Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some Foley-inspired thoughts

I’m not going to speak about the Foley case itself, as at this stage all the facts are not known and the early stage “voice of reason” ground has already been staked out by Chalicechick (as usual- thanks, CC) But there are some general points that I think should be made about the politics game itself.

The public perception of politics is that it’s a dirty game, full of nasty players. But consider- adding the House and Senate together, there are 535 elected legislators; add in the exectutive branch, the cabinet, etc., and you have over 600 powerbrokers, nearly all of them millionaires- some gazillionaires. Name me an industry where the top 600 has a better record of personal integrity and decorum- Hell, if you put the top 600 rappers in the same room with emotions flying as high as they do in politics, you’d have dozens of murders by now.

Yes, politics sound nasty in a network sound-bite, but consider... statiscally, you’d expect a group of 600 to include 60-120 gays; how many legislators are out? Two, is it? (I’m not sure) That’s a lot of people in the public closet- (they can hardly hide it well from each other). Foley was known to be gay to Washington insiders for a decade... yet as long as it was *his* secret, they kept it. Nobody tried to blackmail him into a vote by threatening to out him; nobody punished him for a vote by outing him. In other words, despite the high stakes, his colleagues behaved like ladies and gentlemen. As soon as he was known to have stepped over the line, however, he was out on his ear- a higher standard of behavior than held by the Catholic church!

We have a much better political class than we deserve. For all our talk, the average American doesn’t vote on a regular basis. Fewer still have volunteered to work even a single campaign; the number who routinely work an election is statistically insignificant- there’s not a single state in the union where every poll position is fully manned in any election. Too much money in politics? Neither party spends as much on a Presidential campaign as Coke or Pepsi spends in advertising on a four-year cycle! Fewer people attend political conventions than Star Trek conventions.

I suggest anyone about to make a cynical blog entry about the state of politics in America ask the guy in the mirror if they’re qualified to do so.

1 comment:

The Emerson Avenger said...

"As soon as he was known to have stepped over the line, however, he was out on his ear- a higher standard of behavior than held by the Catholic church!"

And a much higher standard than the Unitarian Church. . .