Monday, March 12, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When I first started writing columns for the Progress-Argus,  I wrote about things that were political in nature. Not because I like politics and am obsessed with the subject, because I do not,  and I am not.  In fact, it seems that politics have that less than laudatory ability to bring out the very worst in people.  I wrote about politics because balance was needed to counter a columnist whose viewpoint was  very hardcore conservative, and the paper was trying to change their image, an effort that has paid off in a better balance of thoughts, ideas and opinions.  When that columnist left, I was urged to write about more general topics, things that I found interesting.  For example, last year’s walk across the United States, where I met so many people of all ideologies and backgrounds that I have a memory storehouse full of some wild and wacky tales, as well as some ugly stuff.
But nothing I saw on the road, the devastation  in Joplin included, was as ugly as what is going in this country right now.  A parade of suits are all marching down the electoral runway in hopes of getting chosen as the nominee for the upcoming presidential election. Each suit, with one notable exception, has a hopeful candidate who is willing to stoop almost as low as a human being can stoop to dig up dirt on the others. Or, they pay their hired guns to run ads that are just repulsive in nature. It is ugly, and it is making this country look like the laughing stock of the world at a time when our image is already in a state of flux.
I’m not here to debate anyone about whether I think the president is doing a good job (I do, given what he has had to work with) or whether his likely opponent would do a good job if he is elected ( I have no idea) but I will say that the entire process is reaching critical mass and if the vile rhetoric does not stop soon, or calm down, there may well be a meltdown.  You can’t parade clowns around and call them dramatic actors.  Apparently the human ego is so overwhelmingly strong that it also adds blinders, which prevent those who are acting so foolishly in their pursuit of the highest office in the land that they cannot see how foolish they look.
Whether it is trying to legislate things like women’s reproductive rights, or contraception (who in their logical mind would have thought that contraception would be a political hot topic in the year 2012? What’s next—repealing the Emancipation Proclamation?) or still insisting that we have a president who was born on another continent, it is all too much.  We are supposed to move forward, not backward.
Josh Joffen, a songwriter I know, once wrote a song about politics, but instead of his characters wearing suits, they lived in the trees and ate bananas.  Here are a couple of lines…
“Off in the distance, what’s that I hear? Could it be this is an election year? There’s fussing and fighting, scratching and biting, all around the country the fur is flying. Monkey see, monkey do. I am a better monkey than you.  Let's have us an election and when we're through,  we'll see who gets the biggest banana.”
Sound familiar?

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