Bill the Cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
She was the sort of woman who kept a parrot.” ~Mark Twain
One of my parrot friends has the quote above on her email header. I have no idea what Twain meant by that comment, however, I am sure it was humorous. He loved poking fun at his fellow Americans. Many of his comments were well deserved.
I was thinking about the sense of humour found among many Americans and came to the realization that having a sense of humour unites us and saves our Democracy. I must have a sense of humour. I haven’t voted for the guy who won the presidency in over two decades (the last five elections). In fact, I have only voted for the guy who won the office once in the past 30+ years.
The last time I voted for the guy who won the office of president, I voted for Jimmy Carter (the first time). I didn’t make that mistake again. No, I didn’t vote for Reagan, but I did vote for John Anderson. Regan won, but I voted for Mondale the second time Reagan ran. I have only met one person in my life time who voted for John Anderson. Most people don’t even know who he is. The guy I met who knew Anderson had worked in his campaign. He was a co-worker who kept a sign next to his desk that showed Bill the Cat and read:
“I’ve got one nerve left in my body, and you are standing on it.”
I don’t know that the guy who lost the election in any of the past few decades could have done a better job than the guy who won, but then none of us knows what might have been. Hence, I cut the guy in office some slack and keep a sense of humour.
The one thing you deduce when you sit on the sidelines after the person for whom you voted loses his or her election, is that the person in office often does things that you think are stupid. For example, I recall my neighbor beseeching me to vote for Obama, “because he will get us out of Iraq.” He didn’t tell me that he would immediately get us into Afghanistan full time. And, of course we left Iraq rather ignominiously. We are about to do the same thing in Afghanistan, having suffered more casualties in that country under Obama than we did in Iraq under Bush (NYT this week). And for what?
Although the British held Afghanistan for 200 years, you will often hear folks say, “Nobody has ever been able to conquer Afghanistan.” Perhaps what they should say is nobody wants it after they have it for a while?
Simply holding a democratic election is not Democracy. Democracy is governing in a democratic and inclusive fashion. Hitler was elected democratically (sort of) but he became a dictator.
Smiling can imply a sense of humour and a state of amusement, as in this painting of Falstaff by Eduard von Grützner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Governing from the center is the only way to govern democratically. After all, no one gets their way all the time, or maybe not even most of the time. I haven’t had my way politically in a long time, but I retain a sense of humor.