I keep telling myself that. I tell myself over and over.
I will not write about politics. I will not write about politics. I will not write about politics. I will not write about politics. I will not write about politics….
I chastise myself, delete two hours worth of political bullshit I struggled to write cleverly and wittily, and failing, deleting it all, I punish my guilty self with the sentence of writing it five hundred times: I will not write about politics. Thank goodness for a word processor and cut and paste.
“I will not write about politics,” I say to myself.
“You shouldn’t write about politics,” many others have told me.
“But this is my blog. I’ll write about whatever I want,” I reply to them all, in much the same manner as the late Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter derided his constituents in a Town Hall meeting in the fall of 2009, right before his defeat. Perhaps his time had passed, anyway, but things didn’t go so well for Arlen.
“All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient,” the Apostle Paul whispers in my ear. Hmmmmm! I mull that over for a bit. Arlen Specter or the Apostle Paul? Which one should I listen to?
“Go ahead. Indulge yourself. Get it all off your chest. Let your political opponents have it with both barrels. Fire away. You have every righteous right to be smug at this time. Rub their noses in the doggy doo-doo,” another voice whispers in my ear. I know that voice. It is tempting, I’ll admit, but no one ever profited from the temptations from that voice. I didn’t bother to reply, knowing that engaging me in a “rational” debate was a snare used by the owner of that voice. I just offered myself the reply, “You mean ‘self-righteous’ right.” I kept that to myself and sought out other voices from the din of the universe. The bad one was gone nearly as soon as I resisted it.
“I will not write about politics,” I reminded myself, again.
So…I am not writing about politics, but about my not writing about politics, recognizing that it is the worst sort of vanity to actively engage in telling you what I am writing about as you are reading it. That puts me in mind of the pundits who are constantly telling me the meaning of the things I just heard someone say, when I heard them say it, am familiar the definition of every word they used, and understand the nuance of language and its nature to reveal or conceal. Why do I need an interpreter? Maybe the wiseacres need for me to need one. Perhaps their rationale is the same as the one I am using here: actively interpreting for you what I am writing about.
“A dog returns to his own vomit, and a fool to his own folly,” King Solomon shouts across the room, adding, “A wise man keepeth his tongue.”
I suppose knowing the difference between the vomit in the trough and the feast on the table is a good thing. The table was spread and many were shocked at its portions and its fare, but they soon returned to their own vomit; it was only a matter of hours. I thought this to myself. I did not say it to anyone, nor point my fingers at those who rushed back to the trough, nor did I join them. I could see what was in it, so I held my tongue. Let them eat their fill.
“I will not write about politics,” I reminded myself yet again.
“This I harder than I thought,” I sighed. Having nothing that will contribute anything useful, it is better to be silent. Having no original thoughts, it is better not to share the regurgitations of others, now twice or thrice digested, ruminated over, and rejected.
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like him,” King Solomon says to me in King James English. Then he adds, “Answer a fool according to his own folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
“Well, which one is it, O wise one? Which course wouldst thou have me follow? Answer the fool according to his folly, or not?” I ask in my own King James English, since, in all likelihood, Solomon will no doubt think me wiser for having done so.
“You figure it out if you choose to answer a fool. Perhaps the best course is not to answer a fool at all,” he says, his King James English gone, then vanishes in a cloud of fog, smoke, and dust, a pair of hedge clippers in his hand. I must have caught him in his gardening phase. He left me with a gem. Having read this all these years and seen the conflict in the two adjoining sentences, it is now very clear to me what he meant. Why did it take me so long?
“Never argue with a fool.” said Mark Twain, “He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” I can’t argue with that. It’s simply brilliant. Yet, I have been arguing this whole time.
Who have I been arguing with, you may ask?
I laugh at out loud at that thought.
“I will not write about politics,” I said to myself.
“You win,” my self said to me, grinning.
I could not help but grin back.
I will offer something about the nature of politics, though. If the election did not go to suit you, there will be another one, sooner than you think. If it did go to suit you, then remember, there will be another one sooner than you think. The whims of the political process in this country change every two years or so, and sometimes faster than Imelda Marcos changed shoes. The most likely thing that will happen is this: the party in charge soon discovers its incompetence at governing. They usually make this discovery shortly after the people.
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp