Every nation gets the government it deserves. –Joseph de Maistre, 1811
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Every once in a while — like every day — you see on TV/the Internet, or read in the newspaper, that politicians have done or said things that are so over-the-top, you can’t believe they emanated from a sensible, reasonable human being. And, of course, you are correct — they were actually begot by a verbal contortionist or a ventriloquist’s dummy. Who else could engage in such twisted logic or move their lips to the voice of ideological rote?
Case in point: on Wednesday last, House Republicans sued the President for overreaching without congressional authority; on Thursday, they issued a statement putting the onus on the President to act on his own “without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders” — a contradiction that even several Republicans admitted made little sense.
So what else is new(s)? Who elects such hypocrit-ters? Well, after exhaustive research, extensive investigation and having previously made up my mind, I have come to the conclusion that….WE do. Yes, it’s true. We voters are such dumb asses that we have been known to elect a real ass to office if he belongs to our political persuasion.
Take the case of the good citizens of Milton, Washington, who in 1938 elected Boston Curtis to be Republican precinct committeeman. The Democratic mayor, to prove the point that many voters have no clue who they’re voting for, had managed to get Boston Curtis on the ballot by signing the filing documents as legal witness. Boston Curtis was a brown mule. I suspect that, like most mule-headed politicians, animal instinct took over and Boston Curtis refused to resign even after the truth came out when he brayed his victory speech.
At least, Boston Curtis was among the living. Dead people have been known to win elections as well. In 2009, a 77 year old Alabama Republican ran for Bibb County Commissioner and won on the strength of straight party line voting, despite departing this vale of tears prior to the election. Likewise, a 96 year old Florida man won 56% of the vote for Orange County Tax Collector, notwithstanding dying before being elected. Apparently, tax-resenting voters figured a 96 year old tax collector wasn’t going to be too swift on the job, dead or alive.
Of course, America doesn’t have a monopoly on clueless voters. In 1967, during an election campaign in Picoaza, Ecuador, the makers of Pulvapies (foot powder) aired an ad proclaiming, “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” You guessed it — voters elected Pulvapies their new mayor (who knows — compared to the other candidates, Pulvapies may have been the best choice, hands down).
On the other hand, the people of Sao Paulo, Brazil, knew very well who and what they were voting for when they elected a clown to their congress in 2010….an actual, illiterate clown, no less. Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva (professional name “Grumpy the Clown”), who ran using the campaign slogan, “It can’t get any worse,” got over 1.3 million votes (more than double the number of votes for his nearest challenger) by promising to do absolutely nothing if elected, other than finding out what they do with their time in Congress and telling the voters. Now that’s what I call a candid-ate.
GRUMPY THE CLOWN! GRUMPY THE CLOWN! GRUMPY THE CLOWN! He da mano*!
*Mano is slang for “man” in Portuguese (the language of Brazil).