In 2004 I did a stupid thing. Despite my libertarian leanings I once involved myself with the local Republican party. I did this partly as a networking opportunity and partly as an attempt to side with the famous “lesser of two evils,” a political compromise if you will. As a result I wasted a lot of time at various party events, listening to irrational people ranting about hateful or pointless things. I learned a valuable lesson though and I have never placed myself in such a demeaning situation again.
Something funny (or alarming) did happen. I’ll relate to you now. I actually got a little bit of wisdom out of the whole experience. Maybe you will too. Mainly I learned the Party was useless and certain of its members and supporters were untrustworthy at best. This story relates to one of the chief events which taught me the lesson. Enjoy!
It was George Bush, the Dimmer’s, second Presidential campaign. I was invited to travel down to Marietta, Georgia to attend a luncheon seminar on the subject and what the “grassroots” folks could expect. The featured speaker was Ralph Reed of former “Christian” Coalition and political snake-oil fame. The event was held in a trendy hi-rise and the crowd was composed of typical Republican types – older white folks in suits and such.
(The Misunderstestimator. Google Images.)
Ralph went on and on about how Bush could and should win, if only us little people would do our part. I was more interested in the menu than the rhetoric for most of the meeting. Then I caught something Ralph said which made me laugh openly. I nearly choked on my scone. He was commenting on how hard it would be to win the re-election, or any new election for that matter, thanks to the Draconian and likely illegal provisions of the dreaded McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, recently enacted. He went on for a few minutes about the horrors of doing business under the new law and then opened up for questions.
You probably can guess what happened next. I couldn’t resist. I raised my hand early and when called on I asked, “Do you mean the same McCain-Feingold law authored by Republican John McCain? Ralph, reading my thoughts, nodded affirmatively but uncomfortably. I kept on, “You mean the same law passed by the Republican majority in both houses of Congress? Ralph began to sweat. At this point, several of the well-fed attendees looked up from their dessert dishes. I pressed on, “You’re talking about the law signed by President Bush, the same guy with the current troubles? Ralph was white and shaky. He had a hard time answering me. A few more of the Rush-bots began to listen.
I further inquired, “This is the law which Bush said was probably UnConstitutional, but that he’d sign anyway?” Ralphie swooned. I should have stopped but I just could not help myself. Most of the herd was still grazing thoughtlessly, but I had a large enough audience for my point. “Didn’t Bush sign the law only to say the Supreme Court would work out the details?” I asked. At this point Mr. Reed determined to leave early and stopped my questioning with a vague, “Uh, yeah…that law.” He didn’t want the suits to catch on if they could. There were no more questions.
As if by chance, or design, I happened to take the same descending elevator as Mr. Reed. I pressed a little further. I didn’t want to harass the poor guy but the fun was too good to let slip past. I asked rhetorically, “I guess it’s up to the Supreme Court, now?” Ralph began to turn green but responded, “Yeah. We’ll have to see what they say.” I ended the verbal water-boarding, “And, we can always count on them, can’t we?” I wish there was a video to corroborate my story.
The first time I was alone afterwards I laughed loudly for minutes on end. The ride home was unremarkable though. I don’t think the person I accompanied ever caught on to what I was implying. To her, whatever this new law was, it was just another part of the process – our team versus theirs. What it really meant was that the home team consisted of a bunch of F—ing Morons! I’ve never seen Ralph since and he won’t accept my Facebook friendship request. Bad memories I suppose.
The law turned out to mean nothing to the ticks and has since been largely over-ridden. The Supremes did make their ruling – a classic in my opinion. They pointed out the oppressive, free-speech limiting nature of the law, but concluded that since it pertained to the two political branches, and since those branches had approved it, the Court would too out of deference. So they did! As I said the law has been rendered moot for the most part. Politicians don’t mind stamping out the little people’s rights and opportunities, but they sure as hell won’t have any law impinging on their schemes.
(Justice Scalia did note the chilling provisions of Mc-Gold on “average” people. Google Images.)
In the end, I guess nothing was gained or lost, except any respect I had for Republicans not named Ron Paul.