A Wee Innocent Laddie Abroad

Unlike that courageous coal miner’s daughter in Kentucky, who played the ostrich game by refusing to remember how she voted in a previous election, which clearly didn’t help her chances, I know exactly what I did in the last election. I didn’t vote.

This was especially odd since, as a pundit I had won a feather in my cap, predicting the Democrats would lose big because of their pusillanimous sequestering the President as if he had Ebola. Instead of the usual victory lap around The Internet track, I disappeared. It was as if I had been put away as a lunatic.

As the pols say, I had gone fishin’.

Actually, I went to Saint Andrews in Scotland, famous for being the golf capital of the world, as well as having the first Kitman (our grand daughter, Ellie Beatrice Kitman) ever to be at its local university (St. Andrews U., established 1314). I hoped my wife would take up golf, since she didn’t like keeping fit with tennis or football. For exercise, I promised to drive the golf cart.

The Saint Andrews Golf Hotel, as it was called in ye olde days, was a bonnie hotel on the water, overlooking the beach where the opening footage of “Chariots of Fire” was filmed. From the steps of our wee inn, we could see Witch Lake, a tidal pool on the North Sea coast where in the 16th and 17th centuries women who were suspected of being witches were thrown into Witch Lake. As our guidebook explained, if they drowned, they were innocent. If they floated it was evidence of their involvement in alleged witchcraft, and they would be dragged out of the water and taken to be burnt at the stake on nearby Witch Hill.

This is pretty much the predicament the nation finds itself after the first election I ever missed —not even an absentee ballot!

The most incredible thing about this historic election is that only 36 % of the eligible voters in the nation chose to exercise the franchise.

That means, if I’m doing the math correctly, that somebody or some party that got 19% of the vote could be the victor. This is awesome.

64% — correct me on the math again— of us miserable irresponsible wretches who stayed at home or went fishin’ may be the greatest untapped resource of electoral power—second only to the Undecideds who usually decide elections at the last minute in the voting booth, or so we gather from poll-oriented election coverage.

With 19% of the vote, a party can proclaim they have a mandate to rule. Why? Because they got 19% of the vote.

If this trend continues, in a few years you could win with, say, 10% and claim to have the biggest mandate of the century.

It all was mind boggling from where I sat on a bench observing the world’s most famous golf course, and thinking of those wee lasses tasting Scots’ justice.

While Republican Party major thinkers were seeing mandate dancing before their eyes when the next Congress opens on Jan. 6, the President also was seeing a mandate. He appeared to be saying that since Congress was not doing anything but trying to make him look bad -a basic hard-ribbed principle of Modern Republicanism—he could now say he didn’t need Congress, anyway. He can issue executive orders himself.

Legal scholars were saying there was nothing wrong with the writing of executive orders. By next election, it could start with the last sentence in the Inaugural Address.

My Republican friends say they used to call what the president is doing “dictatorship,” government by fiat. Today a fiat is a car.

While fascism may be the new democracy, we were starting to hear the freedom-loving wing of the Republican Party threatening to shut down the government again over immigration reform.

What is more of a threat to the American way of political life and government, I asked myself over a dram of Islay single malt 18 year old Quarter Cask double matured Laphroaig: ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda or the terrorist wing of the Republican Party?

As a non-voter, and finally in the mainstream of America, with the powerful 68%, I am tempted to say a pox on both houses. But there I go being the pessimisterian again.

On the positive side, I usually like to end my political essays by quoting from the collected words of my favorite Republican orators. It was Tom Dewey in the 1948 campaign against Harry (Give ’em hell) Truman who first said, “The future lies ahead of us.” And that’s still true today.

In the meanwhile, with Republicans in control of both houses starting in January, we may be on the cusp of the best Republican administration since Herbert Hoover in 1928.

If the traitors in the Congress allow us to have a government.


Marvin Kitman
Executive Producer
The Marvin Kitman Show
Dec. 3, 2014

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Coward’s Almanac, or the Yellow Pages” [Doubleday & Co., 1975].