Influences affecting your outlook on life can come from nearly anyplace or anyone if you keep your ear tuned. Several of mine come from that great philosopher Popeye. You know, the sailor guy. “I yam what I yam” is pretty deep stuff if you think about it.
Another of his gems of wisdom currently describes my thinking about our nation’s political struggles. “That’s all I can stands. I can stands no more.” From Main Street Douglas County and “sea to shining sea,” the irrational, the outrageous, the stupid and the ignorant “discourse” has risen in my ears to the limits expressed by that famous sage. “I can stands no more!”
I was reading an article entitled “Eight dumb things Americans believe.” Things like President Obama wasn’t born in this country, he’s really a Muslim, the Bush administration tried to cover up 9/11, etc. Recent polling shows an alarming number of people really believe some dumb stuff.
It’s only a short step from that mental vagrancy to another in my mind: some of the ridiculous rhetoric polluting our political discourse about things that ain’t gonna happen in our lifetimes. Period.
Things like abolishing the 14th and 17th amendments to our Constitution; the ones making children born here American citizens and direct election of the U.S. Senate by the people. Ain’t gonna happen.
Candidate promises to round up all seven million illegal aliens in this country and ship ‘em back to Mexico. As if there aren’t illegal Canadians, Germans, French and Botswana aliens. Millions of ‘em. How would you do it? What would it cost? Ain’t gonna happen.
Unqualified office seekers promising to abolish the federal Department of Education, get us out of the United Nations, return our economic base to the gold standard, allow us to pay our taxes with gold and silver bars, cut Medicaid and abolish Medicare. All together now: “Ain’t gonna happen.”
The most outrageous but seriously promised by some is to reduce or end Social Security or, at the very least, privatize it and invest in the stock markets. The average mind boggles to think any candidate who seriously runs on that idea owns a car and is driving on our highways.
In my extended years, we’ve had wars, economic up and down times, national struggles about this-that-and-the-other, high crime problems, protests about dozens of issues and all sorts of upheavals. But no other economic calamity has damaged the lives of so many Americans since the Great Depression as all of us are experiencing right now. No period in our last 70 years has so demanded competent leadership and experienced decision-making for each of us.
So what are we getting? What are we hearing? We’re getting far too many candidates running on empty, worthless and idiotic platforms that, if elected, would add to our national damages. We’re hearing ignorance about how our government operates under our laws and the founding documents. We’re being promised dumb things that ain’t gonna happen.
I’m a registered Independent. I’m one of those “swing voters” you hear so much about. I’m in that majority of voters that cling to no party and, most of the time, I sum up my distrust of both with the time-honored phrase “a pox on both their houses.” There is some good in each; there is some bad. But there is not enough value to attract my membership.
If national Democrats continue to be gutless and incapable of the leadership they were accorded at the polls in 2008, they don’t deserve a renewed contract. If Republicans are going to stand by while a confused, angry and scared minority runs their party off a cliff, they don’t deserve the “keys to the kingdom,” either.
If I needed an operation to save my life, I wouldn’t hand the scalpel to a guy off the street without a day’s experience in the operating room. If I were to charter an airplane, I wouldn’t ask a bus driver to “give it a try.”
So, in this time of great national requirement to have experienced, intelligent, well-grounded people making crucial decisions that will affect each of us for generations, why should we give that great responsibility to anyone who espouses or advocates any of the above? Why would any of us pollute the national dialogue and waste valuable time by electing anyone who thinks these are the solutions to our seemingly intractable issues?
In our house, it ain’t gonna happen! How about yours?