FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lost in Patagonia

If I have to listen to another politician telling us how sorry he is about his marital infidelities, I’m going to disappear on the Appalachian Trail and emerge years later, if ever, somewhere in Patagonia, where my meager pension will pay for all my food, gin, and other basic needs.

I’ve always known that a large number of men go into politics to accept bribes and steal from the taxpayers. Who’s worse? A thief or an adulterer? The thief is worse. His thievery harms everyone in his jurisdiction. His adultery hurts his wife, but she can protect herself with numerous personal and legal resources. She can kick the rat out if she wants to, as Governor Sanford of South Carolina now understands.

In moments of great insight, taxpayers might even encourage politicians to take up extramarital sex, cruise the toilets of Minnesota airports, or fondle interns in a closet conveniently located beside the Oval Office. The more time they spend playing around, the less time they have to steal money and take bribes.

The case of Spiro Agnew comes to mind. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Baltimore charged that he took bribes while he was a county official in Maryland, while he was the Governor of Maryland, and while he was the Vice President of the United States. During his reign as Vice President, he also wasted time flipping through his thesaurus, looking for rarely used words with which he concocted alliterative phrases that he thought would spice up the efforts of his speech writer. All this sport ended when news of his love affair with bribery suddenly danced on the headlines. What Agnew really needed was a girlfriend in South America.

Or ponder the career of Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois. If the charges against him are proven true, he’ll always be remembered as the most inept bribe-seeker in the history of the Chicago political machine. His wife, Patti, will miss him if he goes to jail, but I’ve heard nothing about adulterous liaisons by either of them. Maybe a discrete call girl, summoned once or twice a month, could have saved the governor from greed unequaled by everyone but the bankers of Wall Street.

Female politicians, now liberated but still relatively new at the game, have set a prudish record for marital fidelity. I attribute this to the home economics classes they were forced to take in high school. But one sometimes suspects that their Gucci bags are stuffed with cash handed out by insurance companies, stealth munitions salesmen, and the previously mentioned Wall Street bankers.

I hate to be the first to suggest it, but taxpayers could troll the Web for internet porn and send the ladies, especially those in Congress, a flood of the stuff, enough to reinforce their libidos and send them home with other women’s husbands. All this fun would soon turn them into insurance, bank, and weapons haters; and they would start cutting the appropriate parts of the budget. The weapons portion of this formula, by itself, could easily lead to a federal balance sheet so fiscally sound that it would drive Dick Cheney back into his bunker forever.

When I was a boy, I had no idea how much happiness politics might bring. If I had known what Governor Sanford knew, I would have studied Spanish in high school instead of trigonometry, and I could have gone into his line of work right after graduation. I could have balanced every budget that came near me while I was lying around between flights to Buenos Aires.

But I missed my chance. I was a good boy, most of the time. Now I’m older than Bill Clinton, and I’m almost as old as Dick Cheney. My income just went down, and the price of gin just went up. Go ahead, Argentina. Cry for me.

PATRICK IRELAN is a retired high-school teacher. He is the author of A Firefly in the Night (Ice Cube Press) and Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family (University of Iowa Press). You can contact him at pwirelan43@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
Domenica Ghanem
Is Bush’s Legacy Really Much Different Than Trump’s?
Peter Certo
Let Us Argue Over Dead Presidents
Christopher Brauchli
Concentration Camps From Here to China
ANIS SHIVANI
The Progress of Fascism Over the Last Twenty Years
Steve Klinger
A Requiem for Donald Trump
Al Ronzoni
New Deals, From FDR’s to the Greens’
Gerald Scorse
America’s Rigged Tax Collection System
Louis Proyect
Praying the Gay Away
Rev. Theodore H. Lockhart
A Homily: the Lord Has a Controversy With His People?
David Yearsley
Bush Obsequies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail