Politics versus People

It is really odd how some things change but they seem to stay the same as they were many years ago. Sort of like revisiting the past but you never left it. I was in Walgreen’s last night to pick up a prescription and as I was standing in line I noticed this big, tall fellow out of the corner of my eye. As I turned to get a better look at him it was like stepping back about 45 years. Richard Shelby, now a United States Senator, was looking for something on one of the aisles. This was the first time I have seen him since at least 1973.

I first met Richard when I joined the Tuscaloosa Police Department in 1968. He was the City Prosecutor and I was a brand new cop. The first thing you notice about Richard is his size and his almost permanent smile. If some people are born to be politicians he was one of them. He was always working what ever room he was in with a big smile. He was a couple of years older than me but we got along well at that time because I had not quite settled into any strong political beliefs. Actually I don’t think Richard had either. He was what he needed to be at any given time. Of course during those days that was a very conservative Democrat, or as I like to call them, Dixiecrats.

I went over and spoke to Richard and it was like no time had passed between the time we had last met and talked, although I am sure he remembered some of my less than pleasant letters I had written to him. I will say though, He always responded to my letters personally and tried, as best he could, to explain where he was right and I was wrong. Pretty much the same last night although we chatted briefly about a few problems he kept his political smile on the whole time. He told me that he thought the country was in real trouble and that, while it probably would not happen in our life times, that America was going to go bankrupt. I laughed and told him if he would give me the power to do so I was quite sure I could find enough fat in the federal budget to save us. He laughed.

While we were talking I remembered something that comedian Ron White had said. I told him that we could probably get out of debt if they would take some of the Air Force bases that were sitting on prime beach property in Florida and move them. Then they could sell that land to developers for rich people’s estates and we would be out of debt pretty quick. He laughed and said yeah, and we have plenty of government land that is owned by the TVA that we could relocate the bases to here in Alabama. I said great, when are you going to do it. He laughed again and said well its not that easy to do that.

There you go. We have a money problem and I offer them a solution, and they can’t get it done. I told Richard if you folks would make me dictator for just one year I could straighten this mess out. He laughed and said yeah I bet. I laughed with him and told him that there was no need to worry. Even my wife had said if I ever got control of the country she was moving some where else. But, as I said at the beginning, he and I fell pretty much back into similar conversations we had forty plus years ago. It is one thing to be angry at a person’s political ideologies, but another to be angry at the person. Richard and I have known each other for too long to dislike each as people but our politics will never be in sync. But at least we can talk about them. That’s more than they are doing in Washington right now.

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Posted by on December 6, 2013. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION,Political. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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7 Responses to Politics versus People

  1. James Smith

    December 6, 2013 at 5:15 am

    I have much the same situation with a friend in Arizona. His politics are constant Obama-Bashing to the point of passing on things he knows cannot possibly be true. For example, he is a “birther” even though I have pointed out it’s moot point and one that was actually started by the Clinton campaign in 2008.

    Still we have been friends for decades and share many views. For example, he is a part-time CCW instructor and agrees that people should have to earn a license to own a firearm.

    He also was one of my early martial arts instructors and I dedicated my video http://s1181.photobucket.com/user/slrman/media/MartialFinal.mp4.html about my training to him.

    He’s also a dog lover and recently sent me a piece about the passing of his most recent Airedale, Sedona.

    Being an ex-Navy pilot, we share a passionate interest in all things aviation, too.

    So we can ignore the politics and focus on the person, just as you say.

    • Michael John Scott

      December 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I have several friends who are Obama bashers. We’ve learned not to discuss politics. I once had a dear, dear friend named Jim, perhaps my closest friend of about 15 years, and because I supported Kerry in the 2004 election and was a fierce critic of George Bush, he simply stopped talking to me. He died of lung cancer several years later.

  2. Joe Hagstrom

    December 6, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Now that I’m a republican and can say whatever I want with impunity I would support your dictatorship as long as I keep my tax cuts and you bail out my rich banker friends.

    And remember how Mussolini got the trains running on time. Couldn’t have been that bad a guy.

    • Bill Formby

      December 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Joe, I am afraid that you and your rich friends might be a little upset by my dictatorship. Not that I am going to instantly redistribute all the money by a lot of their sweet deal tax breaks would be out the door. One of the first things I would do though is take a calculator and a sharp pencil and start cutting the fat from a lot of budgets. And, yes, the military bases that setting on prime real estate would be moved. There is a stretch of beach between Fort Walton and Destin Florida that is owned by the Air Force that is probably worth a couple of hundred million dollars by itself and there is nothing sitting on it.

      • Michael John Scott

        December 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

        Bill you’re right! I forgot about that beautiful stretch of wasted real estate.

        • James Smith

          December 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

          As if that’s the only one? If we scaled back foreign bases that are leftovers from WWII, the savings would be billions, not millions.

          • Bill Formby

            December 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

            Oh there are many, many more. That’s the point point.