bwband4bPhil Rice:    Winter Sun  │  Articles & Essays  │  Marketing Pieces  │  Audio  │  Poems  │  Homebwband4b

Writings from the Porch 

August 24, 2017

Political Bewilderment and David Crockett 

Scenario: A man demonstrates time and again that he is unfit for the presidency, that he doesn’t understand even the basics of how our system of government works–demonstrates in recorded speeches, videos and live debates, over and over and over again. What’s more, he never pretends otherwise. And we elect this man president. Now, certain Republican leaders are expressing “bewilderment” at his total incompetence at performing – or even comprehending – the duties of being president.

Which begets the question: How can you be bewildered by something that was easy to see and identify from the very beginning?

But ok, so you are bewildered. Good. Now show that you do understand how our system of government works – and, more importantly, why it works (theoretically) – and place the interests of the country over the interests of your reelection campaign or your party loyalty.

When Tennessee’s congressman David Crockett voted his conscience despite knowing that it would likely cost him re-election (he opposed the 1830 Indian Removal Act, proposed by fellow Tennessean Andrew Jackson, among other things), he was simply following his own aphorism: “First be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” He did, and he wasn’t re-elected. (Crockett was a member of the National Republican party, which is not related to the current party of a similar name. In his day, the concept of a genuine republic was emphasized.) What did he say to the voters? “I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas.”

And being a man of his word, he went to Texas, where he died in what was likely a rather painful manner while fighting for an ambiguous cause that he sort of stumbled into while looking for a new place to play politics. He now lives on as a martyr not of his own making. But I digress. He was a congressman of integrity. That’s the point. The dying at the Alamo part was just a surprisingly well-played ending to a celebrated life. In retrospect, he’d probably agree (though at the time he likely thought, “Well, looks like I really screwed the pooch this time.”)

So, in summary, if you nurtured the ignorant poisonous snake all the way to the White House (or whatever restricted country club he prefers), don’t act so damn “bewildered” that he’s an ignorant poisonous snake. Just try this for a change: “First be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” (And being “right” doesn’t necessarily mean what’s best for you, you selfish bastards.)