By Cherri Ellis
As I write this, we are 401 days away from the presidential elections, and the ugly is out. Four hundred and one days of posturing, puffery, finger pointing, and sanctimony. And that’s not even the candidates—that is everyone else. You are at a party, and a woman who a moment earlier was charmingly complimenting you on your earrings overhears a comment about the previous night’s debates. Her smile becomes a sneer. She pauses before popping the cheese cube into her mouth and drops a little hate bomb into the atmosphere. For 401 days, we will become increasingly divided. People will forget that it is OK to have an unexpressed thought.
Sure, you need to pick a player and get behind him or her, but the political machine is so big and deep and intricate, you cannot really know a candidate; you only know the personae created by their committees. The individual you see is a carefully coached conglomerate of polls and stats and investments. As money and power feed each other, the truest of intentions can darken quickly. The perks of holding office are plentiful, but I think we can all acknowledge that the best part must be the sex.
It should be listed in the senator’s benefits package, somewhere between the insurance and salary information. “As a member of Congress, you will receive the annual compensation of $174,000 and unlimited sexual opportunity.” Campaign staffers, prostitutes, interns, strangers in airport bathrooms—all up for salacious grabs. I honestly do not know why politicians bother wearing pants at the swearing-in ceremony.
Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” The power bestowed on someone in office is mind-bending. If you cannot get laid, run for office.
Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley is a man who allegedly had lots of sex on our state funded airplane, and I do not mean to be unkind, but he looks exactly like Mr. Burns on The Simpsons, whom we can all agree is not a sexy character. Were he not the governor, I am pretty sure that his pants would not be in play. Plus, it happened often enough that we paid his bodyguard hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime. (Someone had to hold the defibrillator.)
Political asshattery is at its worst when religion is woven all through it. Judge Roy Moore commissioned (with our money) a giant monument of the Ten Commandments for the courthouse. After costing his constituents over half a million dollars in legal fees when he was removed from office over ethics violations, he started a nonprofit called the Foundation for Moral Law. He raised more than half a million dollars in donations, and then took all but $2,500 to pay himself. He used none of it to pay his legal fees, dumping those on us. As the part-time, lone paid employee of the Foundation for Moral Law, he enthusiastically believed in his own innate good. Judge Roy Moore is having a sex scandal with himself.
One person I actually feel bad for is Anthony Weiner. Here is a guy who won seven terms in Congress, never receiving less than 59 percent of the vote. He had a solid record and then, in the ultimate “Reply All” faux pas, he accidentally texted a picture of “Little Anthony” to the world. I imagine him gripping his phone (evidently with one hand) as it hit him what he had done. I see him staring the little “Public” icon, fervently wishing that his last name was Smith.
I actually do not care what people believe; I only care what people do. Kim Davis, for example, should never have been put in jail. That cell should have been reserved for someone who robbed or hurt or swindled someone. Kim Davis should have been quietly removed from her office so that she could go marry her fifth husband and make that Locks of Love donation she’s been putting off. I think those who consider gay marriage to be an effrontery need to remember that it has only been 48 years since interracial marriage became legal. Those who opposed that cited religious reasons as well. Your time is done here, Kim. Thanks for the memes.
The beauty of our government is that it allows us as a society to evolve. I, like many, am concerned that the pure two-party ideology does not serve most Americans. A lot of us live somewhere in the middle, fiscally one way and socially another. The Democratic and Republican platforms are like menu options that allow no substitutions. “You would like the free market enterprise glazed in lower taxes? Oh, sorry, that isn’t served with gender equality, but can I offer you an assault rifle? And you, sir, are looking at the Affordable Healthcare? Let me check with the chef. Hug this tree till I return.”
I am aware that what I have written is an example of what I dread reading. It is nothing but opinion, formed by my experiences and slanted by my bias. If you agree with me, super. If you don’t, equally super. Take solace in my promise that I will never run for office.
Although the perks of a state plane sound tempting.