Monday, September 22, 2014

The Case For Negative Campaigning

Next to having pundits and politicians urging uninformed, uninterested, couch potatoes to get out and vote, nothing during election years ticks me off quite as much as listening to birdbrains groan on about negative campaigning.

I have no idea how it got started or who started it, but I suspect it was some political weasel who had mastered the art of taking and concealing bribes, and who resented the opposition candidate going public with the news. After all, none of us can keep track of everything our representatives do or even how they vote. The one good thing about elections is that the people who have the most to gain by filling in the blank spots finally have our undivided attention.

Besides, politicians, whatever else they may be, are people too, and people are far likelier to tell the truth about others than they are about themselves.

That isn’t meant to suggest I approve of lying. It does mean I want to know the very worst about those seeking my vote. And if lies are being told, I want to know about that, too, and I don’t condemn those in the best position to tell me.

If anything, I tend to distrust so-called positive campaigning, which takes the form of making promises that most of the time the candidate is in no position to fulfill. For instance, if a Republican vows to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, he may have good intentions, but until Obama packs up and moves back to Chicago, it remains nothing more than a sales promotion without a money-back guarantee.

Someone wrote to me recently, promoting the notion of term limits. I understood his argument, I simply disagreed. If people wish to keep voting for the same rascals, I figure that’s their inalienable right. Besides, as I wrote back to those who wished to share their jubilation upon hearing that Henry Waxman was finally retiring from the House, who did they think would replace him? Inasmuch as the voters in California’s 33rd Congressional District had been re-electing Waxman for the past 40 years, the 33rd obviously has more idiots per square mile than Holland has tulips. There are three things I can safely say, sight unseen, about the person who’ll be taking over. He or she will be younger than Waxman, be equally boneheaded when it comes to the issues and have much smaller nostrils.

Another reader wrote, wondering why, by and large, politics attracts such a mediocre group of people. “It can hardly be otherwise,” I responded, “because most rational human beings prefer to pursue a career where people who tend to be uninformed or misinformed don’t get to decide every two, four or six years, if you get to keep your job. On top of that, even if you manage to win your election, you will then have to go to work every day and try to get along with a bunch of slack-jawed ignoramuses like Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Patty Murray, Al Franken and Elijah Cummings.

Worse yet, you might have to put up with the self-righteous racist, Eric Holder, whom that other self-righteous racist, Barack Obama, put in charge of the Justice Department.

It was bad enough when Holder refused to indict the New Black Panthers for intimidating white voters in Philadelphia, but it only got worse when he decided that under his watch only whites would ever be indicted and tried for race crimes. And no matter how often America has seen black thugs attack white cops and white civilians for no other reason than their race, Holder has remained steadfast.

Because of the power Holder wields, not even the usual suspects, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright, can count themselves as true contenders for the title when it comes to being the Biggest Racist in America.

From opening day, Holder has chided white America for being too cowardly to have a conversation about race. But Holder is in no position to cast stones because he refuses to acknowledge that when the great majority of white Americans show antipathy to blacks, it has nothing to do with pigmentation, everything to do with values or, as Martin Luther King put it, character.

It so happens white Americans have no problem distinguishing between good people and bad, readily able, unlike Holder, to distinguish between the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Jayson Riley, Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Star Parker and Thomas Sowell and street thugs like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

It may come as a bolt from the blue to Holder, who views the world through ebony-colored glasses, but most white people have little or no use for white people who don’t even bother graduating from high school; who deal or use illegal drugs; who accept welfare as a legitimate life style; who don’t bother getting married before having babies; who don’t take responsibility for their crimes, preferring to blame others or simply circumstances for murder, rape and robbery.

If we abhor such behavior in whites, Mr. Holder, why on earth should we accept or excuse it when it comes to blacks? You keep telling us that whites are too cowardly to have an honest conversation about race. If you mean we don’t want to be lectured to by an attorney general who has lost sight of what justice is or why Lady Justice is always pictured wearing a blindfold, you’re right. But if you want to have a debate, name the time and place. I’m locked and loaded.

Finally, I long ago decided that senior moments only meant that our older heads are so filled with names, facts, dates and memories that it just keeps getting harder and harder to sift through everything as quickly as we once did, when we were younger and knew so much less. And now I’m happy to report that scientific researchers have finally come to the same conclusion. It only takes them longer because, one, they lack my intuitive powers and, two, they wouldn’t get paid if they skipped past all the boring stuff.

But this normal condition should obviously not be confused with the tragedy of Alzheimer’s. Those poor souls don’t suffer from having an over-stuffed attic, but from having the remains of an attic in which some unknown villain has lobbed a hand grenade.

Still, the next time you find yourself standing in a room, unsure whether you’re there to pick something up or lay something down, think about poor Methuselah and consider yourself lucky. Rumor has it he made it all the way to his 969th birthday. Imagine what it must have been like for him, spending nearly nine hundred years trying to remember where the heck he left his keys.

©2014 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?