Tuesday, June 12, 2012

JoAnn Emerson's Modest Proposal

What's with the black stars on this American flag? Has the U.S. flag flying in Rep. JoAnn Emerson's Columbia Street office window been--egads!-- desecrated!? (Say it isn't so, Jo-Jo!)
Election season brings its litter of lawn signs enriching sign makers and impoverishing the rest of us. Tempting as it might be to suggest the enactment of legislation to abolish lawns themselves as a way of eliminating the eyesores, one has to assume the pols would find another way to do their electioneering; and since elected officials or their wannabes are not required to take a blanket oath (like doctors, for example) to do no harm, their tactics might include even greater destructive acts such as pounding nails into trees to hang their red, white and blue come-ons, or by further polluting the already imperiled night sky with LEDs.

So unless one has cultivated the kind of selective vision that elides the offending signs from the landscape, it's just another of the crass indignities to be borne in modern daily life. We're forced to look at their banal slogans while driving to the local food pantry to contribute canned goods to our jobless, hungry neighbors (last year in this rural hamlet alone our local food pantry distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of food); or while heading over to yet another fund raising benefit for someone gravely ill fighting the good fight without adequate health “insurance;” or on the way to one of the frequent senseless and tragic funerals for a person in their prime slaughtered on the blood-and-guts-soaked killing fields that are our local highways by yet another drunk because let's face it, there's no public transportation and a very limited and expensive taxi service, and if a tipsy party-goer needs to get from point Alpha to point Omega it's likely going to be behind the wheel of an automobile. I do the best I can to block out the annoying placards from my view and resist allowing them to penetrate my consciousness.

But there is one on the horizon that has somehow darted in under the radar, and try as I might, I can't shake it off. Offered up by career U.S. Congresswoman and professional people person (and golfer?), JoAnn Emerson's campaign sign says: Putting People Before Politics. Now maybe this is where the rubber of my New York cynicism meets the road of my Missouri skepticism, but putting people...? What grip on which club would she even use for that? Is putting people even possible in any meaningful sense? Would they roll and fall into the hole, or just sort of pathetically flop over and convulsively twitch in place?

In theory I understand why she'd want to putt people before politics; and not only because “politics” is how she earns her daily bread ($165,200 per annum) and benefits you and I can only dream of, so the incentive to risk injuring “politics” with her putting iron really isn't there. But still, I'm not liking this idea of putting people., even small dimpled white roundish ones. Furthermore, I'm not quite buying that she does it successfully, as her message implicitly suggests.
I can hear the naysayers out there shouting me down, because, technically, she never claims that she sinks the putts in the hole, just that she makes the attempt. I concede the point, but I find it, if not exactly disingenuous, kind of weak on her part to announce all over her own district, to the very people who hold the power (or so we're told) to vote her back for more of the same ole, same ole that she's flailing around on the putting green; simply going through the motions. Has staff not informed her that even the perception that she may be engaged in false advertising could be extremely harmful to her re-election bid? Have they not advised her to add a clarifying modifier, perhaps something like: Putting (But Not in All Cases Sinking) People Before...etc.?

By now, some of you out there may be thinking that I'm pulling your leg, that I'm making some kind of “statement” about the false, one might say subpar, "choices" routinely presented by the electeds, or how they never really mean precisely what they say or say precisely what they mean, or both. To which I, doffing my plaid golf cap and bowing low from the waist of my pink and lime Lily Pulitzer golf togs, might retort: Play through!

When they go so far as to place the white elephant right there in the window for everyone to see, maybe we should take a freaking clue...? What good is transparency, if no one bothers to look? Or if when they do, they can't see what's staring them in the face?

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