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Humorist Will Rogers would enjoy today's politics

Admittedly the weather this February has been ... well, February-like. Temperatures bouncing all over the place, enough cold rain to drown a frog and, unfortunately, a good dose of high winds last week which, for many of us and our neighbors, caused prolonged power outages.

That all was entertaining, more or less, but for real entertainment, you can't beat the politicians as they begin to jockey for the chance to be president of these dis-United States.

So far, although it's early in the season, the Democrats are winning the race for an Oscar for best performances in support of the loyal opposition.

If they don't change their approach, I suspect they'll have to rename their primary season the Year of the Circular Firing Squad.

So far, all they are doing is sniping at each other and playing the "my health care plan is better than your health care plan" without once looking at the big picture of trying to actually put a Democrat in the White House.

At the recent "debate" or circular firing squad, political novice Tom Steyer warned his fellow Dems that while they were nit-picking over details in each other's plans, any one of the plans was better by a large measure than anything the Republicans have yet put forth -- which essentially has been nothing resembling a coherent plan. Worse, President Trump is even talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare if he wins the next election -- and the Democrats seem oblivious to a large target right in front of them.

But for pure entertainment value, nothing can beat the Iowa Caucus fiasco.

Why any of the rest of us pays attention to Iowa is a mystery unless it's just to get a break from February doldrums. It's not representative of anything, well, except for large corn and soybean fields and a comparatively small population.

But for some reason, the Iowans decided they needed some fancy new "app" so they could use their cell phones to report the results of their caucuses.

In case you're not familiar with a caucus, Iowa style, it's when a tiny percentage of the state's adult population gathers in gymnasiums and other large structures -- and then everyone runs to stand under a sign with their favorite candidate's name on it.

It's kind of like choosing up teams in middle school physical education classes.

But some big shot, who was probably getting a commission, decided that using a cell phone app would allow those results to be reported quickly -- apparently so everyone could get home before the next blizzard.

Of course, as you know, no one bothered to check this app -- and in a state which likely has worse cell phone and internet service than we do, a disaster was created.

It's a case of trying to do something with technology that was best done the old-fashioned, safe, secure way but, hey, we gotta play with those devices whether it makes sense or not.

The result was that it was days before the winners were announced -- and old Bernie and young Pete ended up splitting the delegates by getting 10 apiece.

I guess no one told them that the cemetery vote in Chicago can probably dig up more than 10 delegate votes when they are really needed.

Watching the Dems scramble, explain and re-explain the chaos reminded me of an observation of a humorist and observer of things political from nearly a 100 years ago.

Back then it was Will Rogers who famously said, "I'm not a member of any organized political party ... I'm a Democrat."

I'm certain Will would have enjoyed the Iowa fiasco.

But while I was verifying that this quote did come from Rogers, I discovered several others that apply quite nicely to our local political situation nearly a century after they were first uttered by Rogers.

Amazingly, one of his quotes perfectly applies not only to the circular firing squad approach of the Democratic debates but also to the unified, march of the lemmings over a cliff by the Republicans at the end of the so-called trial of President Trump.

His observation years ago was simply that: "Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they'd be Republicans."

That pretty much sums up our current political situation.

And here's a quote that perfectly sums up the approach to the 2020 national election in November.

"Democrats are attacking and the Republicans are defending. All the Democrats have to do is promise 'what they would do if they got in.' But the Republicans have to promise 'what they would do' and then explain why they haven't already 'done it.'"

Yep, that's the current state of affairs in 2020!

Believe it or not, Rogers also made comments decades ago that pretty much frame up the exploding federal deficits of the Trump Administration over the last three years.

"The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel," Rogers wrote.

And excel they certainly are these days ... just look at the mind-numbing numbers as the deficit spirals totally out of control while no politician seems to have the courage to even mention that.

You don't have to be a dinosaur to remember the days when Republicans spent most of their time harping about the exploding deficit -- and the need to get it under control.

Now their mantra seems to be deficit? What deficit?

One of the frustrating things that is happening these days is that so many people are getting their "news" from the Internet and from late night television stars who are entertainers, not responsible reporters.

Yes, it's fun and entertaining but the system is rapidly being turned upside down with potentially catastrophic results.

But, never fear, decades ago Will Rogers observed something happening that is quite similar to today.

He said, "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa."

Granted, watching and listening to the comments some of the position-switching politicians have been making should be turning them into a joke but, apparently some people are still taking them seriously, even as many of us wonder how they can switch viewpoints so completely without getting terminal whiplash.

Sadly, Will Rogers made one prediction decades ago that has yet to come true -- although it's only February and there is still hope.

He said, "I read where they are going to limit debate in the Senate. It used to be that a man could talk all day, but now, as soon as he tells all he knows, he has to sit down. Most of these birds will just be getting up and nodding now. Why, some of them won't be able to answer roll call."

After watching some of that fake trial that wasn't a trial in the Senate recently, it's a shame this rule wasn't in effect -- although many Senators simply ignored the rules they had created for themselves and our nation's highest justice let 'em get away with flagrant, frequent rules violations without a single word.

For example, there was a "strict" rule that banned cell phones from the Senate chambers but Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn was tweeting like a canary on speed -- and no one said a word about it. Of course, she blamed an unnamed staff member when questioned!

Of course, when Mitt Romney sipped milk from a bottle, he was called on the carpet and reminded that Senators were only allowed to drink milk from a glass during the proceedings! Fortunately his staffer found him a glass and he got his chocolate milk fix.

Wow, talk about petty!

And how's this for senatorial behavior? Our very own senior senator, Richard Burr, distributed fidget spinners to fellow senators. Very mature.

Justice Roberts didn't even bother to try to wake up the lazy senators who fell asleep during proceedings, something that will get you tossed off a jury in any real trial in the U.S.

Of course, many of the senators wouldn't have been allowed on a jury in a real trial.

Many expressed loudly and often before the proceedings that they were going to vote to acquit the president regardless of the evidence presented.

Then they stood before the top judge in the entire U.S. judicial system and swore an oath to do "impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws."

And then each signed that oath.

Chief Justice John Roberts accepted those oaths, even though he had to know some of those swearing the oath had expressed prejudicial opinions well in advance of the proceedings! He did and said nothing.

Now, don't try telling a judge that if you're ever called for jury duty or you'll be dismissed so quickly your head will be spinning.

I can just picture a prospective juror telling a judge that, "Well, I can serve on this jury all right but I gotta tell you your honor that when it's all over I'm gonna acquit this guy of" -- take your pick, murder, drug dealing or rape -- "because he just looks like a nice fellow who doesn't seem like he'd do well in jail and besides, his momma would get her feelings hurt it he's convicted.

"But don't you worry none, judge, I'll swear an oath to be impartial and I'll try to listen to all the evidence but when it's over, I'm gonna vote to acquit. Yes, sir, I am."

My guess is that you'll be in the parking lot looking for your car keys in less than 30 seconds flat.

But if you're a United States Senator, a part of what once was called the greatest deliberative body in the world, you can stand before the top judge in all the land -- and before the American people -- and swear to something you know is a downright lie and no one will say or do a thing.

As I said earlier, what we saw was something -- but it fell far short of anything that could be considered a fair trial.

To paraphrase the great Will Rogers, some of those Senate "birds" should have just gotten up and nodded.

Or, better yet, not answered roll call!

Oh, and by the way, I'm a registered Independent which means I have a license to poke fun at both parties and their foibles.

It's kinda fun -- until you realize it's your money, your country and your family's future that's hanging in the balance.

Now, brace yourself. The circus is coming to North Carolina on March 3 -- and suddenly many of us will be part of the big show.

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Members Opinions:
February 13, 2020 at 11:34am
I don't have to tell you about the constitution and the duty of the chef judge or the duty of the senate. You already know and deep down, you also know, the whole impeachment mess was just an embarrassment to the country. Trump will be reelected and the thing you/we have to worry about is who will replace Trump. Certainly not a politician because they have shot their wad. Some person has to make a promise and keep it the same way as Mr. Trump has demonstrated but I'm getting old and although I would like to stay around and witness the event I probably want. Did you read the news today about the mouthpiece going into bankruptcy?
February 13, 2020 at 2:14pm
You might be registered Independent but your partisanship is always on full display.

I believe that the results of President Trump and the GOP are apparent to everyone. The economy is working again. It's amazing what happens when the government just gets out of the way. That's what the Republicans believe in and I'm glad that they agree. Freedom works.

Of course, perhaps we could emulate "progressive" utopias like the Democratic strongholds of San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Crime, homelessness, high taxes.

Will Rogers wouldn't recognize the Democratic Party today.
February 14, 2020 at 6:50am
Amy Klobuchar is concerned about the national debt and has a plan to address it.
February 17, 2020 at 3:40pm
Klobuchar eats salad with a used comb. Should I say more?
February 17, 2020 at 9:29pm
I, too, am a great fan of Will Rogers. Here's another quote about politics attributed to him, "America has the best politicians money can buy."
I think my favorite quote of all goes to Mark Twain, "The surest cure for drunkenness is to observe, while sober, the actions of a drunken man."
Pete Andrews
Gold Sand

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