The election of fools by a legion of fools

June 26, 2011|By ART CALLAHAM

I just can't help it; I've got to give you my take on recent activities at the very top of our nation's elected food chain.  Yes, I feel compelled to comment about "Weinergate," or maybe it should be "Weinerpics."

First, let me start with a little history and background about the elected and appointed hierarchy in our nation today. Most of you know all of this, but bear with me. We have an elected president and vice-president, a Congress made up of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, plus 100 senators and a Supreme Court comprised of nine appointed justices.  

If you're counting, that totals 546. For purposes of my thoughts, I'm going to round the 546 up to 600 so that I can include a few appointed "czars," some members of the president's "real" cabinet, and maybe the Federal Reserve folks.  So it's 600, or so, at the top of the leadership pyramid for our nation.

These 600 folks make, execute and adjudicate most of the laws that ultimately affect our lives. These 600 control the collecting and spending of most of the tax money you pay. These 600 send us to war, conclude wars and generally protect us from threats of war.  These 600 control the coining of money as well as the governmental borrowing of money.

These 600 impact public education, retirement, health care, transportation, welfare, banking, food safety, farming, labor, management, manufacturing, retail, tariffs, the rights of states and almost any facet of life you can think of.

These 600 are extremely powerful, hopefully intelligent and of high moral character, not currently using illegal drugs, trustworthy, loyal, brave, honest and totally focused on the well-being of all Americans.

That leads me to the thesis for this column: Don't we, as Americans, at any level of government leadership, deserve better than in some cases we have received?

The population of the United States is (give or take your fear factor concerning the number of undocumented folks) approximately 300 million.

What percentage of the total population is the "top of the heap" leadership? Or, what percentage of the 300 million Americans is the 600? Well, it's two millionths of 1 percent; or written out, it's 0.000002 percent.

If my math is wrong (did I ever get confused doing this simple calculation) let's just conclude that 600 compared to 300 million is not a very high percentage. In fact it is miniscule. So why can't we as Americans get it right — in other words, why can't we elect and/or assure appointment of 600 "righteous" and "not stupid" people to the top leadership positions in our nation, just 600 out of a population of 300 million?

Righteous simply means: characterized by acting in accordance with accepted standards concerning morality, justice, virtue and/or uprightness.  Not being stupid means: not being tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; not being inane or pointless.

My friends, the "Weinergate" principal's actions (remember he was one of the "top" 600 by position) were surely inane, pointless, tediously dull and lacked meaning or any sense. (My mom will turn in her grave because she didn't like me to use the stupid word.)  His actions were stupid!  

And let's not forget that his actions were not anywhere near righteous behavior either. Those actions were not in accordance with accepted standards of morality, justice, virtue and uprightness.  

He was far from being righteous. Yet isn't righteous and sensible (not stupid) the least we deserve from the top 600, or more so, from any leader at any level of government?

This is not a column about how an elected leader votes or about the decisions an appointed leader makes. This is not a column about political parties, for God only knows that a lack of righteous behavior and just plain stupidity have never recognized party lines, races, cultures, income levels or religion. Like Forest Gump's Momma said: "Stupid is as stupid does."

This is a column about us, you and me. To quote an unknown source: "Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their Prince."

Although neither you nor I elected Mr. Weiner, I hope that his resignation and ultimate disgrace is a wake-up call to all of us to be careful who we elect as prince.

Art Callaham is a local community activist and president of the Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees.

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