The intersection of anarchy and ennui

Now that the usual gang of idiots has quit being mad long enough to stop playing Hooverball with a federal budget millstone larger than the asteroid that could smite us in 2032, they can get down to the only aspect of their jobs they seem to have no trouble performing.

Running for re-election.

It's no wonder the people contemplate revolution, when they see how revolting their leaders behave. The budget-battle/photo-op/shutdown/slimdown/political-circus/waste-of-time might not be as ugly, painful or earthshaking on the cosmic scale as the debate over the redesign of the Ashland Plaza, but it reminded us once again that we do, indeed, get the government we deserve.

Although it's hard to imagine what we could have done to deserve this.

Politicians treat our financial future as though the answer can be found at the bottom of the Oak Island money pit — just keep digging and digging, because the pirate treasure or Holy Grail or Francis Bacon's original manuscript of "Hamlet" has to be down there somewhere — and never mind the depth of the hole or the sudden whirlpool of agitated seawater drowning our dreams in an eddy of mixed metaphors less comprehensible than the Codex Seraphinanus.

They don't know what to do, so they argue, and fuss, and kick the can down the road (and how perfect is it that this herd of third-graders has fallen upon a child's game as the symbol for their own ineptitude) "¦ all in hopes that we're distracted long enough to get us to their safety place — that peaceful spot where they stretch the truth, run negative ads, take money from outside political groups in exchange for pushing an agenda, and try to pummel their opponents enough to convince voters that they're the person who best represents us.

Now, THAT'S a party! Or two; well, three, if you count the tea party — which, technically, isn't really a "party" (yet), because otherwise 1) they'd have to separate themselves from their ties to the Republicans and 2) the T and P would have to be capitalized, according to the stylebook of The Associated Press.

Maybe we've all just had a bit too much fun with these parties, anyway. Maybe instead of throwing the bums out, we should tell them the party's over.

There's a bit of a move to do that in Jackson County, where the Board of Commissioners has floated a trial balloon toward making that body nonpartisan.

Instead of having an R run against a D (not to mention the role of TP), just have a ballot of candidates for the two soon-to-be-open seats. Not so fast, some knights who say nay countered. How would the voting class see the trees for the forest if they didn't have a nifty Hamburger Helper designation to guide them?

Really? They think we're that stupid? (They may have a point; we're at least 2% responsible for the mess in D.C.) Besides, there are three more legitimate reasons as to why nonpartisan elections are a waste of apparently precious helium.

First, the politicians have no clothes.

Sure, our voting demographic might be losing the ability to make critical choices as we age — at least according to yet another scientific study producing mind-blowing results along the order of a rat that eats an Oreo will want to eat another Oreo — but that doesn't mean we can't tell an elephant from a donkey. We don't need a party affiliation to tether us to a public opinion poll, anymore than we need a movie version of "Fifty Shades Of Grey."

No. 2 "¦ well, there really isn't a second reason, but the Rule of Threes states that you can't coherently make a point (too late for that) unless you list three reasons. There are all kinds of corollaries for this — in designing computer programs, in wilderness survival, in Wiccan energy absorption. You get the idea.

Lastly, the concept of nonpartisanship has become minimalized in American culture. Who orders Neapolitan ice cream these days?

Everything is political — with political alliances drawn over issues large and small. Heck the city of Medford is bucking the state laws regarding medical marijuana dispensaries in favor of enforcing federal laws on the drug's legality.

"State law will trump local ordinances," says State Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland.

"If state law trumps city law, then federal law trumps state law," says Medford City Councilor Chris Corcoran.

I forget how this works, but I know rock beats scissors which beats paper which beats rock.

Mac or PC? TOS, TNG, DS9 or VOY? (Because why would you take political advice from someone who would choose "Enterprise"?) American car or foreign? Beer from the tap or the bottle? Cloth or disposable diapers? Barred owl or spotted owl? Ellipsis, long dash or (worst of all) semicolon?

Don't get me started with punctuation; (argh!) it's hard enough to resist putting a hyphen into "nonpartisan." Still, when it comes to semicolons, Kurt Vonnegut was right: "They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

Meanwhile, as the Board of Commissioners considers nonpartisan representation, the Jackson County Democratic Party is on a search for candidates. The void brought to mind the star-studded telethons the party ran on our TV screens in between the 1968 and 1972 elections to help pay off its debts.

Those were the Nixon years, of course, and the late president was in the news again last week when a journalists group issued a report saying the Obama administration was as secretive toward the press as the man whose (first) vice president called the media "nattering nabobs of negativism."

Obama and Nixon? Cats and dogs? Quisp and Quake? Maybe we've been nonpartisan all this time and were too busy blaming the other guys to notice.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at rgalvin@mailtribune.com.


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