We need more annoying old men

…in the right places

A stunning lack of foresight lead liberal Christians to support big-government pols because they promised to feed the poor. The liberals made a deal with the devil. Now the pols who brought us free school lunches are using the power they were given. Well, liberal Christians aren’t the first or only people to be tricked by the enemy, or tempted to power by a desire to do good. That happens everywhere, including in small town government.

The thing about local government is, even if you take office meaning well, you soon come under a lot of pressure to do things – some of them good things, in the short term. Nobody likes the mean old man on the board: he says no to everything; he won’t give anyone a raise; unaccountably, perversely, he even votes against applying for the grant from Washington for the playground. And when I say “nobody likes him,” I mean it. Oppose everything that needs to be opposed, and you’ll be the town jerk for your single term. Unless you have a large group of supporters, someone else will take your place next year, just by promising to give the Boy Scouts a picnic table with federal grant money.

And yet, we suffer from an excess of government. This is hugely and intrusively obvious at the national level, but it starts in our towns with the best of intentions. We elect sober active men and women to our local boards, and they immediately start in doing stuff – soberly and actively working to make the community a better place. That’s not what we need from our government. Hard-working can-do people are the problem. We need some thick-headed men with a can’t-do attitude. As it happens, I know where to find them – the Anti-Destination League.

The anti-destination league is the secret society of old men, otherwise retired. While others get up early and hurry in to work, the men of the Anti-Destination League get up early, put on their hats, and enjoy the scenery during a leisurely drive to breakfast at the coffee shop the next town over.

What we need are stolid old guys like this to obstruct every local political body. School Board, Library Board, Zoning Board, Park Board – we elect these guys and put their pig-headed clueless obstructionism to work. Sell bonds for a new high school? They vote no. Hire a diversity coordinator for the regional office of educational administration? No. The assistant principle at the grade school is retiring; who shall replace her? Nobody. Where to put the new downtown tourism revitalization public-private development center? Nowhere. New flagpole at the firehouse? No. A can of tennis balls for the high school tennis team? No. Nothing, nowhere, for nobody. Just stop it. Stop it all. Stop it, block it, prevent it, de-fund it. Then come election day, he and his friends drive to the polling places at fifteen miles per hour, and spend the day standing in the way, telling rambling pointless stories, keeping anyone else from voting.

Wait, no flagpole? Really?

Of course, good things won’t get done. Ideally, nothing would get done at all for five or six years, but really the busybodies will still force through a few things: new tires for the fire truck, bullets for the police. Government won’t be paralyzed, but it will be reduced to its minimum – None of the good stuff; none of the swag; nothing for anybody. It’s a tough job. People will curse the old mules and hate their guts.

But see, the Anti-Destinationists wouldn’t care. Everybody on route 12 already hates their guts, and curses them twice a day. Board meetings are probably no more than once a month, and usually in the evening. Everybody but the Organization for the Relief of Politically Connected Downtown Merchants will be happier in the long run anyway. After the old mule serves a couple of terms on the Park Board, we’ll try to get him in the state legislature. That’s where mindless stubborn intransigence can really stop things getting done.

Another approach, that some are trying at the national level this election cycle, is electing crazy people. At first that sounds like it might work, but it turns out that many people, crazy as loons, nevertheless are full of ideas and energy. Trust me, we’re safer with sloth.

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4 Replies to “We need more annoying old men”

    1. The Democrats in the Senate don’t get the credit they deserve. They haven’t passed a budget for coming up on three years now. That’s awesome. Too bad others are taking up the slack – a determined band of legislators from both parties, hard at work. With one hand they pay the interest due on the money borrowed and spent over the last generation; with the other, they borrow more. Those are the guys and gals who keep the whole thing going.

    1. In this case all they have to do is show up and vote no. I’ll have to watch for that show. It’s not on our cable channels, but there’s probably something on the internet.

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