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Patrick Jake "P. J." O'Rourke is an American political satirist, journalist and author. O'Rourke is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, The Weekly Standard and is a frequent panelist on NPR's game show Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! He is the author of sixteen books, of which his latest, Don't Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards , was released in September 2010. According to a 60 Minutes profile, P.J. is the most quoted living man in The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations.  

This past year, for me, the political scene to has devolved into somewhat of an unfollowable chaos. In order for me to construct a somewhat adequate column on politics, I require a focus or a passion on an issue or policy trend.  Writers call it a 'muse'. Journalists, a gut feeling for your subject. Lately, I'm getting nothing. Then, yesterday morning, I was watching the Friday night episode of Bill Mahre's Real Time show on HBO Online. P. J. O'Rourke was one of the guests.

When the title of his last book, "Don’t Vote! It Will Just Encourage the Bastards" came up, I had the first real political ‘belly laugh’ I’ve had in a while. I’d never heard that title before and it seemed to so fit the present state of affairs, I thought it was a new release. How had I missed that!? ohhhh Then, I recalled how and where I spent last year from September on. Let me just say any kind of ‘awareness’ was rather rare. happy

I’d suffered a period of voter apathy myself prior to the 2008 Election drama which actually began in 2004 when, now President, Obama gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. I actually considered before then that a boycott of the polls would make more of a noise in Washington than succumbing to the lesser of two evils syndrome yet again. I’m beginning to question that way again as it doesn’t seem to matter who is in office, but who has the money behind them. I visualize Washington, the state capital houses, and even the local commissioners’ chambers as this collection of peanut gallaries of puppets with the monied sitting in the balconies pulling the strings. A vote has become, in an odd way to me, an acceptance of being a player in the game. Again, I think of the book title, laugh and another old cliche comes to mind—"true words are often spoken in jest."

Another 'kicker' came in my email today. The old adage that once you're on the list, it's in stone is also starting to ring true. I began to read . . . As a former campaign contributor, perhaps I'd be interested in gathering a new donor and then matching their first donation! This was followed by a dissertation on the resounding success in the third quarter of $70 million dollars from small middle-class donors like me! What?! I'm afraid a button was pushed; you know, that last straw kind of thing. I replied to one of those 'no-reply but with a credit card number' kind of mails by digging up the email of the campaign headquarters.

"This campaign," I said, "in fact, all campaigns, have reached the point of overkill and greed just like everything else. People can’t afford to pay their bills and adequately feed themselves after being out of a job for months, being under-employed if employed at all, or living on fixed incomes that haven’t had a COLA in three years and yet we are asked to contribute more and more to campaigns that talk in numbers of millions and billions! It’s absolutely ludicrous.

“I do understand that a president, a senator, or a representative or a commissioner or mayor has to compete with others spending these thousands, millions and billions, too. BUT, are politicians and their staffs so blinded by the obsession of re-election that they cannot see how thoroughly disgusting all of this has become to the middle-class, now downright poor, citizenry you claim to be addressing?

“Meanwhile, absolutely nothing ever gets done or solved with vigor. Oh, we see the usual band-aids to get us through the next crisis, the next shut-down, the next election, or a few crumbs tossed here and there to assuage the restless mob, but mostly we watch helplessly while our goals or dreams, our retirement plans, or in the case of many seniors, their entire working lives slowly evaporate  into the political, corporate air. And yet again, we‘re asked to get even farther behind in our own obligations to add another small chunk of change to the campaign coffer’s millions.

“Sorry, but there is no blood left in this stone. I can, and will, contribute only with my author’s pen as we the people sit on the edge of a metaphorical frying pan which many are posed to leave for a leap into the fire."
Sincerely, blah blah blah . . .

So, you, my readers here at Fab 40 have become the first audience to endure the warming up of my author’s pen with a sharing of my chagrin sent to the DNC fund-raising manager.
I keep hearing the the grass roots rumbling out here again. I sense that something is going to have to give. It goes above and beyond party affiliation and misplaced loyalties, which I've preached against for years. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, but I sure don't believe he would be if alive today. Mr. Lincoln was for freeing the slaves, not creating more with such social disarray and a 99 – 1 ratio in worth  balance.

The occupation of Wall Street thing going on now is, I think, party-less on the Main Street level. We hear the politicians yapping about it, but the people participating are from all walks of life. It was similar in the demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin earlier in the year. It’s time for paying attention far outside the voting booth. Word has it that the upcoming campaign is going to be really nasty as neither side has much to lose but everything to gain. It’s kind of a now or never desperation. It’s coming down to street fighting without violence.  

Boycotting has always been a viable way of expressing a strong view or principle. And, I sure don’t want to encourage the bastards! estatic

Anticipating your input . . .
Susan Haley

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Oct 14, 2011
    • Any politician that wants to run for president next term is deluded if they think anyone is looking forward to supporting them. I have completely lost hope in our government. It is now hopelessly a corporation instead of leadership for the people. All the people are is someone who can be fooled into servitude.

      At least the last couple of days the voice and actions of the little people has risen again. You, giving your author’s pen, and others giving their voice in protest is all that is left to give. I can only hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Oct 25, 2011
    • I’m definitely not excited about the upcoming election.  What we have to choose from is nothing to write home about.  All I do know is we have to get rid of what we have in there now....not just the president but the other peons as well! I too have lost faith in our government...PERIOD!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Oct 25, 2011
    • Well my faith was NEVER in government(man)from the beginning. But they do need to voted out ASAP!



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