Tuesday, January 21, 2014


asterisk (noun): a small starlike symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.


Meager but mighty, this * indicates that something is not as it seems. 


A symbol of repudiation in on-going debates about how the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame should handle controversial greats like Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire.  


A symbol of contingency in the case of this year's annual family beer pong tournament during which my brother was unable to defend his 2012 title because the impending birth of his son.   


A symbol of retraction regarding my claims that Congressman Underwood, were he real, could speak for me politically.  


When I spoke in adoration of Congressman Underwood in a December post, I was barely three episodes into the Netflix Original Series "House of Cards."  As episode unfolded upon episode and political scandal flooded the plot line, I quickly amended my initial findings regarding Underwood.  (My arguments regarding Phil Robertson and FOX News and A&E remain strident.  I merely intend to adjust my allegiance to Spacey's Underwood.) 


Brilliantly scripted, Kevin Spacey establishes Underwood as the Keyser Soze of Washington, his hands and nose felicitously unblemished, his soul ominously polluted.  Vying for power as Vice President, after being snubbed for Secretary of State, Underwood swindles and slanders his way through the ranks. *Slight spoiler ahead.*  Because of his deceitfulness, a young politician gets caught in a maelstrom of a scandal and, when he turns to Underwood for help, he dies in an apparent suicide.  Even Underwood's wife, though not an entirely innocent player in Washington, falls prey to her husband's trickery and loses the support of a powerful business ally in the wake.


As fiction,  it's captivating; as a commentary on reality, it's numbing. 


I am not so naive to believe that politicians are without human failings or that the weight of public service is easily borne, but I struggle to accept that Washington begets corruption in the manner presented by dramas like "House of Cards" and "Scandal." But if art imitates life, it is pressingly important for the American people to place in Washington those who will forgo the power of political agenda for the power of American progress.  Employment and taxation and relief funding and marriage rights and gun control and education reform and social security and health care are not issues to be bandied between the ruthless and the greedy; they are affairs of humanity and must be undertaken with caution and care.   


After all, our elected officials represent the Voice of the People, not the Voice of the Person, and should remain more steadfast to our Nation's progress than Underwood did to his.

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