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?