According to Jay Leno, “Politics is just show business for ugly people.” According to Uncle Harry, “Once they get elected and see light at the end of the tunnel, they go out and buy some more tunnel.”
Why do we slam politicians? For one thing, it’s easy. Like screaming at the bloodied quarterback from the safety of a sky box. We’ve been doing it ever since George Washington. Oh yes! all those heroes on our pedestals and our bills were once laughed at and lampooned far more brutally than even today.
Some consider this mob mentality. Others see it as how a free democracy works; the way the law believes even 12 of the least likely jurors usually come up with the best verdict. On the the other hand, when you consider some of our past leaders, the saying “Anyone can become president” takes on a whole new meaning. On yet another hand, George Burns put it this way: “Politics is like trying to be popular in high school; which is like trying to be mayor of a city that won’t exist in four years.”
Whatever! our politicians always use the same two words: Liberal and Conservative. The words have a gazillion different meanings in the mouths of different politicians. Perhaps the best definition is: A conservative is a liberal who just got mugged; a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested.
The funny thing about this conservative (red state) and liberal (blue state) dichotomy are some recent results. David Brooks of the New York Times reports there are now two conservatives for every liberal in the country. Most of them maintaining we need less federal government and greater traditional morality. Meanwhile, Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune argues: “As America has grown more secular, most indicators of moral and social health have grown better not worse. Crime has plummeted, teen pregnancy is down 19%, divorce rates are dropping, and abortions among teens are half what they used to be.”
Chapman, an avowed libertarian, ends with a smile (or is it a smirk?): “Mississippi has the nation’s highest rate of church attendance and the highest rate of murder. So please spare us the sanctimonious fairy tales. Secular America is doing just fine.”
Now the debate becomes: What do we mean by “fine?”
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