Years ago there came a TV commercial on NY City television. It showed a guy tumbling out of bed. The scene was grey. The commercial was in black and white. The guy yawned and stretched and scratched and staggered over to a window. He flung it open and stuck his head out.
“Tomorrow morning,” a warm voice intoned. “Rise from your bed. Go to your bedroom window. Throw it open. Take a deep breath of the morning air. It will make you sick.”
This was an ad from an outfit that wanted to clean up New York City’s air.
If you gave me the job of creating an ad for cleaning up our politics it would look a lot like that.
A big poll told us last week that two-thirds of registered voters do not believe Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are honest or trustworthy. In other words, open a window onto our political scene and take a deep breath.
Need I remind you these two lead the parties? How exciting! Don’t you envy the teacher who holds mock elections? To encourage kids to take pride in our elections?
“Miss Johnson, why should we vote for somebody we think is dishonest?”
Well, Melanie, it is the American way.
“You mean like Al Capone and Bugsy Malone? And Boss Tweed?”
Yes, Melanie. You could put it that way.
Wait! A whopping one-third of our voters believe these candidates are honest. Isn’t that encouraging? Aren’t you overwhelmed by this tide of reassurance? One-third!
The poll asked voters to use one word to describe how they feel about a Trump or Clinton presidency. One word. You would think they just came out of a showing of the movie Chainsaw In The Bedroom.
The words they vomited forth were: Scared. Disaster. Frightened. Terrified. Horrified. Disappointed. Yes, Melanie, this is how we feel about our leaders. But…this is much better than how we feel about our Congress.
What little trust we have was kicked in the head this week. After some pressure John McCain’s charity admitted it took in a million bucks from the Saudi government. War hero, Senator Clean.
“Why would a foreign government give so much money to a Senator, Miss Johnson?”
Maybe it’s because they want to buy his vote, Melanie.
“But isn’t it against the law?”
Yes. It is against the law for foreigners and foreign governments to contribute to our elections.
“But, Miss Johnson…”
Hush, young lady. Let’s stay out of the sewers.
The Clintons found ways to get around this years ago. They have taken millions into their foundation from foreign governments and interests. Peddling influence.
Meanwhile, New York City’s current mayor has established a charity. It is a super-sized tin cup. Held under the noses of those who want to deal with the city. Good ol’ Pay to Play.
My father ran a saloon. After he died one drinker told me he never liked my father much. “I didn’t mind him being so much smarter than me,” he said. “But did he have to remind me so often?”
In that vein I think we have to accept that there is some corruption in our politics. But do the politicians have to do it so blatantly? Do they have to shove it in our faces?
A little subtlety is called for. If only for the sake of the kids.
Meanwhile, take a deep breath of our political air. Let me know how it makes you feel. And don’t turn toward anyone you like.
From Tom…as in Morgan.