26 May 2010

Politics, Honesty and Our Flag, and By God Stand Up When Our Flag Passes By

The Dumbest Rumor, The Silliest Hope or the Blackest Deal

The nastiest and most insidious rumor is running around. Recall, if you will, Alan Mollohan, our incumbent Congressman, lost the primary election to State Sen. Mike Oliverio. Actually, Oliverio handed Mollohan his ass on a silver salver. He did so by a vicious negative campaign not done with the acme of skill, but since Mollohan had been taking it on the chin in the press for years and had not responded effectively, the attack campaign was more than enough.

And now, some strong Mollohan supporters appear to be putting together an independent run or write-in campaign for the general election.

Unless these people are smoking weed, this is I’m-having-a-baby-by-an-alien, Elvis-is-my-next-door-neighbor, the-CIA-shot-Lincoln thinking. Calling it moronic is an insult to all decent, law-abiding morons. These rumors must have the Republican candidate, David McKinney, laughing himself silly.

Let me tell you a little known political secret: Republicans are much more dependable straight ticket voters than are Democrats. Voting a straight ticket means that the voter simply marks the ballot once which enters a vote for everyone running on one party’s ticket. The difference betweem Democrat straight ticket voting and Republican straight ticket voting is that Republicans go through the entire ballot race by race and vote for each Republican separately so that they can pretend that they gave a great deal of thought to their choices. But either way you vote the straight ticket, the result is the same.

Not three Republicans in the district are going to cross party lines to vote for Alan Mollohan. Not five Republicans in the district are going to cross party lines to vote for Mike Oliverio. The only votes which Mollohan will take otherwise would go to Oliverio. Oliverio whipped Mollohan once, and the party loyalists will move to Oliverio. Oliverio showed that he has financial backing, and so the bloodbath will continue and Oliverio will wax Mollohan again, only this time the upshot is that Alan is campaigning for a McKinney victory. Brilliant. Just brilliant. It’s hard to say if this would be the result of idiocy, an unusual political deal or totally black under-the-table chicanery.

Here’s a clue: Sometimes Mr. Reality whispers in your ear. Sometimes he shouts. Sometimes he kicks your ass. That’s when it’s time to shut up, smile, and take one for the team.

Thank You For Being Honest??

About twice a week I blow through McDonald’s for a McCrap breakfast. This morning I went through and ordered a McBagel and McTea. I paid with exact change, which is one of my little quirks. I pulled to the window, and the window guy handed me a huge bag that must’ve weighed 6 or 8 pounds, and was full of a dozen or more wrapped sandwiches, etc. I told him that wasn’t my order and he told me sure it was, have a nice day, come again, and so forth. No, no, no, I told him, it’s not my order, give me the McBagel and McTea. Okay, no big deal, he finds my order and gives it to me. But then he says “Thank you for being honest.” What the hell?! We’re now at the point that you give somebody an extra little thank you if they are honest? We now assume that if someone has a fair shot to jam us, they’ll do it, and it’s a big favor if they don’t? So we owe them a BIG thanks? That’s warped, and while it may not be huge in and of itself, but it’s another bit of information for us to consider as we analyze where our culture is at.


I frequently appear in court in Grafton, the county seat of Taylor County. I have a particular affinity for Grafton. I really love the people down there because they are just my kind of people. Nobody gets real excited unless there’s something to get real excited about, everybody does their work, a handshake is a deal, everybody’s word is good, and there is a culture of respect in that courthouse which is missing in 80% of the courthouses in West Virginia. Also, my family's West Virginia history started in Taylor County in 1799.

I was driving down Route 250 toward Grafton the other day and actually driving a moderate speed and just enjoying a cool and sunny day & sucking down a cuppa joe. Right after I passed the tee-tiny community of McGee and was heading up the hill, I saw coming toward me in the other lane the Boothsville/Company 15 fire engine from the Harmony Grove substation. (Isn’t that a beautiful name for a little community, Harmony Grove? For some reason, that is considered the ancestral seat of the Curry/Currey family.) The driver was taking 250 at a moderate speed because in that part of the county, fire engines have pretty large water tanks and are unusually heavy. Well, you know me, I love the job and the people on the job. When the engine passed, I looked in my side mirror and saw an American flag flapping no kidding majestically in the breeze as it was attached to the end of the ladder. That is, I think, such a nice thing.

And then I think back to the school administrator in California who ordered – ordered! – high school students to remove T-shirts with American – American! – flags on them because it was Cinco de Mayo and they might offend students of Mexican extraction. Permit me once again to quote Pres. Theodore Roosevelt’s view on immigration, which I heartily endorse:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else. [No, I did not change the gender thing. That’s the way he spoke. He was wise, not infallible. Learn from it.]

If we are going to guard the borders so that no one other than our clones can become citizens, let’s tear down that Statue of Liberty and melt the copper into pennies and wiring, because that stirring poetry inscribed at its base is so much empty crap:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Open the door. And let the new citizen-candidate become American. It’s a two way street.

And as always, Pippa passes.


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