Publishing Essays from Political Candidates

A little bit of something every now & again probably does no harm.  It is probably OK, on rare (very rare?) occasion, to offer the floor to a political candidate to talk about how screwed up the political process is. Let him talk, let him run.  But I think that the commentary should be “generic” politics, such that we are not really implying that we endorse somebody or giving voice to an obvious platform.  Next thing you know, the Demo & Repub will be knocking at the door, asking for equal time.  Ours is an “economics” oriented pub in many respects, though we delve greatly into philospphy, religion & science.  Leave the politics to the NY Times and WSJ.  Be careful about running-off the readers.  And I know for a fact that some of our readers are hard core Dems, and some are hard core Repubs, and some are hard core Libs.  I have received hate mail from all of these factions.

The guy in DR the other day is a non-traditional candidate.  He will get his 7% of the vote on election day, and the main line Democrat candidate will win.  This is Maryland, after all.  The problem with voting for political candidates, however, is that it only encourages them.  And it gives the voters some sense or inner feeling that they might be in control of their own destiny.  “Opiate of the masses,” as one commentator once said about another cultural aspect of life.

Reminds me of the scene from the movie Schindler’s List, where Oscar Schindler sees a train full of Jews parked on a railroad siding on a hot summer day.  The people in the cattle cars are baking inside.  Schindler decides to squirt a fire hose into the cars, to provide the poor souls with some water.  The prison camp commandant, Col. Amon Goeth, watches Schindler, getting all wet as he squirts a high-powered hose at the cars.  The colonel starts laughing and says…  “Oscar, you are soooo cruel.”   Schindler looks at the colonel with bewilderment.  Schindler says nothing, but the look on his face seems to ask…”Hey, you have these people dying of thirst in a cattle car, and you are making fun of me for giving them water.”  Schindler finally gives voice to his outrage, and says something like “What do you mean, calling me cruel?  I am just giving these people some water.”  The camp commander says, “No Oscar.  Don’t you see?  You are giving these people hope.”   Truly, an award-winning moment in cinema.

How do you run a country, anyhow?  In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh was the boss.  Ra the Sun God said so.  That settled it.  Much later, according to Louis XIV, “l’etat, c’est moi.”  If you say so, Lou.  Worked for a couple of generations, until it went to the head of Lou XVI.  (Lesson–After running up big bills, don’t call the National Assembly together.)

In North Korea, Kim Jong Il is the “Dear Leader,” descended from the Great Leader Kim Il Sung, otherwise installed by Generalissimo Stalin himself, “best friend of soldiers & sailors,” as we used to call him.  Primary national policies of North Korea are Juche (internal self-reliance) and “Army First.”   Workers’ Freaking Paradise!

In the US, we have political dynasties as well.  Kim Il Kennedy and Kim Il Bush at the national levels come to mind.  And there are plenty of parent-spouse-child dynasties at the Congressional & state levels.  Kim Il Murkowski of Alaska.  Kim Il Gore of Tennessee.  Kim Il Clinton of Arkansas & now New York.  Kim Il Dingell of Michigan.  Numerous others, but you see my point. 

In some states they just eliminate the dynastic aspect of politics and appoint people for life, like Senator-for-Life Byrd of West Virginia, or Senator-for-Life Warner of Virginia.  Remember Congressman-for-Life Claude Pepper of Florida?  More than 50 years in the same House seat.  Disgraceful, really, when you think about it.  He did not spawn a new idea for, oh… 46 of those years.  Just another white man collecting welfare, I guess.

Still….  all things considered, I would rather be able to vote for my own version of Kim Jong Il than not vote for him.  Gives me hope.  Can I have a drink of water?