Admit It -- You Have This Funny Habit Of Seeing Faces

Do you have this same habit? When I see someone for the first time I can’t help thinking how much they look like….well, it varies from say Tom Cruise, Paul Newman or Monica Lewinksy, to that last dude on that last sitcom that was canceled. I can’t seem to help myself.

I’ve been professionally advised it’s a common device whereby the mind seeks to conflate the danger of the new with the safety of the known. Apparently I feel better when I’ve been able to organize my little world into familiar patterns. It’s called association, and we practice it all the time by wearing familiar colors and clothes, remaining in familiar places with familiar friends, even by choosing familiar cars and vacation spots. Association is one way of traveling our changing world by using the same flashlight.

However in the case of politicians, disassociation has become the rule. Take rape. Saying what you mean, but next day clarifying what you said was not what you meant. Like addressing the boys at the VFW with a wink at those “women who dress like they’re asking for it; “then later explaining at the ladies luncheon “we believe when a women says no it means no.”

Cynics will rightly scoff at this double-speak. “Politicians live on lies!” But wait a minute. Lets reconsider. In a large diverse democracy like ours, a politician is expected to represent all the people. Men and women, dudes and duffers, the boys who belly up to the bar with their snickering stories as well as the nuns in St Agatha’s parish who light candles to the Virgin Mary. The only reasonable way to achieve this impossible task is to try being what each of these constituencies expect you to do without entirely ignoring what they expect you not to do.

Isn’t this why Politics has been called the first and highest of the social arts…? For all its smarmy history, politics is the high art of maintaining social governance. Without this working, without the peace and tranquility of such governance, nothing else in the society has a chance of working.

So bring on the pols, smarmy and slippery tho they may be, because god bless their impossible calling!

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