Originally posted June 9, 2009. The quacking is getting louder, does anyone hear it besides me? It’s about time to make another visit to the pond, so to speak, so I’ll be following up on this very soon.
When something has feathers, a bill, waddles, and quacks…you’d think it would be difficult to deny…it’s a duck!
But there’s a lot of denial going around these days, in fact it seems practically epidemic. Despite any and all evidence presented, people do not want to believe what’s staring them right in the face.
What’s being denied primarily is bad ethics, but also, there is denial of questionable associations, and agendas.
The fact that bad ethics don’t seem to bother so many people sure bothers me, so I’ve actually spent a good deal of time thinking about it. I’ve realized that the difficulties we’re experiencing as a country are reflected in recent events within the movement to put a stop to out of control government. So, lacking any other term, I must say, events inside the Tea Party “movement” are reflective of what has been plaguing us as a country.
Those of us who recognize the problem with bailouts that only spend money we don’t have and that do nothing to prevent big businesses from collapsing, see the huge deficits we’re racking up at unsustainable rates and we understand what it means over the long haul; big trouble.
But worse than any financial deficit we’re piling up, we have a deficit of ethics. And unless we recognize the big trouble that is causing and will continue to cause us, it means worse trouble than anything having to do with money.
And really, should we be surprised? Debt, at its core is a moral issue. How moral is it to spend money we don’t have, to put off until tomorrow what we can’t afford today? It isn’t just government that’s racked up big debts. Americans are currently carrying an average of $8,000 – $9,000 in credit card debt. Many of us took on those mortagages that defy any notion of common sense.
So it isn’t just elected officials spending like drunken sailors. And who elected all of these big spenders to office, anyway? We did. And it wasn’t just one side of the aisle. Both parties have spent us into oblivion.
Sadly, Americans seem to be so inured to corruption, the line between right and wrong has been made so blurry, people aren’t much bothered by bad conduct when they see it.
I’ve been troubled by too many conversations to count in pointing out bad conduct to others and receiving responses like, “You must have misunderstood”, “That’s the way it’s always been done”, “But they’re on our side”, or perhaps my all-time favorite, “At least that person is trying do something!”
So, getting back to ducks, those kinds of conversations kind be likened to a situation where one person, seeing a duck walk past, turns to the person beside them and points out the creature waddling past, noting it has feathers and a bill, and the person says, “Nah! That’s not a duck, that’s a kitty cat.”
A duck in this context is someone with an axe to grind ranging from personal aggrandizement or enrichment to getting a particular candidate elected to office.
Not all ducks look or are alike.
The smooth operator with a plan. See that twinkle in his eye? That sly devil look? They’re there for a reason. Daffy knows just what he wants to do and how to get it done. He’s usually near the top of an organization, or he’s a party insider. He can usually tap into a nice, fat budget.
His ultimate goal is to maintain the status quo. If successful, this Tea Party stuff could mean limited government and decentralized power. That means he and the people he works for (see Uncle Scrooge, below) lose power. For Daffy, that probably means he’s out of a job.
The big money and power guy. See that stash he’s sitting on? He likes it and he wants to keep it. He knows how to spread it around just enough to “prime the pump”, to get people elected to office and to keep organizations going that “play ball”. You’ll see his name as a donor for both major political parties. Smart ducks know, you don’t put all of your eggs in in one nest or basket.
His ultimate goal is the same as Daffy’s, only he’s got more than a job at stake, like that big pile of coin he’s always counting and the power he’s grown accustomed to.
Huey, Dewey, Louie:
These are the young whippersnapper types who might still be true believers in things like free markets, but they’re full of energy and ambition, so they’ll take positions or assignments from their employers (if paid) or the organization they’re signed up that will ensure advancement. If there work is for the party, they have visions of office in their heads.
You’ll often see Huey, Dewey, and Louie types all over the place. Online, you’ll see them as members of state-based groups where they don’t live, listed as part of the team of multiple organizations, and on the rosters of multitudes of NING sites.
They’re ultimate goal (they’ve often convinced themselves) is to keep their heads down and do what they’re told needs to be done so they can stay in the game and move up so they can have their turn, finally, at doing some good. Alternatively, their goals are more cynical; they want to move up the chain so they can have some power and influence some day OR they’re just looking to land in that really lucrative job real soon.
She is a female version of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, only smarter (and cuter.) She is today’s new political woman, a combination of some traditional values combined with feminism. She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, but somehow still evoke images of baseball and apple pie.
Her ultimate goals are fairly identical to some combination of her male counterparts, but added to that is to be a role model to all young women, to show them that you can be a Conservative woman and still have it all.
Bob came to the pond late. He either didn’t hear about Tea Parties or was a little reluctant to step out and put one together until there were enough people doing them for it to be “safe”. Either way, Bob ducks want a piece of the action. Some of them see the opportunity to get some good will in their city for their business, some of them see a way to finally get that time in the spotlight they’ve been seeking, but regardless, they want to be a part of it all.
Bob’s ultimate goal is to enhance his own reputation or see increased sales.
The hapless state coordinator for a national group, or the director or board member for a regional or state-based think tank. He doesn’t really know what’s going on at the top of his organization (no, really, honestly, he has no idea, he just works here, really…) he’s just trying to do some good here in your state. Yeah, he’s working with so-and-so from that other group whose actions are questionable, but he doesn’t really know that much about them. They share the same general goals, so that’s good, right?
While Donald appears to be one of those guys whose hair always seems a little mussed and his shirt needs tucking in, he’s actually a lot more put together. What he’s really doing is claiming ignorance, playing “the yokel”.
This duck’s ultimate goals are to keep themselves in the political game and grow their own reputation, so they can launch themselves into an even better position somewhere. Some may have convinced themselves they are doing good works and they are just trying to work with everyone possible because after all, we’re all on the same team, right?
This is a new breed of duck, not yet well studied, was created by the recent Tea Party “movement”. Once simply John Q. Public or Mary J. Citizen, they found themselves gathering crowds of hundreds or even thousands in their city or town and now have a big email database (which many people are now aware of and constantly asking to be used for certain purposes). They’ve been guests on all the local media outlets, some even national TV, and they’ve worked with national organizations in putting on their events.
They feel the wind at their backs and they are desperate that “the movement” must not die. They realize that they have people wanting to donate money to the cause, and they’re being advised by some of the folks from those national groups that they need to form an “official organization”.
So, they’ve formed a legal non-profit group and set up a bank account. They want to keep things going, so they must be a part of the most prominent national organization out there. They’re ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on that national agenda that is being put together by that national group.
This duck’s head has been officially turned either by the allure of their quasi-celebrity status or by their newly discovered power, or simply in believing that they must do things the way they’re being told to do them by the “more experienced” and the “experts”.
This duck has the following rationale, when they sincerely believe they are doing good: “The country’s in trouble! We’ve got to do something!” Which often accompanied by, “All of these problems were caused by ‘those guys over there!’ (the Left, the Democrats, fill in the blank with the usual suspects). It’s not our side, no!”
OR very often:
“We need to work together! So what if group X is doing this or that, we cannot let this thing fall apart! We cannot let the movement die!”
This duck is a new hybrid, never before seen in the wilds (that’s the political jungle), so there’s no image available. Would you recognize this duck if you saw it? Have you seen one?
So…what’s the problem with all of these ducks?
Ducks do, what ducks do. In the case of Daffy and Uncle Scrooge, they’re clearly not up to much good. They only want money and / or power or both. It’s fairly easy to pull out one of these ducks and show his feathers to someone and have them say, “Yeah, that’s a duck!” And it’s generally acknowledged, when their bills are moving, they’re lying.
In the cases of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Daisy, Donald, and Bob, these ducks may really believe they are doing good. In dealing with groups, organizations who have engaged in questionable tactics, they believe they are making a good compromise, because, after all, even if that group has a problem, they’re working towards the same goals. Although some of these folks have become ducks themselves, they don’t even know it. They don’t recognize their own kind or see their own feathers in the mirror. Even though when they speak you might hear quacking, they don’t.
One of the saddest things of all, if you point out ducks you’re seeing, or even go “duck hunting”, you’re likely to become the target yourself. It’s a bit like that particular episode of Bugs Bunny, “It’s wabbit season! No it’s duck season! No it’s wabbit season!”.
But, as long as there is an over population of ducks, we’re going to keep going around the same circles. The trouble is, we’re running out of time.
We can keep listening to the quacking and call it wisdom, or …. we can go hunting.