My Forty Years Scribblin's
Other Ramblin's
A Foregone Conclusion

A very short essay written in 1997 and published in the September-October 1997 issue of The Montana Journal. Politics and politicians never change.


Politicians are just people—can't make anything else out of them. They won't work for minimum wages, but give them a raise and they want more. Like the rest of us. For a chance to hold down that office chair, they are willing to shoulder the blame for the whole world's ills. Being "just people," they are mingled together with human weaknesses. "Mingled," according to my dictionary, is a state of being mixed or confused. Now, isn't that just like the rest of us?

I knew a Montana state senator "way back when" who loved his office chair, but he loved almost more than anything to dance. He would get into a late 1920's automobile and risk life and limb over rough and rocky dirt roads to trip the light fantastic into the wee hours. I'm sure the fox trot and the two-step would have taken precedence, but he couldn't make a living at it.

I also knew a farmer who coveted a place on his local school board. Since there was no monetary reward for this often thankless position, he must have been drawn by the prestige. He desired the office so much that he rounded up a few Indian friends in his district and furnished them transportation, plus a dollar each, to go to the polls for him. I don't recall any spectacular change in the school system, but it made him a happy farmer. And I don't know that he ever reported his campaign expenditure, but the Indians did!

Politicians go into office knowing just what is best for the rest of us. And all the time we mutter and gripe, we know we can't get along without them. But it's a two way street and, darn it, they can't get along without us either!

Obviously these two statesmen must go down in history without a name. But that doesn't keep them from being "just people" made up of human failings—just like the rest of us.