Be careful what you ask for.
A guy walks into a bar and lo and behold there is a perfectly formed man only a foot tall, playing ragtime on a similarly sized piano. The guy asks the bartender for explanation and is told that he had a genie in the back room that can grant people a wish.
“The genie will only grant one wish per person.” The bartender said. “So be careful what you ask for.”
The guy heads back to the genie and asks for “a million bucks.” Immediately, the room is filled to overflowing with a million – ducks!
The irate fellow storms back to the bartender complaining, “What the heck! I asked for a million bucks and your stupid genie gave me a million ducks!”
The bartender replies, “What? Did you think I asked for a twelve inch pianist?”
It is time that I own up to the fact it is my fault that Donald Trump is the President of the United States. I know. I probably wasn’t that high on your list or for that matter, on it at all much less the cause.
But have been lamenting the sorry state of U.S. politics for decades naively wishing for a viable presidential candidate that was “independent” of both dysfunctional political parties and lobbyists. Neither the Democrats nor Republicans represent even their own constituencies well, much less the core of Americans who are moderately liberal or conservative.
The DonKey Familia or EllaFante Familia political bosses were as unassailable as Don Vito Andolini Corleone.
(Can’t you just hear the Godfather’s mother when he was a child? )
“Vito Andolini! Getta inna this house and
clean the blood off of my kitchen floor.”
Sorry if my stab at stereotypical dialect offends you, take a straw.
Oh, sure. The politicos slap fight, throw media tantrums and vie for who can be Mean Girl of the Year. However, their protection racket consists mostly of extorting the huddled masses while in reality only protecting their assigned territory from the other political gang.
It was a tall order. The last person who was elected as in independent and was not formally affiliated with any political party during his term in office was George Washington. But I don’t think I was the only one who wanted someone different.
My list was short. I wanted a President that:
- Couldn’t be controlled by either party.
- Speaks frankly.
- Is not the same old career politician
In retrospect, I probably didn’t think that list all the way through.
If we really consider what it means to be truly independent of either major political party, it can’t mean someone who both parties like. It has to mean someone that neither party likes. Sure, we talk about wanting a tactful person willing and able to cross the aisle. But in today’s partisan politics, that person would owe both parties and have no chance of making the vig.
Any person who cannot be controlled by either party has to be as big a bully as they are. Negotiating with both Families for pieces of their territories has to be done from a position of strength if you don’t want to be napping with a horse’s head.
Next, we could probably get a lot of people to say that they really like someone who speaks frankly. But then again, a lot of people lie. People pretty much know when they are overweight, but nobody wants somebody to tell them frankly that they need to buy size “OW” clothes.
While a little tact would be desirable, I have no patience for a doctor who won’t tell his OW patient to lose weight or die.
Not the same old career politician seems to be counter intuitive. In other endeavors, we value experience. The more experience, the better, right? Maybe, but having 20 years of experience and having one year of experience 20 times are not the same thing. Politics tends to be the latter.
The founding Fathers never anticipated career politicians. Their concept was citizen representatives who donated time away from their career to serve their country and then went back to their real job. Furthering your career is not necessarily bad. Most of us have done that. The problem for career politicians is that the best thing to further their career is often not the best thing for us.
So, there it is. Trump is a rich, tactless, loud mouthed New York bully disliked by both Democrats and Republicans. He does not belong but is so rich he didn’t need their money and didn’t have to play their game.
I was as shocked as anyone when he got elected but think there were two primary reasons.
First, to play on a saying, “The bully of my bully is my friend…or at least my protector.” During the election campaign, someone said that Hillary and Trump were both running against the only person in the country they could beat. People may vote their party line out of habit, fear or the feeling they have no choice, but lesser evil is still evil. Hillary was the evil status quo. Trump was obnoxious, but not the same old thing.
The other cause is more than ironic. It was the mass media. Yep, the same mass media hates Trump so much they have abandoned all journalistic integrity. They poked, joked and had great fun giving him a giant media wedgie. They exaggerated, misrepresented, lied and in general kicked sand in his face. The media was relentless, merciless and in the final analysis achieved the unachievable.
They turned a rich, tactless, loud mouthed New York bully disliked by both Democrats and Republicans and who does not belong – into an underdog.
We know how America treats underdogs.
It is early days yet, but with the market at all time highs, unemployment at all time lows, millions of jobs created, lower taxes putting more money in people’s pockets, we may have to wait until the end of President Trump’s second term to evaluate my careless wish.