We the Sheep
Am I dreaming, or what? The Republicans are on the ropes, and everyone is surprised that the Democrats cant seem to take advantage of the situation.
But isnt this in the nature of a two-party system when both parties have already failed to give satisfaction? When youre tired of dysentery, does that mean you should prefer to go back to the nausea that preceded it?
Suppose the two big parties were the Prohibition Party and the Vegetarian Party, even though most people like both meat and drink. Are you with me so far? Okay, so the Prohibition Party rules for a while, but prohibiting the consumption of alcohol turns out to be a dubious idea in practice. The voters decide that prohibiting the consumption of meat couldnt be any worse, so they put the Vegetarians in power.
Still with me? Now its illegal to eat meat, but the Vegetarians leave all the laws against alcohol in effect. This comes as an unhappy surprise to the people who thought that either party would at least offer relief from the other one.
Civics for Suckers, Lesson One: In a two-party system, you can get the evils of both parties at the same time. Maybe you voted Republican because you hated the way the Democrats always inch in the general direction of socialism. The jokes on you! The Republicans start a war and simultaneously accelerate the drive toward socialism.
Have you learned anything? If you are a typical American, probably not. So you buy a ticket to Brokeback Mountain and try to forget. At least in the movie the world makes some sort of crazy sense for a couple of hours. Its a world where you know right from wrong and the scenery is gorgeous. The men can choose between women like Anne Hathaway or any of thousands of sheep, so, given the alternatives, they choose each other. Did I mention the great soundtrack music?
Back in the real world, as it is affectionately nicknamed, the war in Iraq is steadily losing favor. Even Bill Buckley, the retired founder of a pro-war magazine, says its time to admit defeat. This causes the magazines current editors, who favor nuking Mecca, to write that Buckleys opinion is premature. After all, the war is not yet three years old, and you have to give these cakewalks at least a decade to work.
Politics is actually a lot of fun, if you observe it with a sense of humor and dont get your hopes up. After all, politicians are basically just like the rest of us, and they behave just the way you or I might behave if we had the power to jail or shoot our creditors. In a democracy, the creditors are called citizens and the really gullible ones are called voters. Look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly, now which category you fall into. Keep the number of your local suicide hotline at hand.
Its bad enough being a citizen, so I decided some time ago not to compound my troubles by being a voter too. This enabled me to see the world with an exhilarating clarity. Suddenly all the politicians bidding for my vote became comical little butts, like the figures in a Bruegel painting. At least I didnt feel I was their butt anymore. Their slave, maybe, but no longer their butt.
Not that politicians really laugh at us. Humor isnt their long suit. Does the wolf laugh at the sheep? In the movie I just mentioned, the sheep are protected by guys who shoot at the wolf. These guys are called shepherds, though in the so-called real world they are called assassins or even terrorists. And the wolf can shoot back, which brings us to Lesson Two: Dont even think about shooting that wolf.
So when the wolf pounces on your lamb, just ignore the pitiful bleating and remind yourself that this is a democracy, where every sheep can freely express its preference for which kind of wolf it wants to be eaten by. Many sheep, perhaps understandably, prefer a wolf in sheeps clothing, which is after all the basic idea of democracy. So far it has worked pretty well. The wolves all agree on that, and they want to spread democracy everywhere.
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