Since this column has my name on it, this should be obvious: The opinions expressed herein are simply my own to own.
G. K. Chesterton died far too long ago for me to tell him, in this life anyway, how much I love his writing. I do indeed love his way with words and his wit regarding politics (and everything else).
Regarding government in general, he writes, “All government is an ugly necessity.”
Regarding politics, he recommends, “What we should try to do is make politics as local as possible. Keep the politicians near enough to kick them.”
And he continues, deciding that a kick may be inadequate: “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”
His only error, I think, is in giving politicians too much slack.
I’ve taken a few of those online “political typology” quizzes, and I invariably fall into the “Core Conservative” category, a group that accounts for only about 13% of the general population. I’m an even rarer species if you take into account a couple of big elections in which 95% of the 13% and I aren’t exactly on the same page. (Being hard to categorize is fine with me.)
“Core conservatives” have fallen on hard times, but I guess I am one. I’d like to see us actually try free enterprise sometime. I believe that capitalism with its many faults has far fewer faults than any alternatives. It seems clear to me that most governmental attempts to “end poverty” perpetuate the problem and end up being incredibly cruel even as they salve the consciences of well-off elites who need the help to feel good about themselves. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that to vote, folks need to provide the same I.D. they’d need to buy beer or write on themselves with tattoos. I confess: I’ve never been sure why our nation is in any way blessed by “Motor Voter” registration. I don’t think registering should be hard, but if I don’t care enough about voting to at least actively register, maybe I should bless our republic and my fellow citizens by staying home.
So I guess the surveys have me correctly “filed.” No wonder I chuckle with Chesterton about politicians. I am, I admit, a tad squeamish about hangings. A worse fate for politicians these days might be to hang them only if they break out of the luxury hotel we lock them into for a forced vacation where they’re required to actually talk to each other. (Personally, I’d still vote to hang the ones, either party, whose now customary post-election whining about “stolen elections” is equally annoying.)
I do mean a “luxurious” hotel or resort. Make it nice. Beyond comfortable. (But no hiding in rooms. Conversation between political enemies is required.) Feed them well, even lavishly. If we could get them to really talk, human to human (a few may have some humanity left and not be entirely plastic), this would be an incredibly worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars.
Political talk would be off-limits. (Shock collars?) Talk about families, kids, grandkids, and pets, encouraged. No lectures, just maybe board games and conversation over jigsaw puzzles or even cigars, by those not offended by such incense. (Ya know, peace has often broken out over a little legal smoke. Peace pipes.)
I wondered about offering bowling or darts, but overt competition and sharp objects probably should be avoided. Cornhole?
Two weeks, I’d say. On the second, they could be ferried to another fine resort for a change in scenery. Cheap at any price.
During the whole time, no phones. No staff. No calls to staff. No media. No mail, in or out. No grandstanding for fawning followers. No fund-raising letters disguised as surveys written for dunces who can’t spot a rigged question, who can’t wait to be manipulated, and who can’t wait to send checks.
I think my proposal would help us all. Some among “us all” are surely equally committed Christians who hold a wide variety of political viewpoints. We need to remember who our King is and, as one wise person said, realize that “salvation does not arrive on Air Force One.”
The Apostle Paul commands us (1 Timothy 2) to pray for our rulers (one of his was the Emperor Nero who would later kill him) so that we may live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” I like the sound of that.
Anyway, don’t you think that folks from both the ultra-left and the ultra-right have more in common than they like to think? Looking for “salvation” in politics, they take themselves far too seriously to be able to laugh healthy, good-hearted, face-fully-involved laughs, and they almost never utter five syllables: “But I could be wrong.”
Well, I could be wrong. But, for my part, we’re still friends if you disagree.
Copyright 2021 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.