[Editor’s note: A San Antonio executive writing under the pen name Felix Culpa once again graces our blog with his take on national politics. The hits just keep coming.]
Other than the diehard partisans, everyone seems to be complaining that this year’s presidential contest forces us to choose between two distasteful candidates. Google “lesser of two evils” and you’ll see what I mean. But to me, the choice isn’t really between Evil One and Evil Two, it’s between relatively benign corruption and relatively dangerous reaction.
Or, if you’re a fan of Coen brothers movies, between Pappy O’Daniel and Homer Stokes.
Hopefully by now you’ve seen, and committed to memory, the great “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (If not, you’re probably a millennial, so first, read the blog post that precedes this one, and second, download the movie on Yidio or Crackle or whatever stupidly named app you people favor these days).
“O Brother” is basically a recasting of the Odyssey into Great Depression-era Mississippi, and amid the trouble that encounters Ulysses Everett McGill – a wife named Penelope, her suitors, attackers that include a one-eyed giant – a subplot is woven: a gubernatorial campaign between Pappy O’Daniel, a good ol’ boy surrounded by incompetent sycophants, and Homer Stokes, a populist outsider who promises to “stand up for the little guy.”
Literally, for the little guy. See the movie if you don’t get the reference.
Anyway: Pappy frets that he’s too old-school, and that his patronage politics won’t survive an onslaught by the modern law-and-order message spouted by Stokes on the hot new social media of the time, AM radio. Stokes waves around a broom to show he wants to sweep out corruption.
It isn’t until Pappy stumbles upon a populist message of his own that he begins to have a chance. Stokes desperately tries to discredit that message, and in doing so reveals that he belongs to a “certain secret society” whose name he needn’t mention, but its initials are KKK. The assembled voters ride him out of town on a rail.
Literally, on a rail. See the damn movie, people!
Anyway: It shouldn’t be hard to see who in our current campaign represents the patronage and pay-for-play governing tyle of Pappy O’Daniel, and who represents the fearmongering posing as populism of Homer Stokes. Right?
And the important lesson, especially as Donald Trump screeches about “Crooked Hillary” and e-mails and foundations and so on, is that voters generally stick with the bullshit they know vs. the bullshit they don’t know.
It’s just too bad the soundtrack of this year’s presidential campaign is nowhere near as good as the one in the movie.