November 16, 2018

Strap on Your Seat Belts: It’s Hypocrisy Season!

By Mark Pontoni | Aug. 18, 2018

The August 7 Primaries have been completed in Michigan, and except for polling places running out of ballots in heavily Democratic precincts run by Republican clerks, all went relatively well. Our badly broken primary system has survived another run-through, and now we all get to brace ourselves for the most important midterm elections since the Civil War.

Democrat or Republican, we all know that in November we will learn a lot about the future of our country. If we don’t send the Trump kleptocracy a strong rebuke, we are likely in for another 10 to 14 years of the sharp decline of the American empire. By the end of a second Pence term, there will be little left of the country that once led the world in economics, democracy, and moral authority. But we will have a Space Force, so there’s that.

My son is fond of reminding me that all politics are local, and in the midterm elections, it will be the local races that decide the future of our country. Can Michigan undo the horrendous state of gerrymandered districts gifted to us by Republicans who are perfectly comfortable hijacking our democracy? Can voters wrest at least one branch of government from Republicans who are determined to continue flipping the clock backwards until that time when white guys didn’t have to worry about those pesky minorities, those uppity women, and those repulsive gay people?

Die-hard Democrats and Republicans already know how they will vote on these issues in November. For the other folks who have somehow missed what’s been happening in our country for the past two years, and in our state for the past eight, I urge you make a careful comparison between what politicians say they believe and the things they do. When you see hypocrisy, vote for the other guy or woman. If they’re both hypocrites, vote for the one who makes your stomach turn the least. (My careful scientific research indicates that you’ll likely be voting for a lot of Democrats using this simple procedure.)

There are some great examples of how to use this system. Who can forget Tennessee Republican Scott Desjarlais, who in 2014 ran on a strong pro-life platform while, in that very same year, urging both his wife and his mistress to have abortions? This one’s simple. He says he’s opposed to abortion, but he wants his wife and mistress to each have one. That’s hypocrisy. Vote for the other candidate.

You might remember Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who sought a constitutional amendment to protect “family values” by defining marriage as a union of one man and one women.  Listening to him explain how his name showed up prominently on a list of politicians who were regular clients of a Washington, D.C. prostitute is epic hypocrisy. Simple. Vote for the other guy.

Newt Gingrich, of course, was another “family values” guy who sought to take down Bill Clinton for his sexual misconduct. But at the same time Newt was playing holier than thou in discussing the president, he was cheating on wife No. 2 (who, by the way, was his mistress when he was married to wife No. 1) with a staffer who would soon become wife No. 3.  Follow all that? Vote for the other guy!

In Michigan, Bill Schuette wants to be our governor. He’s the smaller government, tax cutting, pro-business guy. He’s so in favor of smaller government that he once wrote on behalf of we, the people, that the government has an obligation to monitor the sexual behavior of people because sex is meant only for procreation. In a brief he filed as our attorney general, he argued strongly against gay marriage with this ditty: “One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan is, and always has been, to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.” (APRIL DEBOER, et al v RICHARD SNYDER, et al). Somehow Shuette believes the state should have the capacity to monitor who is having sex so that we can make sure it’s only for procreation. That’s a really big government. That’s hypocrisy. Vote for the other candidate!

Finally, our State Representative in the 107th, Lee Chatfield, is collecting Hypocrisy Hall of Fame credentials. By now we all know that this strongly pro-life politician has publicly supported his wife’s decision to have an abortion. This strong pro-gun advocate, who stresses the party line about gun safety being of paramount importance, took a loaded unregistered gun to his child’s birthday party. That being not quite hypocritical enough, he then attempted to board an airplane with that very same unregistered loaded gun. When the story came out, he tried to tell us how he was owning his mistake and blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t going to “own” this mistake until this crime became public … two weeks after the incident. Owning your mistake would have been coming forward the next day and admitting the crime and accepting the punishment. If you’re running for the Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, however, you don’t do that. Vote for the other candidate.

There are a lot of important races and issues on the ballot this November. Deciding the future of our country is the responsibility of all citizens of voting age. Some of the issues are complicated, and some of the candidates can be tough to choose between. Come election day, however, you can simplify the effort: Seek out the hypocrisy, and vote for the other candidate. Then spend the rest of your time deciding between the worthy candidates. Your life will be easier, and our state and country will be better places to live.

You can read more of Mark Pontoni's thoughts on education, politics, sports, and family at www.thegrumblings.com.

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