Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Home Truths Part 3: Doughnuts And Holes

     Please don’t expect a lot from me this morning. I’m in the grip of something that seems to have drained all the blood out of me. Mind you, at my age I don’t expect to get out of bed feeling like Hercules, but I’m used to having enough clarity and energy to pen one of these screeds before I set to the day’s necessities. I guess we’ll see how this one goes.

     Our third home truth is one you’ve heard innumerable times, just like the others I’ve prattled about. The great wonder of our time is how we could have accumulated so much evidence of its significance and still manage to ignore it at least half the time. But then, we ignore quite a lot of the wisdom our forebears have bequeathed to us...because things are different and we know better now, right? Right?

     Politics is a marvelous framework within which to study the many varieties of human perfidy. At any given time one can find examples of every imaginable species of cowardice, double-dealing, betrayal, and outright villainy simply by peering into the halls of Congress. The Twenty-First Century is proving to be a fertile field for such things, not that that should please anyone other than a commentator looking for something to write about.

     Recently I was charmed to learn that one of the most vociferous opponents of President Trump’s border control agenda, the Dishonorable Chuck Schumer, had expressed sentiments virtually identical to Trump’s campaign promises as far back as 2006. Back then, of course, the president was George W. Bush, a Republican who favored an essentially open border and lax (if any) enforcement of visa and permanent-residence laws. As the Democrats had already made it a tenet of their party strategy to oppose the Republicans on every issue, regardless of the merits, that was the position approved by the party’s planners and kingmakers.

     President Trump being an advocate of a firmly controlled border, Schumer has “flipped” to a position contrary to the one he expressed during the Bush the Younger years. Apparently border control mattered twelve years ago; today, not so much. Which position expresses Schumer’s true sentiments about border control? Either? Neither? Both? Your Curmudgeon reports; you decide.

     Democrats and complete reversals in their positions are a well known phenomenon. Remember John Kerry? Remember how Barack Hussein Obama “evolved” on same-sex marriage, after his ringing presidential campaign endorsement of traditional marriage? More recently, how about Hillary Clinton’s reversal on the credibility of women who accuse men of sexual abuse? How about her transformation of Russia from a partner worthy of twenty percent of America’s uranium supply to the greatest imaginable menace to the soundness of our “democracy?”

     (Yes, there are Republicans who are almost as bad. Happily, there aren’t nearly as many.)

     For anyone with a functioning memory, these reversals should be giveaways. The position expressed by a prominent Democrat is seldom chosen for any but a purely tactical reason. Yet roughly half the country still aligns itself with the Democrats at each election. Political insincerity must be more attractive than one would think. Either that, or the influences I wrote about a few days ago motivate the private citizen just as powerfully as any member of the political class.

     Fatigue and pain are catching up with me, so I’m going to round this off quickly. I have a saying I like to call the Curmudgeon’s Carbohydrate Aphorism:

Keep thine eye fixed upon the doughnut, lest thou pass unaware through the hole.

     There are appearances, and there are underlying realities. In contemporary political interplay, the appearances are unreliable. They’re more likely to mislead than to edify. This is particularly true of the verbal behavior of politicians. What they say is intended to persuade you, not to inform you. In that regard their statements have a lot in common with a stage magician’s sleight of hand: where he wants you to look is not “where the action is.”

     Which brings us to our home truth for today:

Ignore what they say.
Watch what they do.

     Alternately, “Actions speak louder than words.” A man’s true agenda will be most reliably expressed by his deeds, not his words. Haven’t we known the truth of that for centuries? Wouldn’t it be nice if American voters would make use of it when assessing the reliability and sincerity of office-seekers and their cheerleaders? When will they get tired of voting for miscreants who repeatedly promise them a doughnut yet lead them, bewildered and un-nourished, through the hole?

     Of course, I could make another pitch for the perennially condemned yet entirely viable alternative to this madness, but that would be too...something.

1 comment:

Jones - Texas said...

As my grandfather told me many years ago..

" It's all about sincerity,
once you can fake that, you've got it made."