A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Destination Virginia: Part 2 - Native Tribes

Our recent vacation in Virginia coincided with the opening of a new museum at the Jamestown Settlement. The permanent exhibit covers the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and its significance in state and national history up through 1699. It traces not only the events that happened there, but also the people involved in the area during this time period.

The museum begins its exhibit with the pre-history of the area, or how the peninsula came to form millions of years ago. A significant part of the exhibit explores the Powhatan Indian culture: who they were, how they lived, and what happened to them after the English colonized the area. The cultures of the English and the first slaves imported from Angola are given similar minute attention in the exhibit.

The museum was quite breath taking, but it reminded me of the cultures that exist today that are often overlooked. This point was driven home to me when we viewed the slew of political ads on our hotel room television. The ads are more numerous this time of year because of the upcoming mid-term congressional elections. They advertise a culture which can be an important part of American society, yet sometimes be totally divorced from all sense of reality. Of course I am referring to the political tribes that exist in our country today.

Their tribes shouldn’t be labeled just Democrats and Republicans, or even liberal and conservative. Rather these tribes take their names from the way their members respond in a debate, an exercise that we all know is an important part of the political culture. I shall call these tribes the Di’nots and the Di’toos.

As an example, one member of one of these tribes could start the debate with a statement: “Members of the chamber, I wish to call your attention to my worthy opponent from the district of Wussylvania and his habit of hiring call girls to entertain at functions he holds for his constituents.” The accused then will usually reply with something like, “I wish to respond to my esteemed colleague from Beararmnia, and his statement regarding my functions. I must say, sir, that you are wrong, and I have never engaged in this practice.”

It is at this point that the first member continues the debate by saying, “I believe you have done this in the past, and that you may do so again in the future.”

The accused responds by calling out the name of his political tribe, “I did not!”
The first speaker then has no choice but to call out the name of his tribe, “Did too!”

Eventually the debate disintegrates to the point that the participants just call out their respective tribal names.

“Did not!

“Did too!”



By this time everyone else in the chamber has forgotten what the subject of the debate was in the first place. It’s just as well, because God knows, they probably had no intention of resolving the problem (whatever it was) in the first place.

This is an example, boys and girls, of your government at work! If this example doesn’t prompt you to go out and vote next Tuesday, then I don’t know what else I can do for this democracy.


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