We need smart, not dubious tools to steer us – Times-Herald


Have you ever been seated comfortably enough on a plane at 40,000 feet and the magazine in the seat pocket in front of you, say, about 100 pages, is a catalog that offers umpty-ump gadgets of utility and questionable value? And it’s hard not to understand because the reading – maybe the thinking could be more accurate – is so fascinating, isn’t it?

Last week, one of these catalogs arrived at my house. A catalog, according to an argument on the cover, of “smart tools for everyday tasks”, from home and garden to garage and personal equipment.

I have to admit, the unsolicited catalog gave me pause from the immediate work ahead of me and injected some humor into a day circumscribed by a bunch of mundane but necessary tasks that are sure to increase the many moments of silent desperation at my desk.

It also sparked a reflection on why we Americans sometimes elect leaders of dubious usefulness and worth, people with no prior policy-making experience who convince enough voters to send them to state capitals or Washington, D.C. In my lifetime they usually become, figuratively speaking, the advertised “smart tools” selling for $19.95 (shipping not included) which we don’t have really need.

Some are clearly those who resemble writer James Thurber’s Walter Mitty character, the poor schlep who spends most of his waking hours imagining personal exploits rather than paying attention to the real world, or, more seriously, to anyone. ‘one, male or female, who intentionally attempts to mislead or convince others that they are something they are not.

Good people, do you see what I mean, those, unfortunately for most of us, who keep the seats warm in our legislative chambers of government? Or used to keep a warm seat in our nation’s executive branch?

So let’s consider the metaphor of the catalog of practical gadgets and tools and, more precisely, its contents:

Here it is, on page 32, the disposable fly trap for your terrace. The trap uses biodegradable bait that is effective for up to four weeks and has enough space to catch up to 20,000 flies. (There’s a newsworthy Instagram post or TikTok video, right?) Once full, simply throw it away, according to local regulations (if any). About $22.

Could you live without the motion-activated toilet bowl night light? Just step or stumble into the jeans, and it lights up. Oh, and it cycles through “eight vibrant colors.” In blue or orange hues in your pajamas, you look $13 as you step into the bathroom night after night.

I absolutely loved the pepper spray that “sticks like glue to the unlucky ones”. The spray canister has a range of 18 feet and contains enough gel for seven one-second bursts. You can also purchase a canister that comes with an LED light that illuminates the perp, as advertised, “like a big bulls-eye so you can spray the hot, stinging gel right between the eyes and stop them in their tracks.”

As seen in the videos, were some of the US Capitol rioters on January 6, 2021 using? However, I would not consider the Capitol police – who were defending our temple of democracy at the time and some of whom were victims of pepper spray and several of whom died – as perpetrators. Yours for $18 for the regular can, $28 for the one with the light, but don’t show up for a state or US Capitol tour with one of these, okay?

My personal favorite was what was advertised as the “most smelly, all-natural rodent repellent”. Basically, rats, who chew just about anything to keep their teeth strong and growing, get fooled by the repellent formula and will stop chewing on anything they think is fair game for them. The bottle contains 1,240 sprays for use in your car (actually rats love to chew on car wiring apparently), heating and air conditioning ducts, stuff under kitchen sinks, around garden plants – you call it – the rats will look for it. You can start spraying after spending $15 for an 8 ounce bottle.

The mild-mannered diplomat in me is hesitant to use the rat comparison – but let’s be honest – the former president continues to lead, through endorsements, a group of men and women that even the Pied Piper of Hamelin hasn’t. could dissuade them from coming to their senses.

Among those the former guy has persuaded to board his fake voter fraud train is Blake Masters, a Republican venture capitalist and political novice who recently won Arizona’s U.S. Senate primary and will face the former astronaut and titular Mark Kelly. Masters campaigned on the militarization of the U.S. border, said gun violence should be blamed on “black people, frankly,” and claimed, without evidence, that the 2020 election was fraudulent. To the good people of Arizona, just say “No”.

And let’s hope the good people of Arizona say the same to Mark Finchem, who won the Grand Canyon State’s Secretary of State primary. He is one of many candidates for Secretary of State nationwide who deny the 2020 election. He wants to ban early voting, has sued to suspend the use of electronic counting machines votes and co-sponsored legislation to give the state’s Republican-led legislature the power to overturn election results. No, no and definitely not.

America, we need to retool the government, but not with the dodgy or the pied pipers.

Richard Bammer is an editor at Reporter.


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