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The Village Idiot

'Tis the season of the liars

Jack Deatherage, Jr.

Fool Ďem all, fool Ďem all,
Fa la la la, la la la la

(Sept, 2010) Let the election campaign season begin!

Incumbents are suddenly bragging about all theyíve done for me (I hear their words as "to me".) Their opponents, often with nothing to stand on, start out telling me what they can do for me (I hear "to me") and end up telling me how horrible the incumbent is and how theyíll be so much better once I help put them into an office, like I havenít heard that election year after election year. Supporters of all candidates will soon be telling me how brilliant I am for considering their favorite (that changes to "what an idiot you are" after they find out I voted for that "other one"). Half-truths, lies by omission and outright lies are the order of the next few months.

Billions of dollars (collectively) are being raised by candidates while each accuses the other of being in the pockets of Big Business, or Special Interests. (For some odd reason Iíve never voted for anyone because of the amount of money they raised, or because of the ads they were able to run).

Campaign signs spring like inedible, grotesque mushrooms along roadways and in yards. Campaign ads begin playing on the radio and television. Newspaper letters-to-the-editor sections fill with apologistís prose proclaiming each campaignerís qualities, while election guides appear to help the confounded voters figure out whoís a D or an R. Some candidates will fill pages with their reasons for wanting to join the parasitical (excuse me) the political class while others will robo-call our phone number until I donít even bother to listen to the messages on the answering machine. My mail box will soon be half full of campaign brochures, a welcome relief from mass market ads and credit card applications (Iíll toss the brochures unread and unshred, as opposed to the CC applications that are also unread, but have to be shredded.) And the most politically unaware voters are nudged into wakefulness, barely.

The first election of this season is the one Iíll agonize over. As a party line voter, the primary is my only chance to select the people I think will do the best job for me. That requires my putting some effort into learning the backgrounds of each person seeking my vote. The radio is my "every day" resource; local and national "talk radio" programs. (There is a federal government employee radio station that is an eye opener, whoíd have guessed there are so many federal employees that they need their own radio station) ? Searchable on-line versions of newspapers come in handy to check what I hear on the radio.

I used to attend "meet the candidates" events, but learned quickly that I simply donít like politicians. More to the point, I donít like people when they shift into political mode. The plasticity of their political being disgusts me. I want to yell at them, "Be who you are! Not who you think I want you to be!" i.e., a Republican candidate showed up at a conservation club event wearing a suit topped with a white cowboy hat and finished with a pair of brand new cowboy boots. A well-known and respected Democrat whispered to him that his get up was appropriate "with this crowd." (Iíve not seen a club member wearing cowboy anything in the years Iíve been a member). Having already dismissed the Republican as a condescending poser, I followed the Democrat around and got an education in how the political class thinks of the voters, or at least how they talk among themselves about us.

Another source I listen to are people I respect who actually have a use for politicians. People who have to deal with the elected on a regular basis. Oddly, I get information that is as useful from people who tend to vote opposite my own choices.

While I made up my mind about some candidates months ago Iím still struggling with many of the names Iím not familiar with. Iím hoping the pages the editor added to this monthís ENJ, for candidate rhetoric, arenít filled with the usual "blah blah blah". Even if they are, Iíll get some hint of the person seeking my vote. I have no expectation of finding even one candidate I want to vote for. Hopefully, reading the words of the seekers themselves will give me some clue as to who and what they are.

The general election will be a walk through, though the retching Iíll do after casting my ballot is seldom pleasant.

Read other articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.