I was just in the express lane at the grocery store and sneezed. A good one too…one of those where it’s three quick sneezes in a row. Just as I was catching my breath, the lady behind me said, “Claritin.”

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked.

“Claritin. Sounds like you could use some.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Hey, look! That wacky bat-looking kid is in the tabloids again. I better read about it.”

This was another example of how I change the subject rather than tell someone they’re crazy. (Coincidentally, I change the subject quite frequently when I’m in the company of Scientologists.)

Claritin. Not “Gezuntite” or “God bless you”. The lady mentioned pills. Name-brand medication. We’ve all known for years that special interest groups, pharmaceuticals in this case, have had more pull than taxpayers, but now they’re creeping in on our normal lexicon and taking God out of it in the process. Soon they’ll lobby to replace the mention of God in everything, including bedroom dialogue:

“Oh, Vicadin! Right there. That’s it. Holy Zoloft that feels good.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sit well with me. Not that I’ve ever made a woman enjoy four sentences of pleasure, but it’s the principle of it all. Let’s just move on.

It is coming to light how these special interest lobbyists are so successful with politicians. They set up tax-exempt corporations to dodge ethical rules of conduct. I read about that and thought to myself, “Wow…they have ethical rules of conduct?” The cave-dwelling bat boy was becoming more believable.

Under the mask of this “corporation”, lobbyists entertain law makers. They treat them to extravagant trips to resort hotels. Play some golf. Enjoy a massage. Sip some wine. Eat some caviar. Then…as if out of nowhere…”Hey, let’s chat about the FDA and prescription drug prices. That sounds swell, doesn’t it?” The politicians have to know it’s coming. If they claim that it was a sneak attack seduction, they’re lying. Like when a man tells his fiancé that he never suspected that his drunken friends would take him to a strip club for his bachelor party.

Here’s an analogy to better illustrate how I’m pissed at the way business is done…let’s say that this resort trip is a high school date. The lobbyist represents the boy, and the politician represents the girl. There’s dinner, then entertainment, maybe a flask of whiskey in the car. He’s expecting this posh treatment to payoff in the end. You following me? Here’s where it gets interesting…the citizens of this great country represent the girl’s father. How do you think good ol’ Dad is going to react when he discovers that his wishes have been disregarded to satisfy the interests of a selfish punk? (And yes, Dad will be pissed at his girl too.)

They say it’s legit because everyone does it in Washington. Legit? Then why the games? Why the tax loopholes? Why not just come right out and tell the girl’s father, “Hey, Pops…I’m gonna take advantage of your trust tonight.” They don’t say that because they know “Pops” wouldn’t allow it, but I’m sure he would appreciate the honesty.

Unfortunately, however, it’s true. It may not be legit, but every elected official in D.C. certainly does it. I can’t help but laugh when someone on Capitol Hill accuses a colleague of “playing politics”. Apparently Washington consists of a House of Pots and a Congress of Kettles, because the game is the same. By definition, politicians surround themselves with politics. When you hear them say “that man is playing politics”, what they really mean to tell us is, “I do declare! That man is way too blatantly obvious in how he conducts himself within our profession; I say I say I say.”

It’s like a magician chastising another because he let a nickel slip out of his shirt. “My oh my! This man is playing magic!” Then in closed quarters, the novice learns how to properly tighten his sleeves.

That’s the way I see it. Special interest groups have gripped their talons around our leaders for so long, they’ve now spilled over to everyday Americans. “Claritin,” she said to me. “Claritin.” Maybe some people wouldn’t have paid attention to that comment, and it’s that lethargic complacency that corporate donors love to see. And maybe government won’t notice. Not only are corporate interests transcending those of us taxpayers, but God is being pushed aside in courtrooms and classrooms alike. It’s only a matter of time before the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, which have caused a stir among atheists, are nonchalantly changed to “one nation, under Prozac.”

Wow…all of that after a sneeze. You should see some of the stuff I think up after an asthma attack. That’s right…I have asthma and I drive a Saturn station wagon. Form a line and take a number, ladies.

Just so you know, I wrote this column quicker than any other column in my website’s history. It’s more of a rant than a humor piece, but I hope you enjoyed it. I’ve always thought of politics as a puppet show, but the older I get, the more and more I wish that we, as citizens, were the string pullers and not just an audience of drones.

If you disagree with me, that’s fine. You have your opinion. But if you take a good, hard look at how Washington suits conduct themselves and honestly think it’s fair to us, then to you I say, “Hey…how about that bat boy, huh?”

Categories: Columns