You are what you eat. –Dr. Victor Lindlahr, nutritionist (1897-1969)
Pun aside, a lot of whater has passed under the bridge since Dr. Lindlahr coined the above phrase 75+ years ago, and the older I get, the more I’ve taken his caution to heart….with resulting good health to show for it (if I should drop dead tomorrow, I shall reluctantly admit I came to that conclusion a bit prematurely).
But I have also come to see a parallel to this axiom in the public sector: it’s no accident that we have political dysfunction. We are who we elect. Our elected (and wanna-be elected) officials aren’t anomalies who have somehow passed under voters’ attention spans, leaving us to wonder how such coarse incivility found its way into the political mainstream. Well, wonder no more:
Obviously, then, eatin’ and politickin’ have a lot in common. As with our intellectual standards, if our table manners go down the drain, we regress into uncivilized louts. To combat this uncouth scourge, we must remember our etiquette. Politicians need to model their behavior after the culinary refinement of the epicure:
Therefore, let us get back to the good old days when politicians may have been idiots, but at least they weren’t tasteless idiots with little sense of propriety. Take these examples:
It’s time to put our blood or our urine where our mouth is. — Rep. Pat Murphy (D-IA) on drug testing, Feb. 1997
We have brave men and women who are willing to step forward because they know what’s at stake. They’re willing to sacrifice their lives for this great country. What I’m asking all of you tonight is not to put on a uniform. Put on a [Rick Santorum] bumper sticker. Is it that much to ask? Is it that much to ask to step up and serve your country? –Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Jan. 2006
My problem was, I was too honest with you the first time. –Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-FL), explaining to her constituents why she changed positions.
The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, antifamily political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, , kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. –Pat Robertson, 1992 fund raising letter
They intend to vote on the Sabbath, during Lent, to take away the liberty that we have right from God. This is an affront to God. –Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Please burn before reading. –1972 Nixon White House illegal campaign tactics memo
My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will never, never surrender to what is right. –Dan Quayle, Vice President under George H.W. Bush
I don’t think we came from monkeys. I think that’s ridiculous. I haven’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet. –Glenn Beck (who apparently hadn’t looked in the mirror lately)
OK, Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck aren’t politicians. Hey, nobody’s perfect. Well, maybe Sarah Palin is, but we don’t have time to do her justice, so I’ll close with this reminder: