Fool me thrice

I have a friend who remarried his first wife. It worked out about the way one would expect. As he was sitting in the court room in what was the second divorce from the same woman, he was called to rise before the judge to  hear the order, “Mr. McKelvey,” the judge began, “I see here that you have already been granted a divorce from this woman once before.”

“Yes, your honor,” my friend humbly submitted.

“Mr. McKelvey, in South Carolina, we only allow one divorce per woman. Surely you can understand anyone who’d need two deserves what he gets.”

After the laughter in the court room subsided, the judge did order the divorce and my friend, at least so far, has not repeated the same mistake of marrying her a third time.

However, it looks as if America is getting ready to do just that – assuming the polls hold true, the tea party comes out and the Democrats stay home, for the third time in my generation, there may be a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me three times, God help us all.

Just for the record, let’s take a look at how well earlier marriages with Republicans have gone. The following table lists the economic calamities in the USA during the past century and lists the party in control at the time.

Chart of those in power for the last century or so.

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” – George W. Bush

And for those in the mood, from the Tams, What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I am).

3 thoughts on “Fool me thrice

  1. Monica Smith

    So, how does it happen that the party of business keeps producing economic collapse? ‘Tis a puzzlement. At the risk of being supercilious, let me suggest that people who go into business aren’t very good at household management (what /ɪˈkɒn ə mi/ means). So, they rely on the advice of experts who, not having any hands-on experience either, translate the whole kit and kaboodle into abstractions (numbers) bearing no resemblance to what’s actually going on.
    Or perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the Democratic party is made up, largely, by people who make things — put things together — as opposed to people who just fiddle or take things apart. The neocons are actually have a name for it. They call it “creative destruction.”

    1. Lee Leslie Post author

      Borrowing your risk of being supercilious, I’d add to the list…
      1. A Republican tendency to out-of-context: taking an aspect of capitalism and being “for it” (often, dogma; more recently, spin) without a legitimate concern for the consequences of the market adjustments which will result. Market forces, just as in nature, tends to balance out (yin/yang): for instance, pro-business inequity in tax policy favoring the wealthy/business owners will naturally lead to increasing income disparity, lower standards of living in the middle class and enlarge those in poverty (the inverse also tends to be true: inequity in tax policy favoring the middle class will increase their standard of living and decrease the number in poverty) -- each to a limit where market adjustments/crashes will take place. Other examples of out-of-context dogma includes being against anti-trust enforcement; against consumer protection; against worker protection; against fair trade laws; against corporate responsibility/rights to litigate; against usury laws; politicizing the judiciary; against reporting and transparency; etc.

      2. Republicans, as a political party, seem to have fundamental lack of empathy for people. In someways, I feel as if they are the party of Darwin – let democracy, capitalism, religion, etc. evolve such that only the fittest (strongest, best armed, most wealthy) survive. Sounds OK in some context, yet it is exactly what the modern world has done until the time of a bill of rights and an independent judiciary (or maybe, we still are). The result will always be the concentration of power and wealth; the dismantling of human rights and the long cycles of empire building, ruin and revolution only made worse by the WMD’s all the fittest now have.
      3. Republicans tend to be bullies – using fear to convince someone to act against their self-interest.

      All this superciliousness overlooks the important flip side of the question: So how doest it happen that the party of the people keeps preventing economic collapse?

      1. Monica Smith

        I think part of the answer is to be found in the fact that what economists count is actually just the tip of the iceberg. While it is true that unemployment and home foreclosures peaked at a particular point in time, the formal economy has been lagging for decades, obscured by the monetization of more and more productive effort. In other words, as women and more minorities entered the paid labor force, the economy seemed to increase when, in fact, all that happened was that more people got paid and lots of people actually got paid less. That males have been disadvantaged is not a figment of the imagination. Artificial restraints on the money supply — currency available to compensate work — have had the result of disadvantaging almost everyone more or less. Women get more, but less than they deserve; men get less than they deserve, as well. The thing about equality is that it can be achieved by depriving everyone equally.
        African Americans thought being separate was the cause of their unequal access to public services and economic advancement. Or, perhaps it was the Supreme Court which enshrined that opinion in law by deciding that integration was the answer. But, just as the response to the demand for equal access to recreational facilities was to shut them off to everyone, our access to all public assets is increasingly being rationed by the use of money and access to money is increasingly restricted to all but the one percent who are in control.

        But, it’s our money. We can take it back. The shadow economy is evidence.


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