Tricky business, politics

By David Grima | Sep 17, 2020

I heard from a teacher in a community far to the north the other day, that class sizes at her elementary school increased noticeably, because so many summer people are avoiding going home where the Plague reigns supreme, and are sending their offspring to school in her town instead.

You wouldn’t want to make this sort of stuff up.

* * * * *

In August, on our visit to Fort Knox in Waldo County, a terrible thought occurred to me as I was inspecting the multitude of artillery emplacements so carefully built there all those years ago.

Let us assume for reasons quite unfathomable, the British sent a belligerent fleet sailing up the Penobscot a long time ago, probably intending to sack Bangor. Much good that would have done them, of course.

(Although in my opinion, much of central Bangor could do with being sacked right now, so they can rebuild it into less of a concrete jungle. But I digress.)

The bugle sounds the alarm, the soldiers all stand to and the guns are loaded. But the fleet does not appear.

Later, the British ships do show up, as they have cunningly avoided sailing directly under the American guns by sailing up the Eastern Channel which is around the other side of Verona Island instead, and are only now coming into view approximately where the bridge between Verona and Bucksport spans the river.

So, what do our boys in the fort do? For if they begin firing at the rascally British ships as they sail toward Bangor, they run the terrible risk of missing with even just a few shots, all of which will plow right into the Bucksport which by now is right behind the Brits.

In my humble opinion, despite the imposing appearance of the entire military complex, the guns of Fort Knox were as likely to imperil the poor people of Bucksport on the lower Penobscot as to protect them.

What a mercy they never had to fire a shot in anger.

* * * * *

A Knox County deputy is reported to have seen a tiger, last week. Upon closer inspection of my sources, however, he turned out to be from Knox County, Tenn.

Thank goodness for that.

* * * * *

So, city council is thinking of asking voters to decide on a special minimum wage for workers in Rockland, huh?

Obviously, the council doesn’t think much of the idea, or else they would enact it themselves. Instead, there is talk of sending it to a city-wide referendum, even though there has been no petition to do so.

It’s a clear case of “government hiding behind the people,” arranged so certain councilors who have other political ambitions can cross their fingers and hope it passes, without having to vote in favor of it in public.

Tricky business, politics.

* * * * *

The bust of Abe Lincoln at the Rockland library was wearing a blonde wig last Saturday. I think it was a Rodney Dangerfield moment.

If you don’t understand about Rodney Dangerfield, look him up.

* * * * *

Speaking of presidents, I intended to keep this short this week, as I have been getting a bit long-winded lately. But I have been meaning to have a few words with my dear friend, our Greatly Beloved Lord Prez Trumpleton, about his various efforts to pass as a good Christian gentleman.

The chance presented itself last week, when the old boy visited me in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

While his Secret Service bodyguard attempted to count the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse, those feathered monsters who live with me and cause some inconvenience occasionally, Lord Trumpleton accepted a cup of tea and sat down on an old stuffed elephant leg I found at the dump before they closed the swap shop.

I raised the awkward subject of whether the Lord Prez has ever actually opened a Bible, or tried to read any of its several parts. I got what I should have expected: his usual argument that one’s Bible-reading is a private thing and should not be discussed.

In a moment of sudden inspiration, I decided to accept this statement at face value. Furthermore, I decided to assume, for the sake of avoiding an argument, that he has read the whole thing.

“So, of course you will be quite familiar with the idea, put forth by Dear Old Paul, that being right in the eyes of the Lord God should be something that others can detect in our behavior, in our daily lives?” I cautiously inquired.

“Paul?” he replied. “Never liked Sen. Rand Paul.”

Again, I decided to let this go. No points to be gained there.

“How does it go?” I asked, theatrically scratching my head as though expecting the Prez to be able to anticipate where I was going. “You must know the bit I am talking about?”

The Lord Prez took a sip of his tea, and fidgeted on his seat. He tried to attract the attention of his Secret Service agent by coughing, but the agent was having his own problems trying to count the Four Seagulls.

They would sit in a line on the battlements of the west tower, but as soon as the poor agent started counting them, the one that was first counted would drop out of sight behind the battlements and fly across to come up and sit at the other end of the line.

Five times the poor fellow counted six seagulls, and six times he counted five. Anyway, his attention was quite distracted by this task, so he did not get the presidential hint that he should somehow get his boss out of our conversation.

At last the Prez spoke up. “Remind me,” he said.

“Of course”, I agreed.

“It’s the bit that starts off something like this: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

“Oh, I think it’s coming back to me now,” Trumpleton interjected. “But please, do go on.”

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” I continued, using the New International Version’s text. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

I almost decided to leave out some of the next bits, as there are still two or three children living in the South End and, frankly, Paul does not restrain himself for the sake of politeness. But I was now in full flood, and so it all came tumbling out.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

There was a sigh, and I looked up. The poor Prez was sagging visibly, the remains of his cup of tea grew cold. All he could manage was a feeble protest.

“Witchcraft?” he said, half-heartedly.

“Yes, but we call it something else these days,” I hastily improvised. Then I pressed on.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Once he realized I came to the end of my pitch, he thought for a few more minutes and then responded.

“Well, Paul wouldn’t get very far in politics these days, with those sorts of ideas in his head,” he said with some justification. “Not much material for a good rally in any of that, although to be honest I think we could do something with that idea about crucifixion. What the hell kind of politician is he, anyway? Sounds like a Democrat to me.”

Thinking a moment more, he asked, “And what state does he live in?”

Well, I suppose that’s enough of that. I don’t think it made as much of an impression upon the Lord Prez Trumpleton as I hoped.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 18, 2020 04:40

Hope that your words from the scriptures capture the eyes of the religious right.  God gave us all the gift of discernment yet it certainly doesn't seem so lately. 

"As Maine goes so goes the nation."  Hopeful to see Republicans and Democrats both taking part in this rally Saturday: Looking forward to this opportunity for healing!!

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