to purchaser of elected official. Void in the cases of constituent voters… SUCKER!"
Oh… I get it. One has to buy off one’s "elected official" to get results. Well, now that explains it all! We don’t mean jack (vernacular flushed for sanitary reasons). Well now that really chaps my hide! These things are more worthless than that mountain of Billy Beer cans!
Unless you have your receipt, it is impossible to get service or to attempt to return the defective product.
Hey, what about your IRS returns? Those ought to qualify as a receipt!
Armed with ten years of tax records, you try calling customer service… you know… one of those numbers with the Washington DC 202 area code.
Unfortunately, this activity requires great patience. And I don’t know about your experience, but I’ve never been allowed to speak to a human… my little joke… or even a machine, which I expect would record and promptly erase my message of discontent. Wonder why my Congressman doesn’t follow my bank’s example and offshore outsource his constituent relations office to Mumbai?
So far, whenever I dial 1-202-SUC-KERS, all I ever get is an endless tape loop of Somewhere Over the Rainbow… as performed by… and I shudder at the thought… Celine Dion! Over… and over…and over… until in anger I slam down the receiver. It’s not really the one I had intended to leave (it had more… uh… pizzazz), but do you suppose click-buzz qualifies as a message of dissatisfaction?
And what about all those emails you send to your Congressmen? Ever wonder what happens to those? You think they get read? You wanna bet your Beanie Baby collection that your email address is sold to Prince David Solomon in Sierra Leone in order that he and his countrymen can send you stirring letters of solicitation? Hey, maybe that’s where Mrs. Jellyby gets her client list…
Okay, to be fair and balanced, there are the exceptions… that prove the rule. Some decent people slip through the cracks. These would be the ones who’ve actually read the Constitution and adhere to their sworn oath to uphold the document instead of trying to find a way to weasel around it.
You ever wonder why the majority of "elected" officials behave like Zombies on the rampage? I’ll tell you why: they want to turn you off… and uh… devour your intestines. They don’t want you to vote! Aside from big checks from the military industrial complex, voter apathy is the incumbent’s best friend. And, gentle reader, voter apathy is the sole growth industry in the United States of America.
Even before Uncle Scam chops off his annual pound of flesh in taxes, most of us lack the funds to buy insane or corrupt politicians to do our bidding. That means we have little choice but to be vigilant, to educate ourselves and… yes I know it’s frustrating, maybe even fruitless… vote. That is how the system is supposed to work after all. With the utmost respect, I must disagree with Joel Hirschhorn, who makes a mighty seductive argument for abstaining from the polls.
Yes, I know it looks hopeless. But I can’t give that "criminal conspiracy" the satisfaction of my silence. I ain’t no bovine chewing his cud in front of Dancing With The Stars! Boycott an election in protest?! As if corrupt officials care a flying (vernacular shipped C.O.D. to Sen. Feinstein) about protests! That’s a fool’s game. It’s what they want us to do! Not voting in protest is the equivalent of laying one’s head on the railroad tracks. It didn’t work for the Sunnis in the Iraq "elections" of 2004 and it won’t work for us!
To be sure, the Political Yugos will not be eradicated. That would be no fun anyway. However, until there’s no money left in Washington DC, the parasites will flock to the Capitol. But with sufficient voter turnout, we can cull many from the herd of mad cows. Once the replacements are elected, of course, they drink the local water and need to be turned out of office on a frequent basis.
Showing up at the polls may be our only chance to send the defectives back to the factory… in whatever jungle that pittance-a-day-safety-code-violating-sweatshop may be hidden away.
Elizabeth Gyllensvard contributed to and edited this story.