Wed, Feb 1, 2012 08:10 AM
Few things show our age like how we react to politics. To say
campaigns are different than they used to be is so profound an
understatement as to border on being the beginning of a eulogy. But
they are different.
First of all, the political season isn't a season, it is the whole
year. No matter what the party or person, it goes on and on like
the third day of a bad migraine.
Remember when shutting down the government meant the town clerk
was going on vacation? Conservatives were the ones arguing,
"American love it or leave it" or "My country right or
How about the presidency? Does anyone else recall when it was
about the office, not the person. After elections we used to hold
our noses, rally 'round the flag and go back about our
And when did we become Red or Blue states? Isn't it the United
Oddly, the more excited the news reporting gets, the less actual
news it seems to be reporting. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite
beginning with, "People are saying . . ." or "This reporter heard
another reporter say . . ."?
What about the volume? Reporters, politicians, people being
interviewed, it feels like they are all yelling. There is an old
adage, "Loud words hide weak ideas." If this is true, then
good ideas are becoming more rare than statesmanship.
Well, before we get too worked up here, it might be good to
consider how others have viewed politics in the past:
Winston Churchill, "Democracy is a very bad form of government,
but all others are worse."
Will Rogers, "The only way to keep politicians honest is to keep
them out of office. Eventually, they can become almost as nice as
Mark Twain, ". . . Congress, that national asylum for the helpless
. . . We have the best government money can buy."
Ben Franklin, "We have given you a democracy. Now, let's see if
you can keep it."
Perhaps the worst thing about a democracy is that people get the
government they deserve. After all, we pick them or choose to sit
and home and let others do the dirty work. That sounds a bit
cynical, so perhaps we should try and be a bit more upbeat.
W. C. Fields was going to the polls when a reporter asked for whom
he was voting. "I never vote for, only against," was his
Keep a happy thought.
Aging in Place, it doesn't happen by accident.
Scott Funk is Vermont's leading Aging in Place advocate,
writing and speaking around the state on issues of concern to
retirees and their families. He works as a reverse mortgage
consultant. You can access previous Aging in Place articles at