Parachutes had not been invented

By David Grima | Nov 08, 2018

The Blessed Lord Reginald K. Trumpleton is without doubt the most effective president we have had since 2017, and yet despite this indisputable fact, I must register my deep frustration at our helpless media for the fact that this piece of weekly nonsense has to be written before Tuesday’s elections, just so it can appear in a paper dated two days after the elections.

Why, when compared to these midterms, even the recent mighty explosions on Lawrence Street in the South End pale into mere insignificance, no more worthy of note than a single dropped cymbal in the magnificent symphony of our national life.

Again, the fact that I saw a real live witch walking along in broad daylight near the beach last Wednesday lunchtime would normally be a major piece of important anthropological reporting from our Beloved Neighborhood, but this, too, is forced into the distant background by the sheer monumental importance of these elections.

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I see some local politician is all upset about the comparatively high cost to Rockland of supporting two police forces, both our own Beloved Guys and Gals with Glocks, as well as the County Mounties.

I am now so old that I remember about 20 years ago when the Fearless Leaders of Camden (a town up there somewhere, he explained while pointing vaguely east) also discovered they were paying twice for police coverage, having their own PD plus a bill for the above-mentioned County Mounties.

Back then, as now, it was discovered and reported that the town of Warren pays the least in Knox County for law enforcement, and yet makes the greatest use of it. Much indignation was expressed, and of course nothing changed.

Warren still gets away with calling for the sheriff’s patrol about10,000 times a month, while only paying fifteen bucks and a symbolic loaf of dry bread as its annual share of the total billion-dollar costs.

We all know now what we all knew then: If towns like Warren were required to pay the going rate for the policing they actually use, everyone there would simply run away to Canada.

Anytime anybody gets way more than they pay for, they should be worried that the people who get less than they pay for might someday want to do something about such monstrous injustice!

* * * * *

Pretty tough words, eh? I must admit that I have taken some lessons in harsh rhetoric from my dear mentor, the above-mentioned Blessed Lord Prez, who often visits me in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live, and where we had 92 little visitors on Halloween.

* * * * *

I just finished reading that book I mentioned a week or so back -- not really sure how long ago it was in real time, seeing as how this weekly nonsense was heartlessly swept aside last week to make way for letters to the editor.

Huh. As if there were a single person reading the paper who has not already decided how to vote. Does anyone seriously think a single vote was redirected because of letters in the paper? Anyone who was wavering on how to cast their ballot clearly needs to reduce their medication.

Anyway, about that book, “Can Democracy Work?” by James Miller; he proposes that there is almost no working definition of what democracy really is in the first place, and that whatever system we have is quite different from what many people think democracy ought to be.

Many lovers of democracy, he suggests, harbor dreams of a perfect society where everyone gets to vote on everything, and there are no invulnerable leaders living in the clouds above telling everyone what they think is best for us. Good luck with that, he explains.

Actual attempts to create such direct action by voters in various nations have ended up with people being sick and tired of having to go to tedious political meetings eight nights a week, and in the end they’d just rather not bother.

Please, for pity’s sake, just send us a tyrant, so long as he doesn’t keep asking us to vote about stuff. In some peculiar way, we are told, this is actually how Lenin got to be King of Russia.

Miller says the most democratic constitution we ever saw was drafted by some chap called Condorcet during the Naughty French Revolution in the 18th century, but he eventually became so unpopular with his fellow democratic types that they took him up in a helicopter high over the Atlantic and pushed him out.

Parachutes had not been invented.

Tyrants and Libertines alike all claim to be running functional democracies, and if this is indeed so, then really there is almost nothing else to say on the subject, but Mr. Miller does manage to eke it out over several chapters.

I admired this book, if only for the lesson that it is possible to write reliably at extended length while having little to say. I should be so lucky to have that skill myself.

* * * * *

I note with astonishment that Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that stopped the fighting in World War I. (Actually, it was not then known as World War I, because they had no idea there was also going to be a World War II. Instead, they called it World War A. Not a lot of people know that.)

I had great-grandfathers in that war, and thank goodness they had the sense to be on the same side.

Great-grandpa Workman was, so I am told, in the Welsh Guards, because he was move than 6 feet tall and Welsh, or some such story. We used to play around with his 18-inch bayonet and his binoculars when we were kids.

Great-grandpa Millington, who I believe was Irish, operated a trench mortar in an English regiment, according to his diary, which my cousin Andy dug up a year ago while sorting out his dad’s papers. My grandma and I carried out a diligent search for his bayonet in the cupboard under the stairs in the early 1960s, as the government was a bit unhappy that so many military weapons were still floating about.

We never found it.

Mercifully, both men came home alive. This is lucky for me, possibly also for you, as otherwise there would just be a big blank space on this page.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 08, 2018 15:24

David, David! Much said and nothing worth registering.  So, you are sick and tired, or just fed up with politics?

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