Friday, November 24, 2006

Rumsfeld And The Reverend: Pretty Poor Stuff

I remarked in the last post about comments made to a preacher who was satisfied with his orations. Here's another one: A preacher was glowing with pride as the church members made their way out of the sanctuary, and he asked an honest old farmer what he thought of the sermon. The farmer, who just had to be truthful, shifted his Sunday allotment of chewing tobacco from one cheek to the other as he gave his verdict. "I was in the back pew, Reverend, and the people up front were swallowing up all the best parts, so what got back to me was pretty poor stuff, pretty poor stuff."

Often this is the case. Right now in U.S. politics we have seen the departure of Donald Rumsfeld and the startling power shift in the Congress. This is, of course, the fallout from the voters in the world's most powerful country telling their Chief what they think of him. His performance does not fit his statements, and what the people really heard was not honest confidence but desperate bombast, or to quote our church-going farmer, "pretty poor stuff". Another familiar quotation that comes to mind is Abraham Lincoln's "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

Those responsible for misleading us don't always intend to mislead, as they often sincerely believe what they say. Some simply want to be followed, to be important, and they adopt causes and speak accordingly. But eventually "the truth will out", and what gets to "the back of the church" is "pretty poor stuff" indeed. So what's the message for us in all this? To warp a couple of well-known sayings: Listen before you leap, and listen with your eyes open.

37 Comments:

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At 4:15 AM, Blogger bonho said...

It's beyond poor stuff, even the folks in the front had little to swallow. All we had was a snake oil salesman who was his own shill. Disgraceful.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Keith said...

You said "...those responsible for misleading us don't always intend to mislead". Obviously you haven't had the dubious privilege of meeting PM Tony Blair and his sidekick, George W.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its far to often conveniant for us to look at our lot and look elsewhere for responsabitly when we don't like the way our world is treating us.When the government we voted makes mistakes,particlarly of the Bush variety, Write letters,emails,phone calls, conversations with freinds.Please, look inside yourself and act in whatever way you are able to help create a world you want to live in. Democracy is not a vote, it,s an action.

 
At 3:29 AM, Blogger The Culinary Chase said...

Never trust a man with no upper lip!

 
At 6:44 AM, Blogger John said...

It's worth taking a step back and look at the achievement that is democracy in America. That the store worker and the chief executive have the opportunity every four years to make their voice heard and that the people in power do have to abide by the majority decision is a great thing. The majority of the world's population have little say in their leadership far less the direction it is leading them.

 
At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Ook said...

Well, blaming the politicians constitutes one view. However, I think it takes a lot of willing citizens to fight a war, not to mention young volunteers and their families.

Speaking as a liberal patriot--something considered "neither fish nor fowl" in my country today--Iraq was the most popular war effort by the U.S. I've witnessed in my 5 decades.

People were down right enthusiastic, almost as if Afghanistan had been too easy after 9/11.

Despite a sizable ant-war movement and a lengthy precipitating debate, most folks were eager to get it done by the time we rolled. And the war continued to receive majority support, albeit eroding, until this past year.

Is Bush something of a scape goat now that the fight stubbornly continues to get bigger and more real than anticipated?

He had the public behind him going in. How much is labeling Bush a liar worth? How convenient were it to let everyone else off the hook!

Maybe now we will be able to gage the popularity of a pull out from the circumstances we've created. I would find that very telling.

I dislike fights intensely. I find loss of life almost intolerable.

More intolerable yet, because one has to live with it longer, not finishing the fights one starts. Even more intolerable, because one has to live with it a lifetime, not learning to.

 
At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little typo... if memory serves, Lincoln's quote is:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

Just a minor typo, but I really like the quote, so like to see it in it's original form :)

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Donald Crowdis said...

You're right about the typo, of course. Thanks for pointing it out.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger kinziephoto said...

sometimes, I wonder if democracy would work in a vacuum.

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

G.W. certainly had a vocal cadre of supporters when he decided to invade Iraq. Those who supported him did not come close to being a majority of Americans.

The sad truth is, the vast majority of Americans felt that there was absolutely nothing they could do to prevent the action initiated by his administration.

 
At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think those who mislead the American people started believing in their own lies.

 
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