An old saying goes, “You don’t want to see how the sausage is made.” The origin, and exact wording, of the adage, can be debated at length as an internet search will quickly attest. Be that as it may, the meaning is clear; however, it is used or worded. You don’t want to know all that goes on behind the scenes, whether one is talking about meatpacking, politics, church, or many other occupations or avocations.
My first real clear understanding of the adage was shortly after high school. My roommate took a job in the sausage division of a nationally known, at the time, meatpacking operation. His first and only job was in the sausage-making area. I will not gross you out with the details. Instead, I will just say he lasted until lunchtime of his first day. At lunch, he walked into the company cafeteria, took one look around and walked out. He didn’t even quit officially. He just went home and never returned.
I’ve never been behind the scenes in the sausage-making industry. I have however, been involved in something even messier, politics and public service. As the world is finding out, thanks to social media and around the clock news, these are messy, sometimes sickening businesses. A look at the last four years in the United States, and its dealings with the world, make for a good case study of havoc behind the scenes.[i]
Before going on, here is one disclaimer or clarification. As I wrote in “Stuck in the Middle,” each reader will see this from his or her own perspective, and readers from both sides may find fault with my reasoning. So be it! Some may think beyond their political or cultural biases and realize the mess we’ve made of the greatest political-social experiment in history.
First, let’s talk Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. Was there Russian interference? It seems they did their best to meddle, and it is likely Russia, as well as other nations, are still attempting to influence United States politics. The problem with the Russian affair was the media scrutiny, and a new form of politics being played in the campaigns.[ii]
Whatever one thinks the 2016 election, it was a benchmark for future outsiders running for high office. Donald Trump, mostly by playing the people who hated him, showed us what a snake pit politics is, even in the United States. He pushed their buttons until the exposed just how far outside the bounds of propriety they would go in their efforts to stop his campaign.[iii]
George W faced some of this during his campaign and time in office. He even wrote a book, laying bear his sins. For the record, that is an old employment interview tactic. If someone knows the potential employer will find skeletons in the closet, put them on the table first. That way, you get your explanation there instead of being on the defensive when they are discovered. W’s opponents did their best to discredit him,even digging so deep they found a minor sin he forgot to confess. Sadly, it did not completely blow up in their face, but the impact was minimal.
In President Trump’s situation, the game of “we’ll find something you can’t overcome” continues through this day. It continues, and his tactics remain the same. Perhaps those tactics make you uncomfortable, but the reality is they have always been used, just not openly by the candidate. Of course, today it is even easier to slander your opponent or a candidate you do not like. Post almost anything anonymously claiming a candidate is the Devil and someone will report it. Of course, as we have seen in recent times simply winning an election does not bring relief.
Old stories are recycled endlessly. New accounts are created out of thin air. In fact, I could blog a complete lie, get it into the right hands, and it might have the impact and the longevity of the much-ballyhooed piece of trash the Steele dossier!
Yes, behind the scenes in politics and public service can be as nasty as sausage making. Still, there are people whose perspective on life and lack of sensitivity allow them to see how the sausage is made and eat it for breakfast. The same is true in Washington and other seats of power around the country. Politicians and bureaucrats can handle the slimiest matters, in the slimiest ways, one can imagine, and toast their actions at a $10,000.00 a plate dinner.
[i] Yes, there were other periods on which I could focus, but analyses of what happened in the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s, etc. are ancient history to most people. Additionally, they were before social media.
[ii] Technically political tactics were no different. If one looks, it is possible to find political cat fights throughout history. The big difference in the 2016 race was we could see behind the curtain. The Wizard’s tactics were exposed.
[iii] Yes, former president O’bama was the subject of visious campaigns that were based on dubious so-called fact. Still, for the most part, he had the MSM and most of Hollywood supporting him. Detractors were, for the most part, what some would consider right-wing nut cases.