Joe’s Journal

Ms. Pigette knows politics

Posted:  Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 7:15am

As the summer visitors (and locals, too) learned how to use the Route 27 roundabout without getting into a swivet, I thought it might be time to stop for a chat with Ms. Pigette.

You know her, she holds up a mailbox across the street from Joan Rittal, where she keeps a sharp eye on local affairs. As such, she is an authority on all things political.

As I stepped out of my little car, she had just finished wiping the sweat from her snout.

“I am just happy. Winter is gone, the roundabout is finished, the traffic jams are history, and I don’t have to breathe diesel fumes 24/7.

“Now, what do you want?”

I told her I wanted her take on the anticipated nomination to the Supreme Court by the current occupant of the White House. I explained that lots of my friends, on all sides of the political spectrum, seem to be up in arms over the nomination. I wondered if she had an opinion, one based on her ample exposure to the public.

“An opinion? Moi?" she snorted. Then she started in with some background.

“Remember the fall of 2016 when progressive neighbors were up in arms over the way they said Hillary Clinton had “stolen” the Democratic Party nomination from Bernie Sanders? Do you remember how they were so mad that they said they would stay home rather than vote for Hillary?”

“I know I know. I was there, but thanks for the history lesson.”

She swiped at another rivulet of sweat slowly snaking past her left ear and said it all comes down to three words. “Elections have consequences.”

She explained that it is true when you are dealing with elections. It doesn’t matter if is for the presidency of the United States, the Maine Legislature or the Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club. The candidate who gets the most votes gets the office and the power.  And, to quote a famous political leader (who later summered at the federal prison known as Club Fed), you have to follow the golden rule of politics. “Dem that got the gold got the rules.”

I asked her if she was saying these good people who were mad at Mrs. Clinton are the reason the Republican candidate can now ride to his golf course in Air Force One?

She just smiled back at me.

“The guy who won the 2016 election told us he wanted to appoint conservative judges, cut environmental regulations, ignore climate change, cut taxes, put in protective tariffs, and upset the world trade order.  Are you surprised that he did what he said he was going to do?”

I thought for a minute; then I asked her if the political interest groups, like the NRA and the Koch Brothers and evangelical Christians and dozens of other conservative folks had a part in the election. What about the Russians? And did Clinton's own political stumbles play a role in her loss?

“All of the above, Mister old newspaper guy.”

“But,” she said. “Many of the folks who refused to vote, are the same folks now screaming about the Supreme Court and other policy changes."

“So what can they do? They are good folks. Some say all will be fixed if they changed the rules as they did with ranked choice voting? What about term limits. Would that help," I asked.

She smiled and snorted. “We already have the tools. If you want change, all you have to do is win the next election.”

“How would you do that," I asked.

“Simple. I would do three things. Identify your potential voters, get them registered to vote, and make sure they get to the polls. It ain’t rocket science. If you think the folks in office are doing a good job, support them. If not, help the other person. That is the American way.”

“What about social media. Does that change the game?"

"Maybe. We’ll see.

“Now, you can protest and march. Or you can stay home, sit on your can, and post comments on Facebook. But if you want to change the course of this state and nation, your best bet is to talk to your neighbors and friends. Political scientists believe one committed voter can influence 10 others. Don’t worry about Robocalls, TV commercials, Fox News or MSNBC. Talk to your relatives. Talk to your friends. A letter to the editor of your local newspaper will do more good than a smart aleck social media post.

"The real secret to political change is to elect candidates who support your point of view.

"So, if you are happy with the current administration, or, if you are opposed to same, quit bellyaching about the other side, do your homework, then roll up your sleeves and get to work.”