Thursday, October 27, 2016


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Mr. Popeil’s Pitch and…
If you picked up this book, it might be because the title seduced you, or you like pitches. Perhaps you spend your days waiting for your ship to come in, watching the mail to see if your newfound faith in government-subsidized programs was well-founded, or you watch the abysmal reality that is created when people stop becoming the masters of their fate for the promises made by those who will be in office for a short time to store up theirs, and leave you in the lurch.   

Government, like that most unlikely of promoters, tickled your fancy, but now you may be bored and having sampled your fill of everything that didn’t satisfy, you might have found yourself watching the government dog and pony show which seems to be on twenty-four-seven but never accomplishes what previous generations of elected officials did when many feared that death was a heaven or hell reality. Fear like that seems to be out of style, or has perhaps been supplanted by the fear that those reality stars that people admire may be out of their league. 

I grew up in a simpler time when a television pitch was a paid-for advertisement delivered late at night to those sleepless few who wanted to be entertained. Many who stayed up then will remember the Mr. Popeil pitch commercials, where for a modest price one could buy the new handy-dandy gadget Mr. Popeil had invented, and many did! No one expected those gadgets to last very long. Yet years after the inventor died, his Chop-O-Matic hand food processor was still going strong. In fact, so great was this one man’s ingenuity and pitch lingo that Mr. Popeil has become an American pop icon. Some may have thought he was a laugh riot, but this one man redefined the idea of ‘make it, promote it, and they’ll buy it!’ 
Taking a page from Mr. Popeil’s pitch success, and mixing in a little science fiction to entice us, our government has repackaged itself into a one size fits all perfect world where everyone gets taken care of the government’s way. 

Since I mentioned Sci-Fi you might think I’ve visited and am speaking about the other America depicted in one of the original episodes of the Star Trek TV shows. Although the possibility that two Americas could exist in some space-time continuum might be used by some to negate what I have written, I can assure you, that the United States of America I am writing about is the one that believed so strongly that God ‘shed His grace’ upon our country, that a unified Congress put forth a bill and on July 30, 1965 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed that bill which added the words ‘One Nation Under God’ to our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. Today those very words are being demonized because the government wants us to trust and depend upon them. 

Never before in the history of our country have the very people who elected their representatives had so much to fear from those appointed to serve. Today we are caught on the horns of a dilemma. Not since Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Civil War that tore our nation apart have ‘We, The People’ faced such perilous times. Yet there is not a cry to unite, instead our nation’s leaders debate, postpone, retreat and moan at every opportunity that the issues cannot be resolved. Since no resolution leads to stagnation, lethargy, and finally acceptance, I cannot condone the dog and pony show that robs us and future generations of the freedoms we were granted because courageous men took a stand. 

If you wonder who I have written this for, I am writing for myself, for those who long to be free, for those who see the last vestiges of what we used to be trampled asunder as we conform to someone else’s idea of a social norm. I write for those, like me, who have walked the winding road of life, observed and edited their thoughts, actions, responses, and reactions with the changing times and have ended up here. You may well ask where exactly where here is, and that is, I believe a very good question indeed. Suffice it to say, here is not the Fifties I lived in, when I discovered through what the common vernacular came to be called the Boob Tube, that neither the Beaver’s dad nor the Nelsons’ father went to work. When I watched these shows, which became for many like me the lens through which we would view life, every issue was neatly dealt with in thirty minutes, which is very unlike the Congress we have today. Getting back to the TV shows of yesteryear, I must mention that issues were dealt with in less than thirty minutes because sponsors needed time to sell products like cereals that were purported to float. However, if we had tested the claims of the advertisers, and watched to see if the cereal would float, we might have noticed that given enough time they sank to the bottom and became the icky gooey mess we thought they would. Sadly, today the same litmus test applied to the Affordable Care Act would show that like those ill-fated cereal, there is nothing affordable in that bill. If it were, then the government would have made this Supreme Court Mandated Law the law for everyone including Congress and unions. 

If we had applied that litmus test to other pitches, we most likely would have not bought a law mandated by the Supreme Court because that is not one of their functions. Furthermore, a law that was passed before it was read and debated by both houses would have, if sent to a different group of sitting Supreme Court Judges, been sent back to Congress, since this country was born from the rallying cry, ‘No taxation without representation!’   

Today Andy Warhol’s 1968 claim; ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’, has more people seeking recognition at any cost and fewer interested in what ‘We the People’ have lost than ever before. Beware, for having bought into the idea that the government can solve all ills, we may have thrown away what matters most by borrowing against a legacy we believe we can never lose: like the family farm, generations owned now auctioned off, so we could have whatever is touted as necessary, and later discover it is anything but. Thus begins the downward spiral of seeking a sort of notoriety that previous to the 1960’s was to be avoided at all cost. 

Of course all of this is the history that no one ever talks or writes about, so why now? Good question! And the answer is, why not now? For right now, we are living in a world of pitches and smokescreens where every aberrant behavior is viewed as normal. And normal behavior, the classic idea of the norm, that we were all taught to admire, emulate, and seek after, and which many worked toward for eons, seems to have left the building as surely as Elvis did. In fact, given the tenor of these times, it might be apt to observe that the norm has left our political arena, politicians, the press, our entertainers, though some of their behavior drew glances way before now, and maybe even our country.

Now you might be thinking this doesn’t matter to me! But it does! The world you live in matters as much to you as the security of the Fifties matters to me. I grew up with that feeling. It wasn’t until I received a radio alarm clock the year I turned twelve that I heard about the Bay of Pigs and a guy named Batista. I rooted for a man named Castro who would make it all better. In the infancy of my awareness of the world outside, I learned that there are movements and individuals throughout the world who have a slick pitch. If you don’t want to get suckered in, stay tuned!

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