I've long since given up trying to figure out what goes on in the mind of a politician. Now, I realize that being in public office of any kind automatically makes you a punch line, but that's not what I'm getting at here. For millennia, political cartoonists and satirists have found a bottomless well of vanity from which to draw. However, I see something more sinister afoot than mere vanity and bombast. Case study.
There is a well-known used car salesman in Fairbanks (now I realize this is a joke just dying to write itself, but bear with me). This man has a VERY successful dealership in town. And, used-car salesman jokes aside, this guy was VERY competent mechanically, he grew up building cars pretty much from scratch. He built a business almost from scratch too. He is well-spoken and articulate. He knows how to actually DO some stuff. He was the kind of guy everyone said they would vote for if he ran for office.
He did, and I did.
All was well and good for a while. But there's something odd about the water in Juneau.....I think they have the same water supply as Washington, D.C.
After a couple of years, this once truly humble servant of the people gave his famous "sacrificial" speech. He compared himself to the founding fathers who sacrificed everything to serve their nation....blah, blah, blah, and that if he wasn't re-elected, it would be like losing the Revolutionary War. With one voice, nearly all of Alaska collectively sighed, "Gimme a break, fella*."
I'm pretty sure that with enough time and dedication, chemists could isolate the "Arrogance Molecule" which has infused all our capital cities' water supplies.
I used to believe that arrogant people ran for office. While this is true in many (if not most) cases, I think that politics creates arrogance. It can't be the money. (The gentleman cited above made all the money he'd ever need in the car biz....and continues to do so, even while in office).
I'm not generally one for government research grants, but if they decide to attempt to isolate the arrogance molecule in earnest, I could make an exception. The problems it could solve would make the cost-to-benefit ratio well worth the sacrifice.
*name withheld to protect the guilty
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.