Letter to the Editor

Your View 10/28: Disinformation

Monday, October 28, 2002

One day while out on a leisurely drive somewhere on the outskirts of Jefferson City, my car gave its usual "thump, thump" as I slowed to a stop sign. On this time, there was a third thump. "That's odd," I thought, as I watched my left rear wheel pass me and hurtle itself through the stop sign with obvious disregard for traffic laws. It meandered on down the road awhile 'til it started to weave and wobble, then with its last dying gasp, propelled itself into a waiting stream and disappeared forever.

With the mysterious "Case of the Third Thump" solved, I set about scanning the surrounding farmland for some form of rescue squad, jalopy repair shop or, at the very least, a phone booth. (I used to have a cellular phone but decided my brother-in-law should have it when all the talk came about the brain tumors.) My car, resting comfortably on its rusty quarter panel seemed perfectly at peace and left me with an eerie feeling of its Kevorkian attitude.

As I set out walking in search of assistance, my mind began to wander. I wondered, "Is Elvis really alive? Are there beings from outer space? What's that green stuff in those fields? And who made country miles so darn long?" After I had walked what I suspected to be about a thousand miles or so, I came across an old farmer sitting in his oxen-drawn wagon staring out into his field. The field looked as if there had been a giant bite taken from its middle and swallowed by an enormous earthworm, only the sparse scattering of crops made you think it was farmland. Wanting to use his phone, on the chance he may have one somewhere in his wagon or perhaps maybe a spare tire to fit a '78 Buick, I decided to impress him with my farming prowess.

"Strip mining?" I asked.

"Ya idjit!" he squalled, in his best old-farmer voice. "Don't cha know whet's goin' on?"

Not to appear as ignorant as my IQ suggests, I intelligently said, "Uh, no."

"It's polly-tickin' season!" he screamed. "All thet mud-slingin' a goin' on and them polly-tishuns is a usin' my field for their ammo! They's a slingin' my mud cross three durn states!"

A lengthy discussion of political practices soon followed. Information, disinformation and out and out lies were the hot topics. For some reason, a politician can use his or her opponents pictures, videos, tapes or family history, and proclaim what they want. Be it truth or not, it doesn't seem to matter. It makes for a race of who's worse.

"Pick me. I haven't done nearly as much bad stuff as he has," seems to be the slogan of choice. And in this day of "I'll sue you because your razor blade package didn't carry a warning saying they were sharp, and I cut myself" makes you wonder, maybe all this stuff is true or the opponent would see them in court. Yeah, and Jimmy Hoffa's still alive.

Disinformation is where a politician uses all the longest words Webster could come up with, uses them extensively for hours on end, and never says a word.

Our discussion went on and on about the government asking us to vote someone into office, pay them a hefty salary, sometimes for life, and all we have to go on is who skirts the issues the best and who hasn't done enough wrong to go to prison yet. I think my vote will go to my bowling friend, Tiny. Tiny, who weighs in at 350-plus (less if you shake all the dirt from his coveralls) is a master at skirting issues. I compare political answers to his answers on fishing.

"Have any luck?" I ask Tiny after a 12-hour fishing jaunt.

"Not bad," Tiny says. (True meaning; "I didn't get a bite.")

Reporter: "How do you stand on Amendment 52.4?"

Politician: That's a question that should be answered in correct context, and not on a political field of remarks that ascertain what the voting public should know, with the interests of the voters in mind." (True meaning: "I'm not saying anything that might lose me a vote.")

"How many did you catch," I ask Tiny.

"Not enough to write home about," Tiny dryly remarks (Truth: None. Zero.)

Reporter: "Have you ever been involved in corruption?"

Politician: "It's not a question of have I. It's a question of ethics, of voter support. It's a question of political correctness that meets the needs of the taxpayers, and to justify the gains we can assume we will achieve before the end of my term. It's also a question that should be directed at my opponent. (Truth: "Ask the other guy and quit buggin' me.")

"So you can see the correlation between politicians and fishermen," I stated.

"Yep. I sees whats ya mean," grumbled the old farmer. "I guess I jest gonna vote for Bill Dance."

At the end of our discussion, I explained my car's dilemma to the aged, politically versed farmer who cocked his head to one side looking in the back of his wagon and said,

"Well, mebee I kin hep ya. We seem to agree on a lot a thangs."

Getting a straight answer from someone running for office is no small task, but bolting a wooden wagon wheel to a '78 Buick isn't either.