OPED: Political mob mentality bad for society


To all those disenchanted folks who think we need a "revolution" in America to unseat the establishment politicians - whether by a vulgar Trumpian mob or by idealists blinded by the bright light of the Bern which promises freebies paid for by the 1 percent — I suggest that you all take a deep breath and think of what you are asking for.

160302 sanders trump montage

The entire political system is rigged, corrupted, and broken in both political parties, say Donald and Bernie, where the politicians are bought and paid for by big money interests. There seems to be a germ of truth in that.  In fact, Trump readily admits that he bought political favors for his businesses by contributions to political campaigns (which makes me wonder what he would sell if he became President). Bernie, on the other hand, relies upon small contributions to fund his children's crusade for socialism, promising expense-free life in exchange.

This dual "revolution" reminds me of the scenes from the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" when Peter O'Toole (Lawrence) leads the various victorious Arab tribes into Damascus to take over the government after routing the Turks; almost immediately the electricity fails and the public water supply shuts down and the hospitals become festering holes of untreated casualties and sick people. The tribesmen don't know how to operate a water works, a generating station, or hospitals - and so they blame each other and then stumble away, ending their dream for a new, democratic, unified Arab state.

That's what your mob revolution or freebie crusade will produce — a breakdown of the societal engine which operates today, no matter how poorly. Those establishment party organizations function because local party supporters ring doorbells, talk to citizens, and man the polls on Election day; they are not evil; they are hard-working dedicated Americans, even if they support very different agendas. The roads get built and maintained, the mail gets delivered, the armed forces get trained, the food supply gets inspected by those "damned bureaucrats" that the mobs get agitated about. Those mobs wouldn't have the slightest idea about how to operate a political party or government functions, much less improve them. So, be careful what you wish for. Nothing is as easy as talk.

If the revolutionaries really want an untainted system of political parties, then they ought to establish new parties, rather than trying to take over the established parties - unless they think there is something worth keeping.

There is a lot of funny money in our politics these days. And it is not only in huge speaking fees paid to those with, or seeking, political clout. There is the imaginary source of money to fund free college educations so that no one has to struggle to fund their own future - sort of life just selling people a college diploma without the effort of studying. (Party hardy!)  And there are the phony "charity fundraisers like Trump used in order to avoid a Fox News debate five months ago, allegedly raising six million dollars for military veterans — except that he really accounts for raising only four and a half mil four months later, to which he added a mil of his own last week in order to make the facts more closely jibe with his phony boasts. Or the billions that Donald claims to be worth - even as he filed bankruptcy four times for his fabulous business enterprises.  It makes me wonder how many investors, creditors and working stiffs got ripped off as he walks away unscathed.

This is funny money, folks. And so is all the talk about "revolutions" against the "establishment." True, there is funny money in the campaign contribution laws which allow giant corporations and wealthy donors to buy elections, and then control the people who get elected in order to benefit themselves (I'm speaking of Trump specifically, but there are others, of course.)  while ignoring the real voters. Of course, those who don't vote shouldn't complain.

Bad as it may sometimes seem, we need the establishment and the bureaucratic corps — because they actually know how to operate the machinery of government, to keep the lights on and the water running.

Don't get snowed by the con artists who know how to get us riled up but only know how to use government for themselves and their friends and not for the rest of us.

The work of government is not theater; it is a job which is complicated, often ridiculed and seldom applauded. Examine anyone who seeks this difficult job carefully to discern these real motives; people don't volunteer to shovel manure because they like the smell of it, unless their horse is named Exaggerator.

— Edward Golla  is a resident of Springettsbury Township