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The Eloquent Pogo

      Pogo's general philosophy suited me fine, and I miss him. Every Christmas I lift an eggnog in his honor and sing, "Deck us all in Boston, Charlie!  Walla Walla, Wash, and Alley-garoo."   Sometimes I'm tempted to hop a bus for Waycross, Georgia and hunt for him.  I'd borrow or rent a bateau and paddle around in the Okefenokee Swamp hollering, "Pogo-o-o-o!  Where ARE you?  We n-e-e-e-ed you!!"  

      You'd think we grown-ups could get along quite nicely without the advice and wise-cracks of an opossum from South Georgia,  but as history is made right before my eye-bones I'm convinced we're making a grand mess of a formerly proud nation and may never straighten things up without someone of Pogo's statesman-like wisdom telling us what we're doing wrong.  

      One of the most important  phrases of the 20th century was uttered by Pogo in 1970.  "We have met the enemy, and he is US!"  We have since forgiven the little critter for stealing the line from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver H. Perry who, in 1813, sent a message to an army general declaring, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."  Besides, Pogo's renowned version more accurately describes the present state of political affairs in the USofA. 

      Republicans would not admit to being their own enemy, nor would Democrats look in mirrors for people to blame.  The poor continue to blame the filthy rich for their plight, and the bewildered middle class sees the purchasing power of the once mighty U.S. dollar evaporating in their pockets, but they have no idea whom to blame.  They don't even save any of it any more.  What's the point?  The interest it yields doesn't keep up with inflation, so they just borrow whatever they need to keep up with their wants.  "Spending money they don't have for things they don't need," one wag remarked.  

      Were Pogo on the scene you can bet he'd have some sharp quips about our behavior.  He'd wonder why consumers and government bureaucrats are frantically digging themselves into a debt hole they can't crawl out of.  "What must these idiots be thinking?" he'd remark.  "They could duct tape together all the extension ladders at Lowe's and never get out of that pit."  

      Pogo would also be amazed that we stand still to let a full blown WAR be paid for on the credit card.  Up until foolish politicians invented the "guns and butter principle" citizens of a nation that wanted to go to war had to sacrifice a big chunk of their living standard to pay for it.  It was unthinkable to prosecute a war any other way.  Today the political weaklings who run the country would dare not call upon citizens to pay the bills of military adventure.  It's easier to borrow a couple of billion dollars a day from foreigners.  Citizens aren't even asked to buy War Bonds any more!

     The denizens of the Okefenokee Swamp may be peeking at us from amidst the Spanish moss and remarking about our foolish conduct.  Simple J. Malarkey might mutter something about debtors becoming slaves of creditors, but wouldn't push the point.  He would observe almost at once that we like being slaves, as long as our masters keep the the cable services priced within our means and brewers keep the prices low on beer.  

      Before he turns, sadly, to vanish into the swamp Pogo might quote his friend Walt Kelly who wrote;  "There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us  human are, curiously enough, always close at hand.  Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us!"

      Is there an echo in the swamp?

   March 20, 2006 

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