Lately, several letters (both in our newspaper and elsewhere) have pretty much echoed my thoughts on the current campaign. The ideas of starting the presidential race all over again with new candidates, or of forming the None of the Above Party, give me a faint glimmer of hope.
Regular readers know of my distaste for partisan politics of any kind because it so often (especially in the past few decades) tends to muck up the works and keep things from getting done. I mean, why in the world would we want an actual functioning government? That’s just crazy talk!
Both of the main parties have the unfortunate habit of politicizing that which does not need to be—courts, medicine, science—and then accusing the other side of having done it. It’s an excellent way to introduce some tension that need not be there in the first place.
When judges’ political bona fides are the big factor in determining whether they deserve a seat on the court, that’s a problem because the law, not politics, should be what decides court cases. A judge who votes according to party-line dogma rather than the law is a danger to the very law he is to protect.
What should be considered in choosing a judge are past rulings, judicial scholarship, and how those who work most closely with those judges see them. A willingness to play along with political games should serve as a warning.
Of course we all know about those activist judges—those who rule in ways you don’t like, regardless of legal reasoning. They’re just big doodie-heads, aren’t they? Well … unless they agree with you. Then they’re A-OK!
Also dangerous is allowing politicians to dictate medical and scientific practices. Unless those politicians are doctors and/or scientists, they have no business changing medical terminology, or rewriting the rules of scientific procedure (or even basic math). Medical doctors are the ones who know what procedures are necessary or unnecessary, and that politics don’t belong in the operating theater or the exam room. Reputable scientists, likewise, know that cherry-picking and sloppy methodology are no way to get trustworthy results.
Of course, if that’s what you want, there are always some less-than-reputable actors willing to say whatever you want, facts be damned.
And public bathrooms, seriously? I fear the eyes of paranoid women staring at me in the stall (because they want to make sure I’m a woman) far more than the possibility of a transgender person in the bathroom. Nothing really prevents people from using the bathroom for the other gender now. Laws do, though, already apply to the very behavior these people are against (filming people in the bathroom, sexual assault, etc.), soooo … more laws … yea? Where can I sign up for the potty police?
Where else do politicians not belong? Just about everywhere, as far as I’m concerned, but here are a few more ideas:
Fashion—The world of fashion can be weird enough (those facekini pictures keep showing up in my nightmares), so we certainly don’t need politicians deciding how high hemlines should be or at what age one should stop wearing a bikini (damn those women who still look good in them in their 50s and 60s) or glitter eyeshadow (I think most should just ditch that stuff unless you’re a teenager). And yes, because women are a minority in government despite being the majority in the U.S. population, it’ll be mostly men making rules for women … that seems familiar, somehow …
Aren’t some politicians already sort of doing this, considering their obsession with what’s going on under women’s skirts?
Art—If politicians ran the art world, we’d probably have an awful lot of paintings of dogs playing poker … oh, but that might offend people who detest gambling … or dogs … so I guess we’d have an awful lot of blank canvases. There’d be no flights of fancy such as those from Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali, and painters like Claude Monet and Georges Seurat would be uninspired. Henry Moore’s Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge probably wouldn’t exist.
You can’t exactly legislate creativity without repercussions.
School—Professional educators, not professional politicians, know how best to teach children (it’s kind of their job), and should determine curriculum. That is, unless you know of some heretofore unknown reason we need more politicians in the world. If so, I’d like to book a ticket on the first ship to Mars, thank you very much.
Music—If politicians were in control of music, there’d be little worth listening to … no Prince (too weird, imaginative and sexually ambiguous), Adele (too British and obviously a man-hater), Elton John (gay and questionable fashion sense), Pink Floyd (flying pigs are freaky), Dixie Chicks (they’re girls and hate America) … the list goes on. Tipper Gore didn’t go far enough: Ban all music!
You know I’m kidding, right? Sadly, some people weren’t. They could stand to listen to some good tunes.
Comedy—The best political comedians (like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert) tend to be those who go after both sides; only skewering the illogic of one side quickly becomes boring (uh … Dennis Miller), especially when the same talking points are repeated endlessly. Besides, a lot of politicians nowadays tend to have thin skin and little ability to laugh at themselves … which means they tend to cry “no fair” when hecklers bite back.
And that’s just not funny. Donald Trump’s hair, though … that’s frickin’ hilarious.
And one more: Politicians should keep their noses out of our choices of pets. If I or anyone else wishes to own an enthusiastic border collie or share space with (because no one “owns” a cat) a cranky Turkish Angora, it’s not the politicians’ business.
Depending on the study, dog people may be conservative and cat people liberal or vice versa, and cats are conservative (because they hate change, you know) while dogs are liberal (happy-go-lucky, go with the flow). Dogs, I’m pretty sure, couldn’t care less about politics unless it affects treats and the opportunity to chase squirrels. Cats, on the other hand, are the more likely political animals. It’s just that their politics tend toward anarchy.
And the squirrels really don’t want to know what my cat is planning.