Stan Trollip's recent piece, with its disparaging reference to professional politicians, has inspired me -- maybe even changed my life. (I'm only about two-thirds kidding.)
This world we share is in a pitiful state -- economically, environmentally, politically, intellectually, even aesthetically -- and professional politicians are about 70% to blame for it. The other 30% of the blame can be split evenly between the increasingly irresponsible (and stupid) media and the world's increasingly gullible (and stupid) voters.
Anyway, Stan has inspired me. I'm going to found a new nonpolitical nonparty called the Ixnaycrats. "Ixnay" is pig-Latin for "nix," and the nonparty's slogan will be "Just say ixnay" -- to all incumbents, no matter of what party, to all professional politicians of any stripe. We will vote for nonprofessionals only, on the assumption that nonprofessionals, when elected to positions of leadership will attempt to lead, whereas professional politicians simply attempt to ensure their re-election.
Let me rephrase that. The moment a professional politician - right, left, or center -- wins office, his or her one and only priority is to gain re-election. Forget issues, forget personal or professional convictions, forget the best interests of the nation. It's about getting re-elected, baby, and that's all it's about.
We are long past the point at which political parties stand for anything. They're all businesses, beholden to other businesses, and the business they're in is getting and holding power. Take America, where the Republicans are traditionally supposed to stand for small government, individual liberties, and fiscal restraint, while the Democrats are supposed to stand for activist government that addresses social inequity. Well, the last three Republican presidents, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II (and how's that for a mournful litany?) all increased the size of government (especially Bush II), increased the national deficit (Bush II to the largest point in history until Obama got hold of it), and Bush II grabbed more power with the Patriot Act than any president in history.
The only American president in years to leave a balanced budget and a surplus was a Democrat, Bill Clinton. But the very next Democrat, Obama, came in and threw zillions of dollars at everything in the world and then declined to rescind the Patriot Act, which deprives hundreds of millions of people (not just Americans) of essential rights in order to protect the world's most powerful country from a handful of pissed-off fanatics with bad personal hygiene and a ninth-century world view. And why didn't he rescind the Act? Because if he had, and there had been an Islamist strike, he, Obama, would have been toast, a one-term president.
So Obama, "hope" notwithstanding, is just another pro.
The people who founded this nation saw public service as being a service, as the term implies, not a lifelong career path for the power-hungry. People were supposed to emerge from private life in order to contribute to society and then, as George Washington did, to go home and shut up when they'd finished. That's a great idea for all countries, and I think we need to get back to it.
Let's retire the conviction-free blowhards and gasbags at both ends of the political spectrum and replace them with people who will serve and then quit. Here's what we do; here's the Ixnaycrat Anti-Platform:
1. Vote for term limits. A politician who can't legally be re-elected might pay at least some attention to the people's business.
2. Vote against all incumbents of all parties on all levels of government.
3. Vote for the incumbent's opponent who has the least political experience. Vote for school teachers, pavement artists, community activists, homeless people, trust-fund babies. Vote for atheists, fundamentalists, agnostics, gold-standard fanatics, Giants fans, left-handers, morticians, whoopee-cushion manufacturers. Vote for anyone who's not a professional politician.
4. When the people you've elected become incumbents, vote them out, too.
I can hear the objections now: What about experience? What about continuity?
Well, as far as I can see, experience and continuity got us into this. Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, to pick on the two most recent American vice-presidents, are paragons of experience and continuity. I don't know about you, but as much as I've disliked most of America's recent presidents, I did pray that they wouldn't die.
Take back your country, whatever country it is. Get rid of the gasbags. Retire the political parties and their connections to big business.
Just say Ixnay.
Tim -- Sunday