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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Politics, the only "real" sport for men?

True story:  years ago, I was at a Penn State Harrisburg Alumni Society awards dinner, and there some state legislator being honored for some inane reason.  During his acceptance speech, he actually said something along the lines of "politics is the only real sport for men".  I heard that and my jaw dropped.  Livid?  That was an understatement.

What was my thought bubble saying?  It was something along the lines of "buddy, I know some folks in the private sector that have chunks of guys like you in their stool".

Flash forward and I think of that speech every time I see some arrogant politician posturing in the media.  It doesn't matter what level of government they work in, because for that ilk the game is the game, no matter where they play it.  It is as if they get some kind of collective amnesia, forgetting that a politician is, in essence, nothing more than the winner of a popularity contest who then gets to play with my money.  They produce nothing original.  They exist simply to keep the skids of society clear of obstructions and fully greased.  Most of them can't even manage to get the "greasing" part right though, as recent history is full of examples where politicians seem intent on more self than public service.

What do to?  I don't really know.  The person that wins the popularity it in junior high or usually the person with the overly healthy, self-serving ego.  It just seems to come with the territory.  Part of me thinks that term limits are ultimately part of the solution.  That means throwing out some good politicians, but let's be honest:  how many really are all that good?  Seriously, take stock of what we have had in NEPA.  Ray Musto.  Bob Mellow.  Skrep-Daddy.  Should I continue?  The fact is that the acquisition and retention of personal power is now seen as an entitlement of public service.  It has become the equivalent of health insurance.  

Politics is not the only real sport for men.  Scranton City Council President Janet Evans proves that statement is factually wrong every time I see her on television.   What it has become is the only real sport where the winner is predetermined before the game ever begins.  That's because the people playing the game...the politicians themselves...are free to make up the rules as they go along.  

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