Warning: This One Is Political

Early next year (February 12 to be exact), I shall be writing my 100th essay for you. I began in March of 2020, due to the start of Covid, and I have faithfully placed a new essay in your inbox biweekly ever since. And, hey, what’s with my beloved English language when the adverb “biweekly” can mean either “once every other week” OR “twice a week”?

I suppose it’s not a dangerous language flaw, until, that is, your doctor tells you that you must continue to take your black-widow-spider antidote “biweekly,” and you think he meant “once every other week”— but he didn’t.

I was proud to realize that in not one essay so far has my topic been political. Of course, in more normal times, politics might make an interesting essay. But I have avoided it like the plague — and that’s not just a simile here; l mean that I consider that topic today not just toxic but downright bubonic in our bitterly divided country.

Now with the non-stop palaver about a possible rematch of 2020 next year, I’m reminded of the comedian Bob Hope’s line: “Growing up in England, I was taught that in America anybody can grow up to be President. Looking at the current candidates — boy, do I ever believe it!”

I remember thinking in the fall of 2020, when the Trump-Biden election was bearing down on us, that I should write something about it, since we all had been told that this was “THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION WE WILL VOTE IN — EVER!”

But then I vaguely remembered that we’d been told that same thing about the Obama-McCain one, and the Bush-Gore one, and the Nixon-Kennedy one. For all I know, the 1852 contest between Millard Fillmore and Coot McGillicuddy was billed in the same way. OK, I made that last one up, but you get my point.

Just in case you might be curious about my political view at the moment, I think that the best way to show you is by a modern parable. It’s a bit long, but I can think of no better way to express my current sentiments about U.S politics:

It was the night before elections. A father was looking after his young son who loved jigsaw puzzles, but he was bored with all of his. The dad was to serve as a polling officer the next day and had lots of prep work to do, but he had to distract his son, who insisted on a new puzzle. In desperation, his dad grabbed a large magazine and opened it to a page that had a map of the world. He ripped the page out and tore it into many, many pieces and laid them out on the kitchen table: “Here you go, son. Put the world back together!””

He figured he wouldn’t be seeing his son for hours. But he was astonished, thirty minutes later, when his beaming son showed him on that table the finished world, every piece exactly in place.

“My boy, you’re a genius!”

His son blushed. “No, Dad, I cheated.”

“What? How can that be?”

Well,” his son began, “I tried to put the world right again, but it was too hard. And then I realized there must be something on the other side of that page. I flipped all the pieces over and saw it looked like an ad to make people vote. It had a big picture of a man and a woman, one with ‘Republican’ on her sash and one with ‘Democrat’ on his. So I started working on them. It was so easy. And you know what, Dad?”


 “When I finally got the Republican and Democrat put together just right, the world took care of itself.”


Elliot writes: Well, I wanted to challenge myself by writing on our current pathetic political situation and yet not offend any of you and perhaps even cultivate a middle ground without wimping out. I hope you’ll let me know if I aced it or flunked it.

Email Elliot at huffam@me.com or click here.

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