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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/29/11

The Medicine Show

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Message Gregory Gull

The political campaign season seems never to end yet it is always beginning.   No sooner than in the hour that the polls close (it seems) there are politicians seeking to win in the next election, especially those who won previously--they do want to stay in the industry. Is it because, as is often claimed, Washington is broken?


Though technology has made it easy for one to disseminate his/her sales pitch--underscore sales--to a large audience.   However the schtick is the same as that of the medicine show snake oil salesperson who stands on the backend of a wagon selling a cure-all.


What is most amazing is that there are people gathering at each wagon believing that this snake oil salesperson is not a quack but rather the real thing.   It is not until sometime later, after having bought the elixir that many find they've been sold a concocted (yes fabricated) story--what they thought they voted for is not what they are getting!    In spite of this experience the next time the wagons roll into town, those previously hoodwinked will gather behind a different wagon--always hoping that the next barker's elixir will be the cure.  


Such cooperation on the part of the town's people keeps the medicine show industry sustainable and prosperous.   It is in deed an industry within which politicians of both parties make their livelihood. Each is selling his/her brand of snake oil while at the same time denouncing the many others pitching a similar cure-all from the backend of their respective wagons.  


It is not that the citizenry does not want to hear the truth it is that the backers of the wagons would cease their support of anyone who spoke truthfully.   People who speak the truth--telling it like it is--are not provided the stage or the support of the backers. Hence you would be hard pressed to find a truthful and trustworthy elected official (irrespective of party affiliation), and yet it is they who are suppose to serve the needs of all people in society.  


It is not that no one is served by all of this it is that those who are served are the barkers and backers of the show.


However, just like all other industries, it is dependent upon people consuming what it produces.   Both the backers and the barkers need the people to participate (i.e. to vote), otherwise their livelihood collapses.


So what would happen if when the wagons rolled into town no one showed up to listen to and buy their stories?   Likely if people decided that they no longer wished to cooperate (by their participation) the snake oil peddlers would either have to speak truthfully or find a different livelihood.   The confidence game would cease!


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My educational background includes a Ph.D. in Organizational Studies, an M.A in Statistics and a B.S. in Mathematics/Education. My experience in business and industry is as extensive as it is diverse, having held positions across the full range of (more...)
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