Loafers’ Club discusses politics and elections

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Al Batt, Tales from Exit 22

Editor’s note: Because of the topic, Al Batt’s column appears today, and Tim Engstrom’s column will appear Wednesday.

We were knee-deep in a pile of elections.

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The election process is important to us. It’s a time when we discover which way the hot air blows. It gives us someone to blame for all our problems. It’s when we elect new people to do the same old things. Hype springs eternal.

Al Batt

Every candidate is in favor of spending — spending time in office. That’s why some fairy tales begin with, “If elected, I promise …”

Each election, I wish for civil discourse without rancor and wonder if an election sign has ever changed a voter’s mind.

Election campaigns are like cleaning windows — the dirt is always on the other side. Those who throw mud seem to gain ground. TVs need windshield wipers and washers. There were so many debates that some folks wished they had been replaced with fistfights. I appreciate those who serve, but would anyone be able to beat Homer Simpson if he chooses to run?

My neighbor Crandall, who believes that tax cuts disproportionately reward those who pay taxes, enjoyed all the politicians stating their cases on radio and TV. He reasoned, “If a rattlesnake doesn’t rattle, you won’t know it’s there.”

Crandall votes for the candidates who promise the least. He’s less disappointed that way.

It’s not easy being in office. It has to be easier to support most bills than it is to lift them. It’s more difficult to remove the pork from Congress than it is to remove the pork from a pig. Lobbyists cause problems. Remember Gilbert Bates? He was Beaver’s friend on “Leave It to Beaver.” Gilbert was always talking the Beav into doing something that got Beaver in trouble. A member of Congress is Beaver Cleaver, and the average lobbyist is Gilbert.

You wake up one morning and you are a liberal or a conservative. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. For instance, my neighbor TWGD (The World’s Greatest Democrat) was discussing the upcoming election at a Loafers’ Club Meeting — at these gatherings we do nothing for an hour, talk about how we could do less and then go home to rest. TWGD was butting heads with a staunch Republican. Each tried to convince the other to switch sides, but it was to no avail. Finally, TWGD said to the other, “Look, it’s clear that we are unalterably opposed on every political issue. Our votes will cancel each other. Why not save ourselves time and both agree to not vote?”

The other agreed enthusiastically and they shook hands.

As TWGD walked by, I commented that I was amazed he would relinquish his vote for one of another.

TWGD said, “I would never do that. This is the sixth time today I’ve canceled another’s vote.”

The story is told of a senator who died. His soul arrived at the Pearly Gates and was met by St. Peter.

“Welcome to heaven,” said St. Peter. “We seldom see someone like you here, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” said the senator.

“I’m going to have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity,” directed St. Peter.

St. Peter escorted the senator to the elevator down to hell. The doors opened and the senator found himself on a golf course. Standing by the clubhouse were his friends and politicians who had worked with him. Everyone was happy. They greeted him, shook his hand and reminisced about the good times. They played golf, danced and dined on lobster, caviar and champagne. Everyone gave the senator a hearty farewell and waved while the elevator ascended and the door reopened to heaven.

“It’s time to visit heaven,” said St. Peter.

The senator joined a group of contented souls playing harps and singing joyously.

“You’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Choose your eternity,” said St. Peter.

The senator reflected a moment before saying, “I think I’d be better off in hell.”

He descended in the elevator. The doors opened and the senator found himself armpit-deep in waste and garbage. His friends were in the same predicament.

The senator said, “I was here yesterday and there was a golf course, we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, danced and had a great time. Now it’s a wasteland full of garbage and my friends are miserable. What happened?”

The devil smiled and said, “Yesterday, we were campaigning. Today, you voted.”

I’m a voting enthusiast. I stay up late to see the election results. Someone will claim that one candidate had six toes. That candidate will get outraged and demand a recount.

I am thankful that ballots and not bullets decide our elections.

Hartland resident Al Batt’s column normally appears on Wednesday.