Our system of representative democracy is not
perfect but it seems to limp along better than other systems in
spite of what we do to it. Public service should be an honor bestowed
upon those who have proven themselves worthy and competent. After
a successful career in some useful field, a man should be willing
to represent his neighbors at the seat of government. At least
that is the way I see public service. It is quite obvious that
others see it differently.
Many see it as a career path to fame and fortune.
To them it is a job like any other, but with a little less job
security. They jump into politics in their twenties and get themselves
elected to some job or another as soon as possible. Their experience
comes from on the job training, and that training is limited to
the mechanics of legislation and learning how to keep their jobs.
Any knowledge they may have of what is best for the citizenry
has been given to them by someone else, and comes with all the
opinions and prejudices of that someone else. It has not been
gained by personal experience. When, and if, personal experience
finally does impart that sort of knowledge, the recipient may
be so deeply entwined in activity of a contrary nature that knowing
what is right will do nothing more than impart a little guilt.
A great many politicians seem to see demagoguery
as the path to success and job security. If one can make his constituents
feel victimized and envious of other members of society, he can
usually keep his job by promising that he will somehow punish
the offending others. If you dropped out of school at 17, after
having disrupted eighth and ninth grade classes for a total of
four years, the school system has obviously failed you. It was
not your choice to hang out with a street gang and go to school
a little high on marijuana that resulted in your lack of education
and inability to get a job paying in the high six figure range.
Your troubles are the fault of that snooty Miss Jackson who was
always picking on you in class and complaining about your not
doing your homework. That’s why you’re not successful;
and if you vote for Representative Baguewind he’ll right
the wrong. He’ll get you a monthly check.
If you had a good paying job in the building
trades, went to Florida for four weeks every winter, owned a twenty
foot speedboat, traded in your top of the line pickup every three
years, and never saved a dime, you probably find it hard to get
by on a social security check. You probably find it particularly
annoying that the Meekleys down the street have a summer home
in Massachusetts and a winter home in Arizona, with a pool. That
damned Meekley never made as much money as you did, and he used
to be the butt of the jokes of you and all your cool friends.
What a dull bastard that Meekley was. Why should he be living
so well when you always have a little month left over at the end
of your social security money? Vote for Representative Baguewind
and he’ll make sure that Meekley’s retirement income
is well taxed and your social security benefit is enlarged.
If we let the demagogues buy our votes with our
own tax money we deserve what we get. They make a comfortable
living sitting, as Al Capp said, “on their thigh bones.”
Meanwhile a great number of citizens become dependent upon the
government (and beholden to the Hon. Baguewind) for their subsistence,
class hatred thrives as those on the receiving end of the government’s
largesse build up envy and those on the paying end build contempt.
As the government sucks ever more blood from the economy, business
slows down and hard times are upon us. Representative Bagewind
will step in to help the downtrodden by imposing rent control.
We have to keep the evil landlords in line. The evil landlords,
meanwhile, are discovering that inflation has pushed the cost
of building maintenance outside the rent envelope. Attempts to
sell properties are futile. New landlords would have the same
problem, and the government won’t let the buildings be torn
down. Buildings are abandoned. Welcome to the south Bronx. Through
it all Representative Baguewind keeps getting reelected and living
comfortably in his townhouse in the middle of Georgetown. What
a good job he’s doing. He gets interviewed on Sunday television
and is widely respected for his championship of the poor and the
marginalized. What a guy, eh?