Volume 45, Issue 7 - July 2010

theBusiness

 

Politically Incorrect???
by Lyle R. Hill

TThe great comedian Groucho Marx allegedly once said, “I would not allow myself to belong to any organization that would allow someone like me to be a member.” It’s a cute line, but I have wondered on more than one occasion what he meant by it. Was he making fun of himself or taking a shot at those groups that are so happy to have members … particularly if they can get a buck or two from them … that they don’t care about their qualifications or views, only that they help them swell their ranks to give the impression of importance, or perhaps relevance?

I have never been much of a joiner. Especially when it comes to groups with any type of a political agenda. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t supported people running for a political office or lent a helping hand to a group that appeared to have an honest agenda. It just means that I have not, until recently anyway, necessarily felt compelled to get too involved with groups or individuals who have an overly well-defined political plan or purpose.

In my bankrupt and scandal-marred state, Illinois, our last duly elected governor is now on trial for (among other things) trying to sell the senate seat that was vacated when one of our senators was elected President. It is the procedure in Illinois that the governor sells … I mean fills … Senate vacancies by appointment if one arises. This particular (now impeached) governor has allegedly been caught on tape trying to sell the appointment for some big bucks. I have read some of the tape transcripts and they are unbelievable. A jury of my peers … and at this point Groucho’s words are haunting me … will ultimately decide what fate seems appropriate for the accused.

He, of course, is not the first governor from Illinois to find himself in trouble with the law. We currently have one ex-governor in prison and, during my lifetime, not less than three former Illinois governors have gone to prison. It’s probably a safe bet that the one on trial at the present time will soon be added to the list. But these types of problems don’t just exist in Illinois … although there is no doubt that Illinois has taken political corruption to new heights, or perhaps I should say new lows. They exist everywhere and seem to be getting worse by the day at virtually all levels of government.

I am, however, extremely happy to see and report that the American citizenry, being the opportunistic yet sappy bunch that they are, have now said “enough” and are finally starting to do something about the political mess that has existed far too long in this wonderful land of ours. If you doubt this, just take a look at the two new movements that are sweeping the country. I refer firstly to the Tea Party movement started only a couple of years ago. The Economist magazine recently called it “America’s most vibrant political force” and supposedly they now have more than 70,000 active members and are growing daily. Next, somewhat in response to the Tea Party, came the Coffee Party. I read in the paper last weekend that they now claim to get 600,000 hits a day on their website. Since January of this year they have signed up more than 40,000 people. These parties are thriving because of everyone’s dissatisfaction with the government and its inability to get anything done. But, unfortunately, I have now read what appears to be the agendas and platforms of both of these groups and I for one … being the patriotic yet centrist citizen that I am … do not feel that they have gotten it right. They appear to be at polar opposites of each other and what we really need in this country at this time is something that all Americans can relate to and understand. Therefore, because I feel it is my civic duty to point out both political and social failings when and as I see them, I am compelled to start another party.

My new party … actually I’d rather refer to it as a movement … will henceforth be known as the Bottled Water Party. Because of the depth of my concern as to where we as a nation appear to be going, I will assume the position of executive director and, more importantly, chief financial officer. Now I know that there may be a person or two who might question my sincerity in all of this, but let me assure you right now that this movement will have a very clearly defined purpose for as long as funding is provided. Specifically, we will make important-sounding proclamations and will be verbally proactive on issues that are meaningful and at the very core of what we are hoping to accomplish. In an effort not to disappoint and in keeping with our goal of total transparency … Bottled Water, always pure, always fresh, always clear … we will make no promises that we do not fully intend to keep. Thusly, we’ll make no promises at all. Naturally, we will always be strongly against crime, terror, homelessness, oil spills and natural disasters of any kind that might hurt our hardworking fellow Americans. We will eat apple pie, go to ball games in the summer and, at least once a year, consider writing a letter to a politician or two suggesting that they too should consider the merits of being transparent and honest. Because no promises will be made, none will be broken. After all, isn’t this what every hardworking American really wants and deserves?

Now I know that this all sounds too good to be true but, hey, I care, and I’m here for you. So here’s the deal. You too can join me in this important undertaking by becoming a charter member of Lyle Hill’s Bottled Water Party ... where transparency is always on display … by simply sending me $50. Cash is preferred, but a personal check made out to me is okay. In return, I will almost immediately send you a handwritten thank you note and a bottle of water autographed by me—as leader of the movement. And as a strong believer in term limits, I herein pledge to spend whatever funding comes in on a project of my choosing and then resign as leader of the movement once we have 100 charter members or within 6 months … whichever comes first. You want and deserve transparency and you will have it.

So don’t waste another minute. Join today. I’ll be glad you did. And remember, you can trust me … I’m from Illinois!

Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago. Mr. Hill’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.


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