By Nathan Barton
Really. Can modern politicians learn lessons when they do stupid, hypocritical things and get caught?
Consider the infamous Bernie Sanders, the non-Democrat (yeah, really) who is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination. He is one of (virtually all of) the Democratic candidates for POTUS who is pushing the $15/hour wage. But he got caught out – revealed for being the hypocrite that he is. He doesn’t pay his own campaign staffers $15/hour.
Or rather, he didn’t. But now, apparently, he is doing so. He found the money to pay them this promoted minimum wage by a simple stratagem: he cut their hours. Just like many of the businesses he condemns do, when forced by government to raise their minimum wages.
Yet various people – both political commentators and supporters of Bernie – are claiming that Sanders has learned a valuable lesson. If he really is learning a lesson, it is that he has to work harder to hide his hypocrisy.
Not that he is alone among politicians in doing this sort of thing. And that applies across the board to Dems and GOPers and all their ilk. We can point out Bill Clinton’s recent lies about his relationship with Epstein. His wife’s lies and stupid actions regarding security and various other actions as Secretary of State and failed presidential candidate. Trump’s idea that enough money can solve any problem, or make anything go away. And his continued following the advice of neo-cons and outright warmongers. Or the examples of dozens of governors, thousands of legislators, and probably tens of thousands of local political officials.
They just don’t seem to learn. Not for any reason. Not about their own actions, or the actions of government. They make the same mistakes over and over again. They double down on failure.
I really don’t think it is possible for the average politician, the average officeholder, to learn from their mistakes. With the possible exception that they can learn (somewhat) how to hide and tap-dance around them.
Because politicians share certain characteristics with other kinds of criminals. They think that they are too smart to get caught, for one. They think that they can fool (enough) people enough of the time to keep on doing what they are doing. They believe that the average person (average voter or constituent) is basically stupid and gullible. And, all too often, they really are not held accountable: there is always someone to bail them (or at least their organization) out.
The last thing we should do is trust anyone who is successful in conning people to make any important decisions. At least not for other people. Or for their community. Yet, we do. Why? Because mostly, we don’t think that there is any alternative. We are trapped in comfortable ruts, unwilling to do what is necessary to get out. We endure, more or less passively and meekly, when we have the power to find alternatives and regain our liberty.
Do we? Not often enough. Because we, like the politicians, are unwilling or unable to learn from our mistakes. Unwilling to take the time and effort to change our habits.
And that is just plain nuts: insane. We do the same thing we’ve always done, and expect things to change.
But we know that honest, average people CAN change. Every AA meeting demonstrates that. Every person getting their GED at age twenty or thirty proves that. Every person who let society condition them to fear guns who goes out and gets a gun and the training to use it to defend themselves and their families shows it.
Each of us can.
An example of that happened just a day or so ago, when a “flash mob” of neighbors in the Nashville area got together to stop the cops from hauling off someone for being a border jumper. Another example happened last week when a beloved great-grandfather near Cortez (Colorado) suffering from dementia wandered off, and dozens of people (not just family and neighbors) responded to go out and search for him. We CAN make a difference. We CAN fight against the stupidity and failure of politicians and government.
The choice is ours.