A Few Minutes With the Mayor – September 2016

Here comes September. “Where did the summer go?” is a common question dating back long before our time. The yearly cycle repeats itself: children go back to school… vacations end… commerce picks up… and soon squirrels will begin to hoard fall nuts for the long winter. Speaking of nuts, the ones in our nation’s capitol will continue to wield their verbal axes in an attempt to utterly destroy one another, the theory being, the more successful one is at proving one’s opponent unfit for office, the more ethical, or moral, one appears to be. This is not to say their charges against each other may not be true; either way, one of the two opponents is a liar.

For most of us, there is no escape from these people. Television networks, cable channels, print media, and even social media, are filled with accounts of how rotten are all of the candidates running for office. Throughout all the verbal warfare, media pundits spout their supposed wisdom. Ah, politics. When the next election comes, no one will remember their earlier pronouncements. Of course they count on that. But wouldn’t it be nice if the chatter went silent? All the talk in the world between now and Election Day will not solve one single problem.

It seems this has always been true. In 1924, surely a primitive era in the field of broadcast journalism, America’s greatest humorist, Will Rogers, stated:

If you have a radio, the next three months is a good time to have it quit working. All you will hear from now until the 4th of November will be: ‘We must get our government out of the hands of predatory wealth.’ ‘The good people of this great country are burdened to death with taxes. Now what I intend to do is …

What he intends to do is try to get elected. That’s all any of them intend to do. Another one that will hum over the old static every night will be: “This country has reached a crisis in its national existence.”

This is not to minimize the fear and concern the American voter has in today’s dangerous world. Escalating terrorism and a dreadful economy are the seeds of ruin which lie everywhere in waiting. Politicians in office don’t want to talk about it, but the latest revised national GDP, (Gross Domestic Product) increased by the dwarf-like figure of 0.8% in the first quarter of this year and the second quarter isn’t much better. If this were an operating room, the patient would be on respiratory and cardiac support.

Doesn’t it appear to you, as it does to me, we have a multitude of liars today? Between hackers, con artists, and just plain crooks, it’s almost overwhelming. It’s also given growth to another class of entrepreneur… those who provide virus protection on our computers and those who provide us with ID theft protection. There must be an awful lot of crooked people to sustain such a vast army of support. And I must add, Jacksonville is not immune to such ilk. No community is.

I suspect liars share one common fault. George Bernard Shaw said it succinctly: “The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.” Imagine what your day would be like if you believed every person you met and talked to was lying to you!

Then, there is the problem of remembering one’s lies should they come up in the future. Frankly, that’s too much work. It’s easier sticking to the truth.

Another famous politician shared his thoughts on this a very long time ago…Thomas Jefferson who said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” I wonder what he would say about our election this year.

On another note, our publisher, Whitman Parker, was correct when he wrote that he thought your Mayor would be throwing a party for the public to celebrate the City offices moving to the refurbished Courthouse… now City Hall. Look for details in the October issue.