POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Take the Election, Please.

by David Trumbull

December 5, 2004

Take the election…Both sides just spent the whole summer hunting up things to cuss the other side on…Nobody is going to spoil the Country but the people. No one man can do it, and all the people are not going to do it, so its going to run in spite of all the mistakes that can happen to it.

--Will Rogers,
three weeks before the 1932 Presidential Election.

As the French say, “the more things change, the more the French pretend to still be an Important Country.” Here in the sole remaining superpower --about the best bona fide you can have of being an Important Country— our liberal friends have come down with a serious case of taking-politics-far-too-seriously. I wish I could soothe my Democratic friends by saying, “calm down, President Bush can’t do one-tenth of the Bad Things you fear he’ll do.” He likewise will not do one-tenth of the Good Things I’d like him to do. As the poet lariat noted on the eve of another realigning election, this country is too big for any one man to spoil.

There’s an old liberal saying “the personal is political,” or is it vice-versa?

When mainstream media and Hollywood billionaires all line up on one side in the election, it is not good for America. The signs are out up and down corridors of New York and Los Angeles: “Republicans Need not Apply.” By their very attempt to be “relevant” the entertainment celebrities have made TV and the movies, formerly great shapers of society, quite irrelevant due to lack of any engagement with alternative views. It was not always so.

The cult of celebrity is of recent invention, dating to the 1920s. The original “A list” celebrities were a bunch of writers, actors, and other artists who met daily from 1919 through 1929 to lunch ‘round a large table at the Algonquin Hotel on West 44 Street near New York’s Broadway theatre district.

They were celebrated for their wit. Several achieved financial success. All continue, even now, to enjoy critical fame. When “Round Tablers” got interested in politics and public affairs they stayed the best of friends, even while taking up the most divergent positions. Dorothy Parker was a communist in the 1930s, while her best friend at the Round Table, Massachusetts native Robert Benchley, was a life-long Republican. Englishman Noel Coward, a frequent visitor at the Round Table, was so far right on political issues of the day that there really isn’t any word in current the American political lexicon to describe the man who wrote of the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, “In my humble opinion, a bloody good thing, but far too late.”

As media celebrity and felon Rodney King said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”


David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.