Monday, August 27, 2012

H. L. Mencken would be proud!

The satirist H. L. Mencken famously defined politics in several bons mots that have taken on a life of their own as oft-cited quotations:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.

There are many more at the link.

In the light of such opinions, I think Mr. Mencken would have enjoyed this article by A. Barton Hinkle for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins.

No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign. Instead of focusing on the big issues that are important to the American People, it has fired a relentlessly negative barrage of distortions, misrepresentations and flat-out lies.

Just look at the Other Side's latest commercial, which take a perfectly reasonable statement by the candidate for My Side completely out of context to make it seem as if he is saying something nefarious. This just shows you how desperate the Other Side is and how willing it is to mislead the American People.

The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

. . .

I will admit the candidates for My Side do make occasional blunders. These usually happen at the end of exhausting 19-hour days and are perfectly understandable. Our leaders are only human, after all. Nevertheless, the Other Side inevitably makes a big fat deal out of these trivial gaffes, while completely ignoring its own candidates' incredibly thoughtless and stupid remarks — remarks that reveal the Other Side's true nature, which is genuinely frightening.

More at the link.

I've said many times before that I support (and trust) neither Republicans nor Democrats.  I think both major political parties are equally suspect and nefarious in their purposes.  I'll vote for the individual, not for the party.  Show me an honest, trustworthy individual, of any political persuasion, and I'll vote for him or her in preference to dishonest and untrustworthy opponents, even if I don't share his or her opinions.

That said, here's a challenge for you in the run-up to the elections.  How about trying to find something nice to say about the 'other side', politically speaking, every day?  Instead of condemning them and their opinions out of hand, try accepting that there are good people who are of different opinions to yours.  Just because they don't see the world through your spectacles doesn't mean they're wrong . . . or that you're right.  Acknowledging that, and recognizing that there's at least some good in people on all sides, would go a long way to improving the quality of our discourse and coexistence in these politically Disunited States.



Borepatch said...

I prefer Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary to Menkin. It's much, much more cynical:

"ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught."

Terribly cynical. I firmly approve.

Oddly, there's no entry for "Tar and Feathers". Strange, that.

Carteach said...


Swiping much of this as a moral imperative.