Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Worst Kind of Party


      Parties are usually great. What's not to like? You get to hang out with your good friends. Some people even meet that special someone at a party. For many party goers, the possibility of meeting someone special, someone that can change everything for you, and make all the difference, is mighty powerful, even though conventional wisdom (and likely your mother) tells you this is just not the place to find thaperson. Even so, we enjoy the good food, good drink, fun activities and of course there's almost always cake. And who doesn't like cake?
At 42 years old, the parties I go to today are usually pretty low key, but still quite enjoyable. They usually involve dinner, some wine, and good conversation. Being married, sometimes I end up going to a party that I'd rather not go to, at the insistence of my sweet wife (who will be reading this). My move, to make such parties tolerable, typically involves making nice with other dudes who have that similar look of forced social interaction on their face, finding the TV, and watching ESPN. You almost always find another dude or two there watching something already and willing to talk about whatever sport is on. And of course ESPN has the power to make any "old guy" party experience okay.
In college, parties were entirely different. There was the loud music, the red plastic cup, too many guys and not enough women, and lots of cheap beer, many times bought with a fake ID. Sure, someone usually ended up drooling on your sofa or peeing in your closet, but hey, we were kids. By the way,  I went to Radford University, where it was rumored that the ratio of girls to guys was 3 to 1. I have to say, however, that some guy had to be walking around with 6, because I never ended up with even one much less three. Even so, the parties were mostly harmless fun. 

But as I think about all of the different kinds of parties, the worst parties of all have to be Political Parties. These parties just plain stink. I'll bet even their cake sucks, and it's pretty tough to screw up cake.
Even good old George Washington thought political parties would suck, as evidenced by the following quote:

"Political parties are just full of a bunch of pretentious, insincere self-serving jackwads and they make me wanna puke"- GW
Okay, I may have paraphrased a little, or just made that last one up entirely. What he actually said is below:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." -George Washington

That's some pretty accurate predicting on the part of our first President. Right on GW! 
Political parties exist for the purpose of getting people elected to government positions. Their intention is to join people of similar beliefs and opinions on how government should work, and influence that government by getting people from their own party elected. Presumably, these elected officials would then govern in the best interests of the people. It sounds harmless enough. It even sounds like it could be good and productive. The problem I have with them is that these days many of the principals in this type of party are still behaving like a bunch of overactive spoiled college kids with no responsibility.  
To get what they want, they don't mind lying. Much like a teen with a fake ID, some of the principals of these parties are exceptionally good at fooling people into believing that they are something they're not to get what they want: power and money. They'll tell you just about anything to get you into...well, let's say to get your vote, though they don't usually mean it. 
These days many of the people from political parties are committing a lot of party fouls.

You'll find leaders in these parties tweeting pictures of their doodads, having unwanted encounters with 18 yr olds, driving drunk, taking illegal drugs, and other immature, irresponsible behaviors.  
One big difference is that in the case of the college kid, he's damaging his own future and wasting mommy and daddy's money. In the case of these pathetic Political Party members, they are messing with our country's future and wasting tax payer money.    
These politicians seem to have never left adolescence. And anyone would admit that while college parties got a little crazy, they were generally harmless, and no one at those parties was fit to make decisions about the country's collective future. We would all admit that at that age, with the kinds of shenanigans we pulled, none of us should be trusted in such matters.
And so I ask, why then do we trust some of the people we vote for elected positions? The only answer I have is short memories. In the worst parties you can remember, the following things may have happened: someone passes on the floor, a dude ends up drooling on your sofa cushions, you end up cleaning vomit off the floor (sometimes under the dude who passed out), Some of your stuff ends up missing, people pretend to have a good time, there's bad dancing, someone ends up pregnant, someone clogs the toilet, a fight starts, or someone pees in the closet.
  After each of these parties, you might say to yourself, "Wow, that got waaayyy out of hand". And you swear that you're done with THAT kind of partying......until a week later. Somehow through the passage of time, you forget the pee in the closet or the vomit on the floor and you go again believing this next party will be different.
With each election, through the passage of time, memory fades and you go vote for another group from one of the political parties. You think somehow with the same kind of party, "This time it will be different". You forget the tweeting of the doodads, or even worse the time Corporate America showed up uninvited and some of your stuff ended up missing.
You can't help yourself. You want to find that special someone. You want to find that candidate that can change everything, and make all the difference, even though conventional wisdom (and likely your mother) tells you this is just not the place to find that kind of person.

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