Charleston is a city with a lot of problems facing it, and one of the most pressing today is the huge influx of transient politicians from other areas of the state. I’m not talking about our normal local politicians. While it’s sad to see them around, they seem relatively harmless, and some of them are colorful personalities that can be amusing and even charming, in their own way. I’m talking about a new breed of politicians that have poured into Charleston in recent weeks and are likely to stick around for the next few months making things unpleasant and intolerable for all of us.
It’s become a safety issue as the politicians hit the streets begging for money. It used to be that they’d be happy standing by the street begging, which was unsafe, but not horrible. Now we have a more beligerent political fundraiser who might storm right up to you demanding a contribution, and if you turn them down they get agitated and start waving their arms and scream about “Obama’s war on coal,” and “Benghazi.” It’s made it so that I don’t really like going to some parts of Charleston anymore. You never know when some shady-looking person is going to come up to you and demand that you donate to their PAC.
Part of the reason for this is that Charleston is such a compassionate city. We have so many social programs to help support politicians. If a politician is willing to play by the rules, they can usually get warm meals at the Chop House or Soho’s, provided by the many good Christian lobbying organizations in town. If a politician doesn’t want to play by the rules and insists on getting drunk or hanging out with prostitutes, many of these groups will take care of their needs anyway.
And that compassion has had the unintended effect of drawing even more politicians to Charleston. Our generous Per Diem program allows them to build massive tent cities in the Marriott and Embassy Suites downtown, and when the politicians are too lazy to feed themselves, you can be sure that lobbying groups will deliver Tudor’s Biscuits to the State Capitol and spoon-feed them a hearty artery-clogging breakfast. This has made Charleston a dumping ground for politicians.
There are even reports that failed politicians from other states like Maryland and Maine were put on a bus with one-way tickets to Charleston when they became too unruly to get elected in their home states.
It’s become a real problem. West Virginia is blessed with an architectural wonder in the Cass Gilbert-designed Capitol Building, but ask anyone in town, and they’ll tell you that they’ll do anything to avoid going there right now. The reason? All the politicians. They take over the place, like nasty Canada Geese in an otherwise peaceful pond, fouling it with their presence and wretched honking, and claiming all the best parking spots.
They’ll erase laws that protect our water, our air, our job safety, and they’ll try to kill off state agencies that they don’t like by slashing funding for education, public broadcasting, environmental protection and social programs.
At the same time they’ll cut taxes on businesses that they, or their family members own, and try to make it impossible for anyone to sue a negligent business.
This problem is very real and I really don’t know what we can do about it. Charleston’s poor lobbying organizations are overwhelmed, trying to keep this transient population of politicians comfortable with five-star meals, booze and other considerations, but the politicians are still out there doing their best to wreck this state. They’re not content with their salary, per diem and special license plates and parking privileges. They want more power, and they want it at the expense of average citizens.
In an ideal world we wouldn’t have any politicians, but this is the real world and politicianness is a real and unavoidable problem. Charleston seems to have a worse situation than other cities because of the great number of support organizations in town. We can’t really avoid the elephant in the room either. The State Capitol seems like a magnet for these transient politicians, but every time we talk about moving it the social justice warriors start crying about how we’re targeting one particular segment of the population, so nothing gets done.
What can we do? The good Christian thing to do when encountering a politician would be to offer them a meal, listen to them and actually engage them in conversation so that they feel like they’re worth something. After listening to them, gently explain that they’re wrong and have dedicated their life to furthering an evil agenda that will eventually lead to the destruction of this country. It’s highly unlikely, but they may actually listen to you and take your advice to heart and leave politics, perhaps returning to their home to find a job that actually contributes to society.
Call me overly optimisitic, but I believe that many politicans can be rehabilitated and turned back into useful members of society. The difficult part is figuring out how to connect with them and explain how they can turn their lives around without completely robbing them of their dignity.
We really need to find a way to deal with this issue, or Charleston will just become a shell of its former self.
That is the PopCulteer for this week. For those of you who need to have your satire clearly labelled, this column was satire. Be sure to check back for all our regular PopCult features as we continue to post fresh content every day.