by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles
A while back, in writing about Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, I accepted the rumors about her financial difficulties. Since then, I’ve heard that she has explained them all away. I wouldn’t know. My point in writing about her alleged problems in the first place was that I didn’t care. I wanted her to win the Senate race in Delaware because if elected, she would vote the way I wanted.
Some people were disappointed in me. I hate to disappoint people, but if I’m not going to write what I believe, why bother?
I’m afraid that a lot of people, especially among the ranks of my fellow conservatives, confuse electing politicians with selecting a pastor or a priest. Politics is not a higher calling. It’s not a calling at all, even though politicians would have you believe that theirs is a life of self-sacrifice that compares favorably with Mother Teresa’s. The world of politics primarily provides an escape hatch for failed lawyers, rich people who want to add “celebrity” to their resumes, physicians who have grown weary of dealing with bureaucratic paperwork, and other various mediocrities seeking to put some buzz into their humdrum lives.
If people asked me to list the qualities to which I aspire, they would be honesty, reliability, courage, kindness, loyalty and optimism. They are the qualities I look for in my friends. They are not the qualities I expect to find in politicians. What’s more, when I hear people go on about how wonderful their favorite office holders are, I think they sound like very naïve children.
The fact is, most of us don’t know the people we’re called upon to elect. We may hear their speeches or see them interviewed on TV. We might even hear them debate their opponents, but we don’t know what sort of parent they are, what sort of neighbor or sibling, what sort of boss.
Let’s face it — every single time a politician is caught having an adulterous affair or taking a bribe or trying to pick up someone in a men’s room or selling out his country for the sake of his party, millions of people react exactly the way young children do when they find out the truth about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. But not I.
I think that, by and large, politicians are a bunch of weasels. I wouldn’t trust them to tell me the time of day. I only ask that they vote exactly the way I would, if I had nothing better to do with my life than constantly raise money so that I could retain my cushy job; a job, by the way, that really only requires casting votes.
When you get right down to it, voting is something we all do. The difference is that these stiffs get paid to do it, and then have bridges and airports named in their honor, as if they’d covered the construction costs with a personal check.
Speaking of votes, I can’t help noticing how many Democrats seem to be running against Obama. In order to carry off the illusion that these schmoes are independent-minded individuals, they’re running ads proudly proclaiming their opposition to, say, ObamaCare or the stimulus bill. These lumps aren’t blue dog Democrats, though, they’re yellow dogs. These were the folks who were given dispensation to vote with the Republicans because Pelosi and Reid had counted noses and concluded they had more than enough votes to pass whatever piece of left-wing lunacy they were shoving down our throats that particular day.
In its own way, those dispensations were every bit as sleazy and cynical as bribing Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu to get them aboard the ObamaCare express.
If, like me, you have ever wondered how these people can bear to look in the mirror, I think the secret is that when you spend day after day looking at the likes of Harry Reid, Alan Grayson, Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Weiner, after a while the loathsome creature in the mirror doesn’t look so awful.
copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky
Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.