Often it is claimed that politicians are difficult to figure out, but is that really true? I would have to claim that politicians are very much like dogs and just as there are different personalities and actions with dogs, there are the same differences among politicians and they can be comparable. So, let’s try and see how dogs and politicians of different stripes are similar except for different reasons and motivations. First we will compare some general similarities and then look at the different types. Have you ever watched a dog when it is first released in a new environment? They immediately run wildly in all directions sniffing everything to get an idea what is where and make a general sniff map categorizing areas with interesting aromas that will require more intent sniffing in the future once the general idea has been absorbed. A politician is the same way when loosed into a new environment. They run around and greet and shake the hand of every person making sure to meet, greet and get the flavor of each person. Somehow politicians, simply by a moment of inane small-talk, can discern which people in the room have money and judge the relative ease with which some of that money can be garnered into their campaign chest. Those people are kept in their memory for a more intense conversation after the room has been sampled. While there are different personalities among dogs, hold a treat in front of any dog and they become attentive and responsive doing whatever they think you might desire of them in order to get the treat. Once they get the treat they run off and ignore you until you again become an item of interest. Hold out campaign contributions and a politician will say exactly what you want to hear and sympathize with your every interest and do their political equivalent of sit up and beg until they get the funding after which they run off looking for the next contributor. Should you ever mention contributing again, the politicians will sit up and return to their attentive act. Dogs will leave a mess all over the area in which they reside with little embarrassment. Do I even have to point out that politicians leave a mess in their wake making a mess out of everything they touch? I did not think so. For every action which is fairly universal among dogs have a similar action that is true of the vast majority of politicians. Dogs nuzzle your hand to get you to stroke them. Politicians nudge you to get you to stoke their campaign chests. Dogs will appear excited and absolutely wildly beside themselves joyous when they see their masters and other known humans who often have paid attentions and stroked them or played with them. Politicians react exactly the same way though it is disturbing when they try to wag their tails when they are in the company of contributors, especially large contributors. Dogs will bark as a response to everything. Politicians will allocate money as a response to everything. Dogs will behave very properly when you are watching them closely. The same is true with politicians. Dogs will act true to their nature and get into everything and eat anything tasty when not being watched. Politicians will get into regulating everything if not watched carefully and will find a way to make money or place their name on every structure when left to their own devices. But what about the different personalities and traits with dogs, do politicians have their own equivalent types?
Many dogs are constantly happy just wagging their tails and squirming with endless energy. There are politicians who have a big smile plastered on their faces all of the time and are constantly happy and seem to have endless energies that somehow makes them attractive and seem to be positive people. Some dogs growl at anything which tries to take away their bone or favorite toy. Challenge a politician by running against them for their position and you will see more than you ever wished for of growling and bared teeth, just in a more civilized and hidden manner, but the rage will be evident. Some dogs just have to chase cars. Some politicians just have to chase after causes. A good example would be former Vice President Gore and global warming. Some dogs are lazy lay around type who hardly ever gets motivated to do much of anything and only seem to move when absolutely necessary like to go out or eat and drink.. They resemble politicians who represent gerrymandered districts that are so safe they do not even need to ever campaign as their seat is guaranteed for life so they simply go through the motions with as little effort as is demanded. Dogs often run in packs. Politicians have a similar activity that they call a junket where they go in a group usually to some very nice location where they need to study something presumably important. Dogs have been known to bark at nothing with absolutely no reason. Politicians do the same and they call it making an important speech about something that they wish people to believe they feel as strongly about as those they are speaking to feel. Just as dogs come in varying sizes, habits and personalities just as do politicians and just as dogs can be trained by reward and denial, so can politicians be trained or rather forced to do what is presumably their real reason for being, serving the people. Unfortunately the people rarely gather in force to push the politicians but when they really care the politicians will respond. They can be made to heel, sit, beg, and even bark on command if you can prove to them that you control the one item they will do almost anything to attain, sufficient voters supporting the idea to keep or remove them from their cushy office. That is the best treat which gets any politicians attention and is the only answer to outbid all the monies that the special interests offer. Votes are the large meaty fresh soup bone and money the big dog treat and guess which one will make the politician sit up and beg for fastest.
Beyond the Cusp
There are two peculiarities about elections in the United States that have become evident over the years. The first is that less than half of the registered voters often actually vote and approximately half of those eligible to vote actually register. This means that a candidate who receives one fourth of the votes of people eligible to register can win an election. The other is when asked why people did not register, or when registered did not vote; the number one reason is neither, or none, of the candidates were appealing enough to be worth the effort to vote for them. When you figure in the number of people who vote and admit their vote was more of a vote against the other candidate than a vote for the candidate they supported then you see the real problem with politics in the United States. That is the second main problem, the real or perceived dearth of candidates who are worthy or can cause sufficient excitement as to be worth people’s time and efforts to support. For this reason, we would like to suggest a few changes which can be made by each state and with sufficient number of states adopting the None of the Above Over Fifty Percent Law, we could possible make this the method for all elections for any office in the land. Here is how this would work.
The first thing necessary is to make all elections for office require a candidate to receive over fifty percent of the votes cast. Secondly, the ballot would have one extra choice beyond the candidates listed for office which would be “None of the Above” and votes cast for such would count towards the total when figuring the required fifty percent. And, if we could add one last item it would be to simplify ballot access to be a candidate thus making it far easier to qualify for ballot access as the current laws are prohibitive both financially and set the bar almost beyond any possibility to reach. I can attest to this having actually qualified for an election and ended up spending more funds simply to qualify for the ballot than I had to use for the actual campaign. Granted, such a system for elections might also require holding the first ballot earlier in the year, probably the Tuesday after Labor Day in September. Should a ballot have more than two candidates running for office, then the top three vote recipients would then run in another election held one month later at the first Tuesday in October. If none of the three are able to surpass the fifty percent marker, then the top two get to run in another election two weeks later. Once the ballot reaches two candidates and should neither make the fifty percent mark then their parties would select two new candidates and another vote would be held one month later and from then on it would be, as it is sometimes quoted, rinse repeat as necessary. Hopefully we would eventually find a candidate that would receive sufficient support, otherwise that seat would go unfilled until a candidate was found that the people would support.
To make this workable, we would also need to make one adjustment for voting on legislation in any of our legislative bodies where in order for a piece of legislation to win passage it would require over fifty percent of the possible number of representatives possible if all seats were filled. Let’s take the United States House of Representatives as an example. The full House of Representatives has four hundred and thirty five seats. If after an election cycle only two hundred and fifty eight seats were filled while the rest were still going through additional votes in order to have a candidate be elected by a true majority, this situation would not affect the necessary votes required to pass a piece of legislation. Simply put, in order to pass legislation, the bill would require two hundred and eighteen votes in favor no matter the number of Representatives present at any session. Thus, if as in our example there were only two hundred and fifty eight Representatives elected at the start of a Congressional session, then any piece of legislation would still require the two hundred and eighteen votes in favor to pass thus allowing no more than forty votes against or not cast to pass. If thirty seven voted against and four Representatives were absent or abstained, then there would be no possibility for that legislation to pass despite having overwhelming support of those members of the House of Representatives who were currently seated. Such a change would protect those districts who had not found a candidate worthy of over fifty percent voter support. And anyways, would hamstringing government such that it became near impossible for them to pass even more legislation requiring even more regulations and other restrictions on our freedoms really be that bad of a situation?
I would even go as far as favoring a constitutional Amendment that except in cases of extreme emergency where the President had called the congress back for the necessity of the security and function of the country, the Congress would meet from January until the Ides of March (March 15th) every election year. This would restrict them to meeting for two whole months every other year. Under such restrictions, we could even make the positions honorary and only pay our Senators and Representatives a minimal wage set and paid by each state as they see deserved. With such a change we would open the position up to those who truly desire serving the people and not career politicians whose only real desire is to accrue great wealth at the people’s expense. These restrictions would very likely produce Senators and Representatives actually worthy of receiving that true majority vote and make the “None of the Above” vote on the ballot that much less appealing. Currently, I might be voting “None of the Above” on most of my ballots and I sure would like to be voting for a worthy and true public servant instead of these self-serving vermin who seek office currently.
Beyond the Cusp
In an interview given as he was leaving the recent Cairo Arab League Summit, Abbas demanded that Israel agree to a complete building freeze even including the suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as a basic condition for direct negotiations. He further stressed that Israel agree to a complete return to the 1949 Armistice Borders, also known as the Green Line, upon completion of any agreement. Abbas repeated his stand that absolutely no Israeli will be allowed to take one step on sacred Palestinian land, especially if that precluded their visiting the Great Wall of the Dome of the Rock, also known as the Western Wall. Abbas surprised those who attended this brief press statement when he also demanded the port city of Eilat claiming it to be the historic fishing port of the Palestinian people since the days of the Phoenicians.
When queried about the “Right of Return” Abbas was quoted that every Jew had the right to return to Europe or America. After one reporter clarified the question, Mr. Abbas embarrassedly said that it need not be said that every Palestinian worldwide had a right to claim and take any house or business anywhere in all of Palestine. On a side note, Mr Abbas quipped he had his eye on this real nice château in the Tel Aviv suburbs. As Mr. Abbas left the brief impromptu press meeting he was heard to reply to one reporter, “No, I do not think these conditions should cause any problems for the Netanyahu government, I’ve heard Mr. Netanyahu is anxious to return to New York as soon as the talks are completed.”
OK, you caught me. There was no interview and none of this was actually said, but tell me this is not what the demands will be given a couple more years. Some of what was included above actually are current demands made by Prime Minister Abbas and he makes them with all seriousness. I will leave it to the reader to research and find out which are true. Maybe after looking at exactly what the demands are being pressed upon Israel people will see the complete mockery the peace process has become. Truth be told, if Israel meets the real concessions demanded to initiate talks, there will be no reason for talks as almost every demand made by the Palestinians for the final agreement are also preconditions.
Beyond the Cusp