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Tahoe Pine Nuts: Let the electoral games begin

McAvoy Layne

Politics, that dark underbelly of statesmanship, is our biennial iniquity. We are force-fed doggerel, like the geese we are, and it commands our attention.

As this year’s foie-gras season begins, I harken back to H.L. Menken, “Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.”

Our 21st century politicians have so much disdain for manners that they are no longer living together.

This is a travesty, for as Edmund Burke pointed out to us so long ago, “Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us.”

As it is, this year’s contest features a fever swamp on the right and a stagnant pond on the left. As an independent, I tend to prefer functional compromise over ideological paralysis.

I sincerely miss republican senator Everett Dirksen. “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”

And not unlike Mark Twain, I’m a theoretical socialist and a practical aristocrat. I don’t approve of billionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

As a former Marine I admire the way Liechtenstein fights wars. The last time they went to war was in 1866. They sent 80 men to fight the Italians. Nobody died. They came home with 81.

Separation of church & state? I say give us freedom of religious practice in our houses of worship, and deliver us unto religious neutrality in our public institutions.

The challenge for the coming election as I see it, will be coming up with a minimum-wage increase that moves the middle class as well as the minimum wage earner — a weighty lift.

Were I superintending, we would move on to an open primary, where all candidates of every persuasion run, and the top two finishers face off in the general election.

That would serve to reduce the influence that party extremists now have on our representatives. But as the Bard of Avon might like to say, “There’s the rub.”

Education? I’m in up to the nubs for education. We’ve had presidential candidates for education and we’ve had mosquito abatement candidates for education, but the money never, ever, catches up with the rhetoric.

The important thing, the essential thing, is that we inject some humor into this year’s presidential steeplechase. Given Citizens United, there is something exceedingly facetious about universal financial suffrage. It’s an oxymoron.

Is Hillary not likable, likeable, or likeable enough? And can Jeb Bush swerve from right of King Lear in the primary to somewhere closer to Caliban if he makes the general?

These are questions I can’t answer. I hope you can. Too bad that all the people who know best how to run the country are busy working for Fox and MSNBC.

All I know is, I will support our next president, whomever, for I know in my heart that they will get us off on the wrong foot. And I ask you in closing, where would we be without humor? Germany.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.


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