Politicians: No Worse than We Deserve

There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth in the land right now about politicians, along with the usual jokes about them being leeches, and lawyers being politicians in larval form, and all that.  “Everyone knows” that politicians always lie, that they’re all corrupt, etc. etc. etc.  

Well, what in the nine hells do people expect?  We get the politicians we’ve asked for.  The reason there are so many assholes in government isn’t that power attracts the corruptible, but that we’ve made it so only those who play the game can get elected.  

Only those who impress the right people can get the money to run for higher office.  Honest, hardworking types might become school board members (ha!) or city board members, but they’re probably not going much higher than that without playing some games and getting some nice contributions to their election funds.  

We can pretend all we want that we live in an egalitarian society, but how many “average joes” have been elected to the highest offices in the land in the last fifty years?  Ever? 

Then there’s the way we choose our candidates.

For years now, certainly my whole life, we as a public–not you, necessarily, and sometimes but not always me, but we the American public–have voted for or against amendments, as well as Measures and Propositions, not on whether or not those things are good or bad for the city, state, or nation, but whether or not we agree with them personally.  And that’s ok, really.  

Where it’s NOT ok is when we choose our representatives that way.  We should be electing those who are most likely to go the way we want, sure, but the important thing is that we should be electing those who will use their minds to make decisions for us (because like it or not, that’s what our representatives do in a Representative Democracy, or Republic) based on two things: the facts, and what’s best for the nation.  Not on one or two issues that we think are more important than they probably are. 

Many voters pick one or two issues they are really passionate about, and then they elect largely based on those pet causes.  Who cares if Candidate A has a great economic policy; he wants to make gay marriage illegal!  Who cares if that guy supports gay marriage, he wants to abolish prayer in federal buildings!   Let’s elect this idiot who has NO WORKABLE IDEAS AT ALL, because he hates the Department of Education as much as I do!  Woohoo!!! Hey, look, a handbasket!! Why’s it on a zipline going down?  

As long as we insist on electing only those people who pass our singular litmus tests, instead of the candidate who overall will use his or her head more than their wallet to vote, then we’re going to get jerks in office.  

Getting things done: Pass/Fail

Let’s see… Summer Checklist:

1. Get Blue Room Cleaned and turned back into an office/guest room: 99% COMPLETE (Just need to find homes for a few more things that go in other rooms, then touch up the paint on one wall, then get a desk, which might be a while).  We’ll call this one a PASS. 

2. Get healthier, lose weight: Working on it; still losing weight overall but I could be better about exercise. This week I’ve kind of blown it on the food front. But I’m re-energized as of today. We’ll call this one INCOMPLETE.

3. Write book: NOT EVEN CLOSE. I had hoped to work on it a lot this summer, but I’ve barely touched it.  The reasons are varied and probably excuses.  We’ll call this one FAIL.  

Not a good average, really. 

Friday Fragment

This week’s fragment is from a piece of in-game writing I did when I ran a superhero game a few years back.  The game was a sort of “quantum pulp” game, where the tropes of pulp are applied to 21st century science rather than 19th century science.

The game didn’t last, sadly.  This was to set the stage, starring an NPC who would have eventually either walked away from the story or been killed.  The story had the usual RPG mix of sturm und drang, but didn’t work out for a lot of reasons.  Anyway, on with the story…

I’m sorry.

In a dark room, a lone man sits alone, his hands steepled under his chin. He stares out the window at the growing storm, his face lit only by the lightning that cracks the sky every few moments.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry it’s over.

Once, he’d been a lone crusader. A member of the Shou Ling Brotherhood, the scion of the order’s Founder, he was raised in the temple, steeped in the martial arts of his people. He learned, also, the ways of Taoist sorcery. He was forged by the Brotherhood to be the purest expression of their art – to be the Wujen, whose life’s work is to protect the world from the Dark.

Tai Han went to America, and there fought the Dark alone for years, before he was approached by a blind man who fought as if he could see, and controlled forces even the Wujen did not understand. He told Tai Han of the League, a group of men and women possessed of extraordinary powers, who banded together to protect the world – who fought the Dark in the shadows, away from mortal eyes. And he offered Wujen a place among them. And the Wujen accepted.

For ten years, he fought alongside them. He was their colleague, but he was also their friend.  Angela, whose gentle nature belied the ferocity with which she fought; Adam, who remembered Eden, and fought a futile war to get it back; Jeremiah, who left his beloved cornfields to fight Mr. Scratch, and lost his sight to the Sisters of Pain; and Thomas … Thomas, who every day lived with the knowledge that he would die screaming, who knew the moment it would happen, and did nothing to escape it.

Now they’re all gone, he thinks, and he remembers the end. Not more than a week since he watched them all torn apart, killed by the demonic horde summoned by the sorceror they sought.  Only the Wujen had escaped, and that barely – his ribs cracked, his left arm broken, his side bleeding.  The Librarian had tended to his body’s wounds, but only time would have a chance at healing the wound in his soul.

But he would find others. The Librarian had given him a list of possibilities. Now he would track them each down, and make them the offer he had been made so many years ago. It was time for a new League. Time for new heroes.

The best laid plans…

So summer started, and I was all fired-up to write and convinced I’d have time.

What in the Nine Hells was I thinking?

My typical day starts about 7-7:30.  I wake up, get un-groggy, and then wake my four year-old daughter up.  I’d love to let her sleep so I could write or read or something, but the reality is that if she sleeps too long, she’s a mess all day, and takes forever and a day to get to sleep that night.  If I let her sleep longer than 8am–which is about an hour and a half longer than she sleeps during the school year–then she won’t go to sleep until 11pm, and even my prodigious laziness can’t justify that mess.  She goes to bed around 7:30, and could go to sleep anywhere from 8:15 to 9:00 most nights as it is.  I’m not going to let it go further than that on purpose.

So anyway, I wake her up, feed her, clothe her.  We’re supposed to be going on bike rides together, but various factors lately have made that happen less often than it should, so I really need to get my ass in gear and stop letting her derail me.  The afternoons are for her swimming lessons and play time, and she can watch something on TV while I make dinner before her mom gets home, then the TV goes off most nights until she’s in bed.

I could, theoretically, write after she’s in bed.  And I ought to.  But it’s so easy not to.  And the only thing more powerful than my need to write this story is my need to relax, and when your brain has been fried by a four year old, it’s hard to get the writing done.  Don’t get me wrong–I love hanging out with my baby girl, but she is a precocious little thing, and she can be hard to keep up with.

 _______________________

On the fiction front, I figured out a problem.  I could not get through some scenes at a lawyer’s office–they just came out dry and stupid.  I finally figured out that I don’t need to write the scene at all–I can pick up hours later and have my viewpoint character just tell the reader what happened in about a paragraph.  None of it is vital, and the first-person narrative frees me from it coming off like an infodump (I hope.)  So I’ll go try to get that done when I close this entry.

This weekend I’ll be going camping with my daughter, as well as two of my three sisters (technically my cousins, but really my sisters, see below.  One’s 19, one’s 21–yes, there’s a 19 year difference between me and the older one), my aunt/mom (same person. Biologically my aunt, emotionally my mom since the death of the actual mom when I was a kid), my uncle, and… actually, I think that’s it.   We’ll go quadding, I’ll take my kid swimming in the creek, and hopefully get some more ideas for blog posts as well as chapters.  No computers coming with me (no power for them), so I’ll see you all on Monday.