The Kansas legislature, humorist Bob Steed used to say, has 10 rules of order. Nobody remembers the first nine, but the last one was, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”
That was the opening paragraph of this week’s column until my wife said, “Everybody will be here about 6 for supper, so let’s make some ice cream.”
Making ice cream is a lot more interesting than writing about politics, so I took a break and watched over the electronic making of a churn of vanilla. Peach would’ve been better, but nobody asked me.
If I’d continued that column, I would have said that Americans have lost confidence in the Congress because each member thinks he or she is right, right being whatever his or her party says is right. Nobody thinks for him- or herself anymore. And most everybody violates the 10th rule of order of the Kansas legislature.
But then it was time to eat, so I took another break and ate barbecue and jalapeno potato chips. A healthful meal usually wouldn’t include either one, but the resulting indigestion is not as severe as that brought on by political ads on TV.
Had I not been interrupted, I probably would have said that consistency in thought is good sometimes, but not all the time. That’s an odd statement to make, but it’s true. “A foolish consistency,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “is the hobgoblin of little minds.” When it comes to politics, especially national politics, there doesn’t seem to be any slack in the rope. Little minds on both ends have pulled it taut.
But then my wife said that one of the grandchildren wanted to ski, and others wanted to go tubing, and since I am the designated driver of the boat, I took a break and hit the lake. It was peaceful and serene out on the lake, unlike Congress, which sees peace and serenity only when it’s in recess.
I was going to write that people get awfully upset when a national election rolls around. The presidential match, of course, is the main event of an election year. It’s not a wrestling match, really, because candidates aren’t allowed to throw chairs. But they can throw anything else and get away with it. The similarity between national politicking and wrestling is that the participants in both think we spectators believe what we’re seeing and hearing.
But then it was time to dock the boat and enjoy the vanilla ice cream. It was really good. Peach would’ve been even better, but nobody asked me.
My wife and I just attended the funeral of a man who loved homemade ice cream and whose daily prayer was, “Lord, please let me help someone today.”
What if all members of Congress and the president held a big ice cream social and asked in unison, “What can we do to really help someone today?”
I don’t think that’ll happen. But if I had finished the column, I would have suggested it.
— Hudgins, a former community newspaper editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.