The other day I heard a politician say to his rival, "If you'll stop telling lies about me, I'll stop telling the truth about you."
I don't know about you, but some of the folks at my last Rotary meeting were saying they are getting really tired of the way politics have drifted. The political season is interminable, kinda like the battle of the sexes. When one of the couple insists on getting in the last word, the next word after that is the beginning of a new argument.
We have always known about political liars — that issue started with the opening speech of the first campaign in which Cain and Abel were running for "Favorite Son" status. You know how that started and how it ended.
Our campaign season that started with FDR in the early 1930s is still in full swing. The hard part for me is to believe there are indeed people who will vote for folks they know to be dedicated liars ... twice, for that matter. (Or, as in Chicago: Twenty times, sometimes even after those voters have been pushing up daisies for two political terms.)
One big Hollywood political donor stopped contributing to a campaign a while back just because his candidate was able to come up with one bald-faced lie after another so blatantly, it was an embarrassment. It's kinda like saying, "I don't mind you having b.o., but when it burns my eyes, that's too much."
Nowadays, cronyism has become a really big part of the campaign season (which is fully as long as a term of the office in question). There is no lie too obvious to not pass along if the top liar said it first. It was kind of like having one speaker stumble onto a new word and then have the rest of the flock repeat it interminably; the word "gravitas" springs to mind. Even such brilliant politicians as Barbie Boxer were slinging it around thinking it meant "Dick Cheney."
I thought I would Google "honest politicians" and my computer caught fire. (Just kidding, but it seemed too hot to touch nonetheless.)
The political "honesty" favorites seem to still be George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I will admit, when I did put in the names on the computer of some politicos, I swear I heard a satirical chuckle come out of the computer speakers ... in stereo.
I looked up some of the major contemporary culprits and feel loathe to tell you who some of the worst ones are. We had a congressman, John Baldwin in Rio Vista in the '50s, who had a perfect attendance record. At the same time, New York had good old Adam Clayton Powell, who also had a perfect record — he was never there.
There are two ways to look at that. If they are not there, they are not spending money — and that can be a very good thing.
The California Legislature has initiated an interesting phenomenon. If you note some of the bills our present group is passing, and you walk through a cemetery where some of our former solons are buried using your smartphone, you can hear a whirring sound emanating out of the ground as they spin in their graves. They used to simply turn over, but them days are over.
Years ago, a nationwide survey was taken to determine what the least-respected professions were. Not much has changed, since right now the least-revered are used car salesmen and politicians. Congress has a 4 percent rating in some surveys. The word is, "Yes, I know he's a (blankity-blank), but he's our (blankity-blank)." (Sorry about mentioning the used car salesmen in this connection; I didn't mean to sully their reputations.)
Of the dumbest things we, the public, ever did was give the politicians two gigantic things: Too much power, and the keys to the treasury. Since there is a history with politicians that goes back to beginning of politics, we shoulda known better. Even Aristotle felt sick to his stomach over that issue.
Putting a fox in charge of the hen house will eventually lead to a shortage of eggs. There has never been an egg shortage of today's magnitude. We haven't enough eggs for a plain cheese omelet.
Bob Bader is responsible for this article. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.