Hopefully, kids are the future past party politics

A message from Mayor Lou Manzo

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Dunk Tank on Harrison Township Day. Yes, many residents (mostly kids) enjoyed dunking the mayor and I was adequately drenched. Upon exiting my hour in the tank and standing in my Batman costume and mask dripping wet (HT Day theme was Superheroes), I was approached by a mom saying that her 12-year-old daughter, whom I’ll call “Grace,” wanted to meet the mayor. I kindly extended a waterlogged hand prepared for the normal interaction in this situation when the young lady said that she had read about me and wanted to commend me on becoming an Independent. Taken aback, I glanced at mom’s knowingly raised eye brows as her daughter then said, “I think the two-party system is destroying America.” She’s 12 years old! I laughed and said I agreed with her and told her she should run for office as soon as possible.

I share this with you as since it lends credence to the scripture adage “out of the mouth of babes…,” which implies greater wisdom from an unconditioned source, like a child. I strongly believe in this theory and my experience as an elected official for 10 years supports it. We are conditioned by what we hear every day in this age of inundation with social media and a 24-hour news cycle. We base our beliefs on what is constantly spewed at us. And politicians take full advantage of this with reckless abandon. Many will completely contradict themselves on the same issue depending on which way the wind is blowing that day. It’s nauseating! Obviously, I’m referring to issues on the national or global stage since they get the most attention, but it happens at all levels.

A great example is the president’s recent decision to withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Setting your opinion of that decision aside, I want to focus on the reaction of two prominent national leaders to illustrate the typical behavior. Sen. Chuck Schumer is the Democrat majority leader and Rep. Mac Thornberry is the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. In 2015 when the former president signed this deal, they both publicly opposed it. In recent days, they both publicly rejected the move to withdrawal from the deal with no mention or reference to their prior position. This flip-flop mentality is so commonplace in Washington that we are numb to it. And politicians know it. In fact, they bet all their campaign funding on the premise that they can say whatever they want with little regard for their history or the truth.

So, what to do? Perhaps steal a page from the Richard Prior movie, “Brewster’s Millions,” where he wages a “None of the Above” political campaign. That would that get their attention. What are you prepared to do about it? My fear is that our best hope is to wait for “Grace” to come of age.