251. Man Your Manure Spreaders


So the elections rolled across America yesterday and a new red map resulted. Not that it matters much. New liars will posture and promise and lie to us. Instead of blue-eyed liars we will endure redheaded liars for the next two to six years. Pundits and political planners are in a tizzy now for the meaning of it all, how it will all play out in the presidential election of 2016. Well, it will be what it will be. In a post Obama world we will be no better off than in the post Bush world, anymore than we were better off in a post Clinton world or a post Reagan world. Thank God for term limits. They guarantee a new herd of swine at the public trough with new, meaningless toots of verbal flatulence. Like pigs, politicians can eat and talk simultaneously because they use different ends of their anatomy for each function.

So on the way into town this morning I noticed that the left lane was slowing down behind a green and brown blinking vehicle up ahead. I pulled into the right lane and accelerated. As I got closer I recognized the back of the machine as a manure spreader heading into our fair town. The sulfurous stench of liquefied cow poop enveloped me and my car. I had pulled in behind it where two lanes merge into one; passing was not an option now. I had noticed the other cars were giving it a wide berth. Once I fell in line behind it I realized why. Gaggingly gross, sort of like politics, I thought. It crossed my mind that politics always stinks and brings you to tears. It doesn’t matter who is driving; politics is a nasty business.

I wondered if the driver of this stink wagon was Republican or Democrat. It was clearly an expensive rig pulled along by a high tech tractor with a closed cab, heated seats, satellite radio, and a deodorizer/ air purification system. Besides, the politician driving was upwind from his load of manure. He was clean and fresh and seemingly immune from it all on his comfy John Deere throne. He turned right onto Fifth Avenue, proving to me that he was indeed a Republican. You see if it had been a Democrat, he would have gotten stuck under the railroad overpass like many a truck driver does, bringing traffic to a halt until air could be let out of the tires to lower the vehicle an inch or two.  Then he would have turned the wrong way at the square into oncoming traffic. That’s the only way I can keep the two parties straight in my mind is by the mistaken policies they each cling to.

Republicans roll their poop  wagons into town promising tax cuts, jobs for all, and prosperity for few. They decry large government, foreigners, welfare programs for the less fortunate, gun control, and they promise to shrink government after they deregulate and weaken it for their cronies’ benefit. They question all critics’ patriotism and suggest that anyone who disagrees with them is a socialist, drug addicted, progressive, anti-Christian hater of the Motherland. When they leave office, they write books and go to work for exorbitant pay at private industries they used to regulate.

Now Democrats roll their poop wagons into town promising fairness and equality for you and me and the foreigner behind the tree. They pick different winners and losers. They promise tax fairness and raise taxes somewhere to pay for the expansion of government everywhere. They question all critics’ humanity and suggest that anyone who disagrees with them is a heartless fascist, elite, repressive right wing Christian hater of the Motherland. When they leave office, they write books and go to work for exorbitant pay at private industries they used to regulate.

One thing is certain: agreement is never possible or they’d be out of a job, snap, just like that. Contention is the thing that keeps job security going on till death. Inflated rhetoric and drama are the fuel.  Why problem solve when you can blame? Problem solving takes time and patience and thinking and determination and cooperation. Blame requires none of that. Blame is a low cost start up. See it’s as easy as pointing. A two year old can point at the family dog when cookies go missing. It’s that simple.

Agreement and cooperation, negotiation, and compromise shrink the gap between the two party finger pointing. Like the argument between guns or butter for homeland security, prisons or education for crime, treatment or incarceration for drugs, etc. As long as we stand on the wings and scream into the void, the void wins, growing wider with each election cycle. If we don’t fill in the void and find common ground, then we are left to sharpening partisan scalpels for two years while funding hate ads. How you frame the question also predetermines the possible answers you get.  If the question is always framed as either A or B, then the only answers possible are A or B. What if the correct answer is Both? Or Neither? Well, within that framework, you/we are out of luck. See, it’s either more prisons or more education. It’s either tax cuts or maintaining social programs. How about a little of both?

If you think you can just retire to Costa Rica or New Zealand, let me share one last encounter with manure. I was out jogging around the farms behind my house a few years ago. I saw a manure spreader rolling across a harvested cornfield. I identified the splash zone and figured that I’d just stay far enough away from that spewing poop fountain to stay dry. Well, I miscalculated. As I jogged around that field, the atomized liquid manure caught me downwind and settled like droplets of horrible dew on my hair and face and clothes. Disgust filled me and I felt biologically violated. I stopped in mid stride as the vaporized excrement actually caught in the back of my throat, activating my gag reflex. Yeah, inescapable as taxes and death… Politics.

 

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