Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Clashing of Symbols

Here we are!  It's Election Day.  And you thought it would never get here.

As I have been saying, I have total respect for everyone who votes and none at all for those who don't.  You may feel free to discuss your political preferences and persuasions with me here any time you wish to, or you may stop me on the street or in the produce aisles at the Giant, or you may call me on the phones to say why you feel as you do on topics ranging from who should be president to legalized gambling in Maryland, but only if you vote.  If you vote, to me, that means that you care enough about things to discuss them.  If voting is too much trouble for you, tell your story walking, my friend.

That much said, I have to holler about something that all politicians of both parties seem to do all the time.  I find it irksome.  I'm talking about what you might call "participatory politics," and it takes place when the mayor of a city shows up at a place where residents can get free sand for sandbags to fortify their homes and businesses against impending floods.  I think it's GOOD when the government provides this sort of commodity and I find it a waste of time when the mayor is seen shoveling sand into vinyl bags.

Yesterday on the news, as schools in New York City opened up for the first session since Hurricane Sandy, the president of the city council up there found it necessary to pose for a photo op while spooning mac and cheese onto cafeteria trays for the returning scholars.

Not long ago, Paul Ryan showed up at a homeless shelter after the dinner dishes had all been put away.  But he wanted to be photographed helping the homeless!  So he dragged some clean pots and pans back into the suds so he could roll up his sleeves and be seen working out with the SOS pads.

Democrats do it, Republicans do it, and heaven knows if we ever have a serious candidate from the Socialist Workers Party, he or she will insist on being filmed while handing out cups of borscht to children at a Labor Day rally. 

To my mind, politicians got where they are by going to school and learning to run things.  Sure, we need people to fill the sandbags...the people who came to the dump site were ready to do so.  Some cafeteria lady in NYC had to step back and hand over her ladle to that city council lady, who probably could have been in her office doing the greater good on a much larger scale than symbolically plopping down starch tubes on a plate. 

And if Paul Ryan really wants to scrub pots and pans, I know a good place for him to visit.  But I don't want him to have my home address.

Everyone says "keep it real."  Giving up the habit of putting on a show for the news cameras would be a start.

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