Summary: More humor on the FM website, a funny circulating to American chuckles around the web. It says something about us. Something sad.
The Wizard of Oz
appeared on screen in 1939.
Today, if Dorothy were to meet men
with no brains, no hearts, and no balls,
she wouldn’t be in Oz.
She would be in Congress!
This is the traditional mocking of our elected officials. Easy laughs are fun. Working to elect better people is difficult. In a real Republic the former preceeds the latter.
Why is this this not funny (good political humor requires a truthful foundation)? First, Our representatives in Congress are near the top of the American food chain, very successful in worldly terms, overcoming often fierce competition for their offices. Few are stupid in any realistic sense of the term.
Second, western political theory — and much of modern thinking about leadership — says that leaders should be cold in the sense of thinking with their brains, not their hearts or balls. The opposite kind of people are bleeding hearts, not a compliment in most circles.
We pull the levers every two years electing these people to Congress. Our inability to think clearly about what we want in our leaders is an example of OUR dysfunctionality. Not theirs.
These jokes are not funny. They are sad for what they say about us.
Top Secret US Government Documents about Iraq, 11 February 2006 — This is hilarious in an insightful way. Oddly, many readers did not get the joke. Our Editor threatened horrific consequences should any more humor be submitted.
3 thoughts on “Very funny. But the joke is on us.”
Re: “Our inability to think clearly about what we want in our leaders is an example of OUR dysfunctionality. Not theirs.”
You are certainly correct that making jokes about our leadership class is a cheap and easy way to feel as if one is doing something, while not actually doing anything substantive to change things. Point granted – but your assertion that Americans are unable to think clearly about our political class is at best an unsupported assertion. Plenty of citizens have thought long and hard about the daunting problems facing the republic, including this writer, and would like nothing better than to have more ethical, effective and moral leadership in places like the halls of Congress. The rub of the problem isn’t thinking about it – anyone can do that – it is taking action. The truth is that there are fairly few legal courses of action left to the American people to effect real structural change in Washington.
What Bill Lind calls the “establishment party,” has had many decades to barricade itself behind a formidible barrier of rules, laws, regulations, red tape and gerrymandering – to say nothing of the physical barriers that now stand between the permanent political class in Washington, and the common person. Conventional work-arounds such as formation of alternatives to the GOP/Democrat shell game, such as a third party, are nearly impossible to carry off these days, so high are the barriers to their formation. Writing letters to Congress, op-eds, e-mails, fax blitzes, calls to to your representative’s office… none of these has much effect these days. That is, unless, as Lind says, “… you have recently donated at least a thousand dollars to your Congressman.” a third choice on all ballots, “None of the above,” would surely be a popular choice, but don’t hold your breath waiting to see it passed by the Demicans and Republicrats… they won’t do it, at least not willingly. Nor will they allow the passage of the many other common-sense and practical measures that could reform how our govt. does business. Too many powerful people benefit from the system being exactly as it is. That’s how it is when your nation and its government are in the grip of a criminal class.
History shows that mass demonstrations, strikes, and other similar actions can serve as levers for change. Following that, there is willful civil disobedience, such as that done by Gandhi and MLK.
Grassroots organizing can contribute to both of these strategies. Next in line is insurrection and revolt. For these, we face a classic prison break dilemma: every inmate wants to break out of the prison in which he is detained, but everyone knows that the first guy to scale the wall will get gunned down, and perhaps the second… and so on. No one wants to be that first guy climbing the wall. So here we sit, while our nation goes to hell in a hand basket.
John F. Kennedy once said, quite wisely, “Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible, will make violent ones inevitable.” So, where does that leave us now?
FM reply: You raise many important questions, all discussed in other posts on the FM website. See America – how can we reform it? Two brief points of clarification.
“of citizens have thought long and hard about the daunting problems facing the republic”
First, that is an misreprestation of the narrower point I made. Second, speaking of Americans means us — together. Collective responsibility and collective action. It does not describe each individual.
“The truth is that there are fairly few legal courses of action left to the American people to effect real structural change in Washington”
If excuses made a great nation, we would be the greatest ever. News: we hold elections every two years. No goons hold our hands when we mark the ballots.
Fabius, re: “News: we hold elections every two years. No goons hold our hands when we mark the ballots.”
True, but on the other hand, no “hand-holding” is necessary. The game has been rigged well before that point. Our major political parties have a stranglehold on who gets on the ballot and who does not. A choice between a “blue team” crook and a “red team” crook is no choice at all.
“If excuses made a great nation, we would be the greatest ever.”
Fair enough. Let’s quit making excuses… what course of action do the writers here at FB recommend then?
FM reply: All good points! I am politically active in my community and write for the FM website (attempting to be a small-scale Thomas Paine). To see a larger set of solutions see section 8 at the FM Reference Page America – How Can We Reform It?
I disagree with this articles. Most Americans know what they want – to get more, but pay less. Look at our Young Turks –
* Paul Ryans: Reduce Federal spending to 1920s levels, and reduce unemployment to below 3%.
* Michele Bachmann: Reduce the price of gas to below $2 a gallon.
* Ron Paul – get rid of the Fed and the income tax, and balance the budget!
All exactly what we want to hear – vague, impossible promises, based on fear of largely imaginary problems.