Of course, it's all about the money.
No matter the issue, the argument, the melodrama, the PowerPoint presentations, the media availability (especially that), the mudslinging, the charts and graphs, the statistics, the empathy, the rain, the finger-wagging, the exasperated sighs, the eyebrow crunching, the bait and switch, the political maneuvering or the photo op "¦ at the end of the day, it's all about the money.
And that, clearly, shouldn't be earth-shattering news.
Hardly news at all, to tell the truth. It's as clear as the second-oldest Golden Rule: Those who have the gold, rule.
Take our Cover Oregon. Please.
Our state representative (who is running for governor) and our U.S. representative (who is head of the national committee charged with getting members of his party elected or re-elected to the House) are asking for an investigation into the state's $300 million health exchange for "potential waste, fraud and abuse."
The key word there is "potential." Not "actual" waste, fraud and abuse — because those haven't been proved as of yet. But, we are led to believe the administration of the governor from the other political party has purposely bungled the rollout of our version of the health care program championed by the POTUS of the other political party.
Whatever you think of Cover Oregon, it's almost safe to say that the website has crashed and burned nearly as badly as several American favorites in the Winter Olympics. Which has given political opponents a portal into making the debate not about medical plans, covering the uninsured, a safety net for those with pre-existing condition "¦ but the potential waste, fraud and abuse of $300 million.
The Bitcoin's an easier concept for those of us with votes at our fingertips to grasp.
Global warming? About the money. Medical marijuana dispensaries? About the money. Genetically modified vegetables, immigration, alcohol in grocery stores, tribal casinos? About the money, about the money, about the money, about the money.
Teacher strikes? "¦ Nah, that's about the children.
There was a major league baseball player named Mike Hampton, who exercised his right as a free agent to explore those teams who'd want his services. He made an infamous decision to take his talents to the Mile High City — which at that time was a graveyard for pitchers — because, among other things, he said he was impressed with the Colorado school system.
And the $121 million, eight-year contract. Hampton lasted two seasons with the Rockies, whereupon his children were moved to the Atlanta school system.
It's always about the money. And control. Controlling the money, controlling the story, controlling the minds of those who are busy doing other things while life is happening, controlling the future.
Take our recent weather. Please.
Massive snowstorms in the East, scorched earth in California and Oklahoma and other states that you wouldn't think were political bedfellows, the Great Lakes region freezing over (yes, even Hell, Mich.)
In Jackson County, we've had record rainfall and been put on notice for a drought designation in the same 24-hour period. A perfect storm of Schrodinger's Cat conditions "¦ and both equally accurate.
"So much for global warming," my father-in-law says of the Northeast snowmaggedon from the relative safety of his artificial light, recycled air, manmade parks and asphalt trails of that most artificial of all states "¦ Florida.
Not the man's fault; he's a great guy with a wonderful daughter and a lousy cribbage game. He's just spent too much time planted in front of TV sets and radios, listening to the mantra of those who control the message that any human contribution to the systematic dissolution of our environment and its weather patterns is crazy talk based on wacky science.
That, and trying to quixotically attempt to stop it would a) beget billions in potential waste, fraud and abuse while 2) taking jobs (and money) away from (the control) of those (powerful) companies that fund our political campaigns.
So, it's all about power. Money plus control equals power. Again, nothing new. We all learned this from the moment we realized that our parents had this magical ability to send us to our rooms. And we'd actually go.
Take our medical marijuana dispensaries. Please.
The federal government says one thing. The state says another. Our local city governments are saying all sorts of things, trying to find some middle ground that will satisfy more people than those it will upset. It's called maintaining a sense of order, maintaining authority to create and enforce laws.
A health issue, a moral issue, a generational issue, a cultural issue, a public safety issue "¦ medical marijuana is a veritable roulette wheel of philosophical argumentation. One that, at this stage, seems destined to continue spinning.
Meanwhile, states across the country are getting the munchies watching the legalized marijuana lab tests play themselves out in Colorado and Washington. Will they work? Can they be controlled? Will it make money? And who will get it?
Ask yourself this: If legalized marijuana led to state revenue that was earmarked for local cities and towns for schools and libraries, would you vote for it "¦ even if you had to bend your ethical priorities into a Mobious strip and hold your nose to do so?
So, it's all about the money, and the power and the control, and the money. Or is it — as Spock said after welcoming certain death in a radiation chamber to save the Enterprise — the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, or the one?
Take your time. Please.
Time may be money, James Taylor wrote, but money buys us no more time. Whether there's an afterlife, reincarnation, a timeloop or wormfood in our future, power, control and, certainly, money are not there to take with us.
That's not news, either. At least, it shouldn't be.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at email@example.com