Americans of a century ago would puzzle in wonderment at the gasps of shock and outrage on today’s trail of fear and loathing. But defeated viewers with alarm denouncin’ an’ deplorin’ and the elect commindin’ were old hat 116 years ago.
But whenever an illicshun begins to warm up just a tad higher’n the level of limp-wristed foppery and bug-eyed gasping, newspapermen reach into the archives for some Peter Finley Dunne as a kind’ve reality check.
My own favorites are the rough-and-tumble of counting the unverifiable secret ballots Al Gore was so fond of recollecting. (This was before he was joined at the groin to disappointed massage girls, and asset-forfeiture caused Wall Street skyscrapers to rain securities brokers and investment bankers onto bloody sidewalks below). Like Bernard Baruch retelling ballot-box-swapping stories of the deep south, Mr. Dooley recalls Chicago election-year pollytics with international flavor and consummate wisdom.
Dutch South Africans discovered gold in the Transvaal and Brits immediately began clamoring for
the gold the vote “or else…”
If I was Kruger there'd've been no war." "What wud ye have done?" Mr. Hennessy asked. "I'd give thim th' votes," said Mr. Dooley. "But," he added significantly, "I'd do th' countin'."
Ah yes, th’ countin’. This is the art of pollytics in a secret ballot that is completely lost on libertarians an’ th’ Grain Party. Just as the law sez whatever you can get the court to say it sez, so the vote tally is whatever you can get the precinct to say it was. It works like this:
Man an' boy I've taken an intherest in politics all me life, an' I find th' on'y way to win an iliction is to begin f'r to count th' minyit ye've completed th' preliminaries iv closin' th' polls an' killin' th' other judges an' clerks.
Rocket science it ain’t, and no wander the Libs an’ Grains turn up such piffling vote counts. Everyone from the banana republics of Darkest South America to the Mohammedan Meccas of Africa puzzle in wonderment at how ‘murricans seem to have lost command of the manly arts of hands-on Democratic Republicanism. The exercise of raw suffrage has withered into the legal wrangling of liars and lawyers.
‘Th’ hated enimy has stolen th’ ballot an’ thrampled on th’ r-rights iv th’ citizens,’ says they, ‘in the southern part iv th’ state faster thin we cud undo their hellish wurruk in our own counties,’ they says. ‘They now hol’ th’ jobs,’ they say, ‘an’ if they stay in they’se no more chanst iv iver ilictin’ a dimmycrat again thin there wud be iv ilictin’ a raypublican if we got in,’ they say. ‘Do ye mix us up a replevy writ an’ we’ll go over an’ haul th’ chair fr’m undher thim,’ they say.”
That was pollytics as she is back in the days when men were men and America was fray, an’ proud ‘iv it!
Mr. Dooley can be found at Gutenberg.org, where donations are warmly appreciated.