Pond Scum vs The Oath

Pond scum can be defined in a few different ways. According to Wikipedia “a large and diverse group of organisms that lack various structures; or the urban dictionary defines it as “a person without principles or morals and someone who is lower than a wood tick and perhaps slightly higher than whale dung”. Or maybe you are the gardening type with this definition of pond scum “comparable to weeds in a garden that serve no purpose, are unattractive and hard to remove. When the conditions are right, scum grows in excess, causing blooms and using up the oxygen that other life depends on”.

Now that we have defined what pond scum is we can look at what has happened over the last week and realize that in America we have been living with Pond Scum for some time. If you live in New York many of your papers and tv screens were filled with the face of the Speaker of the Assembly, one of the three men in a room, Shelly Silver. The long arm of the law finally reached into those chambers and pulled off some of the pond scum. For a long time people have been saying someone needs to look closer at what has been going on in the cesspool of Albany politics. Finally a big skimmer reached in and took a big piece of scum off the cesspool.

Some of us thought it would happen when travelgate was discovered about the “sight-seeing, mileage grabbing trips” to get from his home to Albany. But nothing happened in fact, it was almost forgotten. How creative to take other than direct routes to get to work! I still am not sure exactly how many frequent flyer miles were racked up – racked as in what a racket!

Back to the definitions. The first a large and diverse group of organisms that lack various structures fits the political arena in New York State. Individuals are elected from all over the state to represent the voters. We have seen over and over again once the elected get to the cesspool something not so magical happens. They forget about the people and start thinking about the individual. How do I get re-elected and how do I amass a good pension to live in the style I have become accustomed to is their focus. The structure of serving the people becomes the people serving them.

The second being the urban definition, a person without principles or morals …boy that one is too easy! Just look at the number of politicians who have been arrested or under investigation over the last 10 years in New York State. We have endured sex scandals on the state and national level. Who can forget Wild Bill and his, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” on tv screens all across America. He sat defiantly looking into the camera and tried to make everyone believe, especially his wife that he was an innocent man and sex was the furthest thing from his mind. (I don’t think too many people fell for it, not even his wife!)

And then the third definition, when the conditions are right scum grows in excess causing blooms and using up the oxygen really seems to cover the area of politics at every level. We have elected people who can say one thing at your door but when they take that oath, when they place their hand on the Bible and say those words they start turning that shade of green and acting like weeds suck the life out of us.

Maybe what we should explore is that Oath. Why do so many people take the Oath and then do the opposite? In 2013 and 2014 thousands of people attended rallies all over New York State and stood proudly and took the Oath at the end of the rallies. A member of the local Oathkeepers would ask people if they would like to take the Oath. So many people would raise their hand and say; “ I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of which I am about to enter. So Help Me God.”

Since elected officials take just about that same Oath, why do so many of them become Pond Scum? Fortunately for us, the pond is starting to talk and the scum is not only coming to the top but trying to run to the corners to hide from the skimmer. I long for the day when the pond is clear and bright and all the scum, at every level no longer exists. Look out Scum, your days are numbered!

You Scratch My Back and…

It seems politics as usual is more about doing what someone wants or they won’t support your legislation.  Recently, I was in the halls of the cesspool in NYS and spent time speaking with many legislators.  There was a common theme – if you want your legislation to pass, you have to promise to support or give the appearance you will support another politician in his reelection efforts.  How do we explain to our Veterans that legislation that would help them will only be signed if the legislator  who is proposing it, agrees to give the appearance that he or she is in support of a sitting legislator? What-ever happened to legislating for the good of the people, not the good of the pension plan of the legislator or his future aspirations? How fitting that in the Well of the Legislature Building there was a large inflatable colon…need I say more?