H. Neal Glanville: How the lame duck was injured
November 5, 2010
As a kid, the land of politics and all that came with it was about as interesting as pulling weeds in one of Grandma's gardens.
My two brothers, myself and the occasional worthless cousin would wander all over the place dragging any tool that might pull a weed out of the dirt by itself.
Of course, this would end with Uncle Blaine herding us all back to the tool shed with his simple — yet direct to our bottoms — speech about the joys of a short-handled hoe and the many reasons we had opposable thumbs and sheep didn't.
As I grew older, the discussions over which political party could do what for who not only became a learning experience, but with the proper head nodding towards Aunt Ruthie or Grandma, a tasty one.
With the adventure of TV came not only the Mickey Mouse Club and The Lone Ranger, but the political ads and speeches that would interrupt both channels we received.
How insensitive could these old guys be running for an office we didn't know or care about? Grandpa would often block our escape saying, "Hold on a minute, he might say something smart."
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We'd drop back to the floor like dish rags, more worried about silver bullets going around corners than the ramblings of some bald guy talking about debt, or even worse, the economy.
As time passed, the speeches and advertisements got slicker and the promises, like our national debt, got bigger and bigger. We learned new words like incumbent, mid-term and lame duck.
Grandpa swore incumbent and incompetent meant the same thing, but were "just on different pages in the dictionary," and mid-term was "halfway through something that sure as hell wasn't going to work out."
I was once sent to the vice-principles office for asking how a duck could come up lame, let alone make it to Congress. It was the only time I ever saw the old coot smile — must have been a Democrat.
Aunt Ruthie said "politics, from beginning to end, was a paradox that couldn't be ignored."
Uncle Blaine assured me that a paradox "is two ducks frozen in the same pond, arguing over which way they should fly."
I suppose that an incumbent lame duck with mid-term disease is the same now as it was then, but I still can't figure out how a duck comes up lame.
If you have a parent-teacher conference this week, go.
Nobody cares how you voted, but you should care about your kid's education, and it would be a nice surprise for the teacher to meet you.
Hey, you be careful out there.