Monday, February 14, 2011

Politics: A Different View

Some Thoughts About Politics and Politicians From Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods

February 14, 2011

This is taken from Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods, which should be read by all political science majors.

“This whole game – politics – it’s like hustling a woman. Same principle more or less.”

Kathy rolled her eyes but said nothing.

“Wrap your mind around it,” Tony said. “You’re at a party, say. You spot this hot looker across the room, this real babe, so you wander over and start politicking. Nice firm handshake, look her in the eye. Talk about every damn thing under the sun. Talk about Aristotle and Gandhi, how these guys affected you on a deep personal level, how they changed your life forever. Tell about your merit badges, that terrible experience you had with polio, what a sensitive human being you are, and then after a while, real polite, you invite the broad to dinner, blow a month’s pay, shovel out the oysters and caviar. Pretty soon she starts to owe you. It’s never said like that, not direct, but this little pumpkin knows the rules, she knows how the deal works. Code of commerce, so to speak. Anyhow, the whole time you keep talking up your qualifications, how you’re nuts about public TV, et cetera, ad shitum. The spiel’s important right? Wining and dining, all the courtship stuff, you got to do it. Because the girl’s human just like you and me. She’s got an ego. She’s got her dignity. I mean, she’s a living, breathing piece of ass and you got to respect that.” [pp. 150-151]

So, a question: If in this analogy, the people are the girl, what is it that the people get out of this charade? We know what the girl gets, fed and screwed. Is that what the people get too, that is, fed and screwed? Might be worth thinking about.

Of course, these days, depending on where the party is being held or who is holding it, you had better mention Jesus and how much he means to you. And, you might want to mention how you would like to privatize social security and how Obama is a socialist with a radical political agenda. But these are just details, as the rules of the game stay the same.

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