Let’s just say all you want is money. You don’t give a rat’s patootie if new-born infants die in the streets with pus coming out of their eyes. As long as you have a big enough pile, you can do whatever you want. And you wanna be a leader so you can tell everyone else what to do. So how do you do it? You can’t just go up to people and say, “Vote for me, I don’t care about you.” So clearly, you must avoid Truth at all costs. You have absolutely no option but to lie. And, of course, your very first lie has to be, “Money isn’t important to me; I only care about you.”
Now let’s just say you really want a better community. You want everyone to thrive with no crime or pollution. And you want it to last. So you have to stand firmly in the face of Truth. But… you’re clearly blocking the path of the glutton who must now create his second lie, “He doesn’t care a about you. All he wants is money.”
In a small community, five candidates on each side struggle for leadership. How do they build their parties? Surely, the true community leaders are going to have a tougher time. One wants better healthcare, one wants better education, one wants jobs, one wants housing for all, one wants to improve transportation, one wants a cleaner environment, one wants equality… Wait! That’s too many. Which is the most important? They argue bitterly, struggling to better their community but making tremendously slow progress.
So what do the money lovers do? One says, “We need to cut costs!”
The others snap to attention. “Yeah, we need to cut costs!”
Another says, “People should get their own healthcare.”
The others snap to attention. “Yeah, people should get their own healthcare.”
Another says, “People should get their own jobs and housing, and should all buy cars.”
The others snap to attention. “Yeah, people should get their own jobs and housing, and should all buy cars.”
Another says, “The environment’s plenty clean enough. In fact, we can pump even more crap into it and make more money… I mean, still get by.”
The others snap to attention. “Yeah, the environment’s plenty clean enough. In fact, we can pump even more crap into it and make more money… I mean, still get by.”
Total unity on all issues.
When leaders can’t lead, the followers must. Politics 101.
Now let’s think up names for these groups. The first group loves money, so how about “Money-ists.” Well, that sounds a bit awkward, so let’s think up a cuter word for “money.” How about “capital?’ Yeah, that brings up spine-tingling visions of patriotism, like the capitol building in Washington, DC. “Capitalists.” Great name.
Now how about the other group? They love their community, so how about “Community-ists.” Well, that sounds a bit awkward, so let’s shorten it to “Communists.” …Oh, poo! That’s a bad word. A really bad word.
The first time I heard it, I was in the fifth grade. The teacher told us Communists were evil people who hated their neighbors and would call the police if they did anything wrong. The police would come and torture them. No one had any rights and they were never allowed to leave their country. But worst of all, they didn’t believe in God. Instead, they worshiped an evil man named Stalin.
One morning she read from the Bible, “And Jesus said, ‘Cast aside thine earthly goods and follow me.’” Then she slowly and solemnly closed the Book, sat demurely on her stool and said, “Well, that was then and this is now. In America, we don’t have to give up all our nice things to be Christians.” With enough money, you can even change the Bible.
So which am I, a Communist or a Capitalist?
While in the fifth grade, I lived on an 11 acre farm in West Virginia. We had a faithful Airedale who truly wanted to protect us, and a goat who wanted to eat everything in sight. The dog was fed twice a day, but would beg for scraps and be rewarded with hugs and affection. The goat watched. The dog would poop after circling a grassy spot and hunker down to let go wearing a noncommittal expression, drawing no attention. The goat could outdo that. He’d crap while doing pirouettes in the air, scattering his shot in all directions with arcs of squirting pee, providing belly laughs for the three school kids. The dog would go to the porch swing, hop on and take a nap on the calico cushion. When he left, the goat would try. He’d put his front hoofs on the swing, but that would push it away. So he would baby-step his hind legs closer, pushing it even farther, then he’d lift on a wobbly back leg. But once the other leg left the ground, the swing would swoosh forward again, rolling him back on his bleating butt. More giggles.
So which am I, a dog or a goat?
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