"How did it come to this?"
- King Theoden,
The Two Towers
After they finish chewing on the aftermath of Tuesday's election, how will the 24-hour cable television media fill its time?
I'm guessing handing out large doses of buyer's remorse, for which they will, of course, take no responsibility.
Like crooked used-car salesman Harry Wormwood in Matilda, they've been pouring sawdust in their broadcast transmissions for months to quiet the sound of squealing ethical gears.
It'll be a problem, all right - but after it's off the soundlot, it won't be their problem.
Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's election, here and elsewhere, for good or for bad, it sure would be nice if people of all political stripes could agree on a few things.
For example, can we figure out how to get politicians to spend more time governing and less time campaigning?
Weeks before this election lurched toward a welcome end, political prognosticators were already pondering the what-ifs - of the next presidential election.
The explanation for this, at least in part, is that there are two distinct groups of people involved in governing.
There are those who are actually part of the government - the elected officials and the bureaucrats.
But there are also those who earn a living putting people in those positions. They range from political consultants, to advertising agencies, to campaign staffers.
The former group is charged with governing. The latter group has zero interest in governing.
By analogy, the former group is watching what's on television. The latter group is endlessly channel-surfing. .
I suppose it's the difference between a soldier and a mercenary. The soldier fights to win and come home. The mercenary fights to earn a living. Soldiers hope the fight is short and victorious; the mercenary wants victory, too - but makes more money if the battles never end.
Maybe when we begin to realize that it isn't the fight that is important, but the ultimate outcome, we'll pay less attention to those who make a living trying to persuade us that the fight must never end.
At some point, when recess is over, we have to shake hands and come off the playground. Wednesday morning would be a good time to start.
Speaking of playgrounds, I'm one of a healthy handful of folks who on Tuesday will be participating in a live, online "chat" on The Augusta Chronicle's Web site, discussing the election with readers.
I've been paired up with entertainment entrepreneur Coco Rubio, an Obama supporter in spite of the fact that he is one of the smartest guys in Augusta.
Our shift starts at 3 p.m. at www.augustachronicle. com. Come join us.
Art After Dark
Meanwhile, after all the political dust clears, the Columbia County Artists Guild once again next Saturday will hold its Art After Dark event at 7 p.m. at the library in Evans.
This is a really cool evening, showcasing visual and performing artists from the county. I'm also happy to say that this year they took my suggestion and brought back the "celebrity" art auction to raise money for the guild.
With guidance and assistance from metal artist extraordinaire Tommy Lyles, I've created a piece that I look forward to auctioning off for the guild. Thus far, during the past few years, the guild has sold three pieces I've created; I hope this year's is the best.
One thing's for sure: You can't beat the admission price. It's free.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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