15 August 2015

Is That a Banana on the Counter or are You Just Writing on Various Topics? Banana Purchase, Walking on Egg Shells and Something Serious About Politics

Buying bananas at Walgreens. Who knew it would be such a rich trove? I've written before about this phenomenon and it is here linked. I there covered in detail the questions, the so very many questions that one must satisfactorily answer before walking away with a banana or two or three. Such as whether a bag or a receipt will be needed. And if one pays with "a card" there are electronic questions about cash back and if the amount is acceptable.

Yesterday I placed my bananas on the counter and dug into my wallet for the necessary two dollars. The question from the clerk was short and simple. "Bananas?"

The response I wanted to give was: "FUCK! GODDAMN IT! What gave me away? I was desperately trying to hide from you the nature of my transaction. I wanted to make a game of it and have you guess. So tell me, what exactly gave me away? Was it that I placed three bananas here in front of you? Was that it? Maybe if I'd hidden the bananas and put a cassava melon on the counter I could have fooled you. But the long and short of it is, yes, I am buying bananas. The very ones before you right now."

My actual response was,"yes."

And now this....

Due to Vern’s fragile emotional state his co-workers were walking on egg shells. This resulted in a crunching sound that many people found annoying. Furthermore people wondered why there egg shells scattered on office floors. This was, after all, a serious place of business.

As Vern’s fragile emotional state was the cause of the egg shells, it was decided that the task of cleaning them up should fall to him. Vern initially raised objections pointing out that it was not his choice that other’s should be walking on egg shells. Lauren politely pointed out that they had no choice but to walk on egg shells owing to the fragility of Vern’s emotional state.

This issue brought Vern and Lauren to a Mexican standoff. Neither was particularly keen on hashing out issues at the site of stand off between people from Mexico. The standoff was abandoned and instead Vern and Lauren were at loggerheads. This was no more satisfactory to either, while both parties had the utmost respect for the work of loggers and the great risks inherit in their line of work, it was most awkward indeed to be positioned at the heads of these lumberjacks.

Finally Vern told Lauren that if she expected him to give in she was barking up the wrong tree. This upset Lauren who had spent considerable time and energy selecting a particularly tall redwood for purposes of barking. Evidently it should have been a pine tree, after all, and so she left the office in search of one.

Vern told one and all that he was sure the boss would support him on the egg shell issue and that he was expecting a raise in the bargain. Millicent told Vern not to count his chickens before they hatched. Vern suggested the impossibility of this as all the eggs had been broken to be spread on the floor and there would be no chickens hatching and thus none to count. Millicent allowed that she had not considered this when making her remark.

And now this...

You have to pass an exam if you want to deliver the mail. You have to pass an exam and do a variety of trainings to be a teacher. Indeed there are various degrees, tests and necessary qualifications for all manner of jobs. But not if you want to be leader of the free world (see Trump, Donald). As has been proven, any idiot can get the job (see Bush, George W). This applies for other elected national offices and of course state and local ones as well. Recently there was a former senator (Santorum, Rick) lectured about the constitution by a TV news show host (Maddow, Rachael). We had one moron running for vice president (Palin, Sarah) who clearly did not understand the duties of the office. I realize that many people would say that empirical demonstration of ability flies in the face of what democracy is all about, but can we please insist that anyone seeking to attain public office must first pass a simple (better yet a complicated) civics test? This would narrow the field of candidates for offices to those who actually might have a basic understand of what said office entails.

Speaking of running for office....Another problem with our political system is that it is not designed so that people select the person best qualified for office or the one with whom the voters are most ideologically compatible. Instead it greatly skews toward those who run the best political campaign. Style over substance every time. Occasionally the best person for the job is elected but all too often we get some Slick Rick who has big bucks behind him and a savvy, sleazy campaign manager. Slick Rick appears likable and hits the right chords with voters. This master of the sound byte gets himself elected and proves an ineffectual or perhaps incompetent or even corrupt politician who does more harm than good.

I have a few ideas with respect to our political system. The first is to reverse the Citizens United ruling that treats corporations as people (and thus makes it harder for people to be treated as people) and allows obscene amounts of cash from the super rich into politics. Elected officials, with very few exceptions, are beholden to those individuals and corporations that pay for their campaigns. Money needs to be gotten the hell out of politics. Our elected officials first and only obligation should be to serve the needs of their constituents and not the various mega millionaires who footed the bill for their campaign ads.

Also we could do with severe restrictions on the length of campaigns. Long drawn out political campaigns do nothing positive and a lot negative to the electorate including driving people out of said electorate and fostering cynicism. Here we are 15 months from the presidential election and we are already being subjected to round the clock campaign news featuring all manner of petty detail, innuendo, character assassination and manufactured news. News outlets are forced to cover well over a year's worth of campaigning, diverting their time from more important news. Individuals who could be serving the people who elected them are far too busy hustling for votes and money. Obscene amounts of money are spent on this process, money that could be doing some good for communities instead of subjecting them to more and more of wannabe presidents who spout vapid, meaningless slogans or ad hominem attacks or make ridiculous unsubstantiated claims. Let's move to the British model where campaigning  begin a few months or less before the election and the amount of money spent on said campaigns is limited and a mere pittance of what is spent here. It's called civilization.

I will now descend from my soapbox.

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