How to Quit

The legislators have not even been sworn into their next terms and already two of them are quitting.  Jesse Jackson Jr. , the US representative from Southwestern Missouri.  You may be wondering why they would run for office if they were not intending to serve for the two-year term.  Most of us in the real world feel a sense of duty to honor the commitment to those who donated their time, energy and money to help us get elected, but that’s because we don’t usually factor in the partisan apparatus behind the scenes.Ideally, we want our elected officials to be people of integrity whose highest purpose is to allow humans to flourish without governmental intrusion.  Yet, the fact remains that the money and power still dictate who wins.When a legislator runs for office, it’s not really about the candidate as much as it is about the party.  Most candidates are like puppets, and those who hold the strings are the ones with a great deal of power.

Where do the bosses get all this power?  The people give it to them when they vote along party lines.  This adds up to a valuable amount of political capital, bought with a great deal of advertising money.  Had Jo Ann Emerson announced a year ago that she didn’t want to be in congress any longer, the voters would have been able to choose their next representative in an open primary election.  Because she first won her election, there will not be a primary.  The party committee members will be selecting the next nominee.

There will likely be candidates from four political parties, but since this seat is populated by voters, who tend to vote overwhelmingly for the dominant party in this district, it will doubtless go to the one selected by the committee.

As long as they can keep us all on the bus,
they can take us wherever the driver wants to go.
Jo Ann Emerson had the seat for 16 years, and since there are no term limits, all the people in congress can reasonably be expected to be in these seats as long as they want them.  We have the illusion of selecting our own people, but it is extremely rare for anyone to beat an incumbent regardless of negative factors.It gets more interesting yet when you consider that should the Republicans select Peter Kinder, then a committee also gets to select the next person who will replace him in his lieutenant governor’s office.  If they pick from someone who is a current office holder, then they get yet another opportunity to select a replacement for that seat.  Once a candidate is selected for an office, the entire power of the party engages with all the money and manpower needed to secure that seat.This happened in my own district when our previous state senator, Jon Dolan, resigned his office from the state senate.  He could have waited a few more months to the end of his term, but since he resigned, it allowed the Party to select the person who would be the most beholden to those who put him there.Most people do not realize how many of these decisions are made without our awareness.  I continue to believe it is possible to select the one who best represents our philosophy, but it is hard to remain hopeful with what we are observing.

That’s why we need to stay strong until the anesthesia wears off and we recover the clear thinking that allowed Mr. Smith to go to Washington.

Your thoughts on how candidates are selected are important to me, so please share what you think here:
Mail to Cynthia

For my birthday this year, my sister gave me some tea in a very special tin.  The caption reads, Keep Calm and Carry On”. Caption on the back:  “On the eve of World War II, the British Government printed 2.5 million “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters.  The aim of this simple five-word statement was to convey to the country a message of reassurance for the troubled times that lay ahead.”  This is a most appropriate message for the condition we are in this year.  What a very English thought!

A Little Bit of Humor…

 What’s He Going To Be 

nA older couple had a son, who was still living with them. The parents were a little worried, as the son was still unable to decide about his future career. So they decided to do a small test.

They left a note on the front hall table for him. Around the note, they put a ten-dollar bill, a Bible, and a bottle of whiskey. Then they hid, pretending they were not at home.

The father told his wife, “If our son takes the money, he will be a businessman, if he takes the Bible, he will be a pastor, but if he takes the bottle of whiskey, I’m afraid our son will be a no-good drunkard.”

So the parents hid in the nearby closet and waited nervously. Peeping through the keyhole, they saw their son arrive. The son read the note that they had left.

Then he took the ten-dollar bill, looked at it against the light, and slid it into his pocket.

After that, he took the Bible, flipped through it, and put it under his arm.

Finally, he grabbed the bottle, opened it, and took an appreciative whiff to be assured of the quality. Then he left for his room, carrying all three items.

The father slapped his forehead and said: “This is worse than I could ever have imagined!”

“What? asked the wife.

“Our son is going to be a politician!”