Thursday, December 06, 2007

Droopy Drawers

We’ve all seen them, mostly young males walking around with their crouches down to their knees and their boxer covered butt hanging out. They hold their pants up by grabbing the front and pulling them up or constantly hiking their drawers just in the nick of time before their trousers hit the ground. Who came up with this tasteless “fashion” statement?

I can’t say I ever saw any of this in the movies I watch. Perhaps it’s just the genre I favor (can you imagine Sly Stallone or Chuck Norris trying to chase down some bad guy while holding up their crotches? I suppose saying “hands up” would be out of the question too). The first time I recall seeing it was while watching an MTV award program (I had tuned in to watch a brief reunion performance by the Bee Gees). I couldn’t help staring at these scrawny performers prancing around on stage with butts hanging out the back of their britches like a bad vision of the diaper babies from a Pampers ad. The crowd, comprised of both genders in their late teens or early twenties were screaming and yelling, but that’s to be expected on a MTV show (and I suspect some the “enthusiasm” was overdone at the urging of the producers and free passes to the show). After my momentary shock and I found myself laughing so hard I almost feel out of my chair. Little then did I know this wasn’t a mere costume malfunction and the joke would turn more serious.

Sometime later, while sitting at a red light near downtown Louisville, I watched a young man of approximately 16 or 17 years of age, attempt to run across the street to catch a bus. Unable to waddle fast enough, the young man stopped and reached between his legs right in the middle of the street and yanked hard on his dangling crouch the way you would pull up on a galloping horse and do what I call the “dirty diaper” trot across the street to the waiting bus. As you can well imagine, I was nearly in tears at this point. The young man glanced my way and gave me one of those “go to hell” looks, but I figured that even given my bum knees, I could still skip faster than he could waddle, and kept on laughing.

Since then, this need to “air dirty laundry” while still wearing it has become a nauseating fad. Not to long ago, I saw one young man with a case of “droopy drawers” less the prerequisite boxers standing around with some other guys. Not a pretty sight I can tell you. Even the girls have gotten in on it and started showing off their g-string underwear. Now, perhaps I’m just getting old (and I swore I would never use this expression, but here it goes), “in my day” we had button up fronts instead of zippers, hip huggers, halter tops, mini and micro mini skirts, and who can forget hot pants! But even with these, none of them show off the goods, and we would never have though about walking around like one year olds who just went potty and needed someone to pull up their pants. (I admit there are times when I have an overwhelming urge to ask some of them if their momma worn their belts out whipping their little behinds and that’s why they don’t have one hold their pants up or if they simply aren’t smart enough to find a pair of pants in the closet that fit, but I resist). I doubt too that one could argue that this is a cultural expression since there isn’t anything “cultural” about not being able to keep your pants pulled up.

So, to all the parents out there who will be Christmas (or holiday of your choice) shopping, I ask simply that 1) You buy your child a pair of pants that actually fit; 2) you buy them a belt and/or suspenders and teach them how to properly use them; 3) and the next time your son or daughter runs around with their butts hanging out, you refer to suggest #2 and give them remedial lesson. To Louisville’s Metro Council (and all municipal governments everywhere), I suggest you forget about whether or not I chose to buy and consume products with a high Trans fat content or patronize a business which allows (or not) smoking (it’s none of your business anyway) and focus instead on incorporating into the public indecency ordinance language that would make it a fineable misdemeanor to publicly display either your bare or underwear clad bottom in public. Until then, I continue to laugh my butt off at those showing off theirs.

Term Limits

The subject of term limits has been discussed from time to time (after all criminals sentenced to prison have term limits, so why not the ones we elect?). As most people know, the President, as well as most governors and mayors are capped by the number of terms they can serve while those in the Legislative branch can serve indefinitely. Perhaps it’s time we either cap their terms or remove the cap for the Executive branch. “Moderate Man” has written an interesting article discussing the merits of term limits. It’s quite thought provoking.

Our country needs Congressional term limits. We are facing a bankrupt country with a $9 trillion debt, 2 wars, inflation, natural disasters and an evaporating dollar. Yes, our country has been thru tough times before, such as wars, depressions, inflations, natural disasters, etc. But we recovered and became even stronger. It appears this time that at the very least, we will become a minor third world power. The Congress we have is dysfunctional. There are approximately 303 million of us legal Americans. There are only 435 members of the US House of Representative and 100 members of the US Senate. This dream of change is possible. We are the majority and they work for us. We MUST deny them lifetime tenure. It is our country. Why change now after 200 plus years you say? Well, they have corrupted the process so much, that the incumbent has a built in re-election advantage, their salaries are obscene with a starting salary of $165 thousand, and they now have retirement benefits. They are out of touch with the average voter. The job should be open to rich and poor. Most are millionaires. There is no alternative path to restore a working and functional government to the people, short of violence, which I do not endorse or promote. Election reforms will never pass as long as Congress can block the laws passage. They want to keep their jobs as long as they want, not what the people want. The odds of voting an incumbent out of office are skewed in their favor. Unless they make a major mistake, they are heavily favored to win. Voting turnout is a national disgrace. It is so low that we have nobody to blame except ourselves. Most people think that their vote won’t matter so they stay home. Maybe they would come to the polls if there were new people to vote for. Remember, the founding fathers envisioned citizen public servants who would go to Washington to serve their neighbors and their country for a limited time only. They would temporarily leave their citizen pursuits to serve briefly, bringing their everyday heartland common sense with them, then to return home to live among those neighbors after having completed their citizen responsibilities—to live under the laws they have just passed. Then there is the fairness factor. Our Executive branch of government has term limits. Why shouldn’t our Legislative and Judicial branches? What’s their excuse? Remember, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Moderate Man


Betty said...

I'm so far behind on my emails that I just read Droopy Drawers. I couldn't agree more!! I don't even find it funny except when they are running.

Jeff Noble said...

I'll leave the Droopy Drawers to others for comment upon. I'd like to address Moderate Man's proposed term limits.

I'll start by saying I oppose them.

But, much of what Moderate Man has written is the absolute truth and I agree with the points he has made. But there are also a few with which I take issue.

The Congress is dysfucntional. Agreed.

They work for us. Agreed.

While I've never made $165,000, I'm not sure that is an obscene salary, although it is admittedly high. How many of us could live in two cities, whether they be Washington and Louisville or Washington and San Diego, flying back and forth on a regular basis, and do it on the more regular salary most of us make? Many of us have trouble living in one city on one salary, with no travel involved.

They are out of touch. True.

They wont change a law which is seen as hurtful to their careers. How many of us would wilfully change laws to hurt our own careers?

And the argument about the founding fathers simply does not apply. At the time the founding fathers were founding the country, those elected and selected to govern lived in an area limited to a few hundred miles at most inland from the Atlantic Ocean, going no further than the Piedmont region of the Appalachias. The first state to enter the union from the "transmontane" territory west of the mountains was Kentucky in 1792, sixteen years after the Declaration. Kentucky was the western most state from 1792 to 1796 when Tennessee was admitted, whose territory reached just slightly more west.

Moderate Man finally arrives at the real problem well into his essay when he states, "Voting turnout is a national disgrace. It is so low that we have nobody to blame except ourselves." In fact the whole argument is made right there. We have nobody to blame except ourselves. We don't vote.

Voters, not "the people," are the de facto bosses of those who are elected. And if voters do not turn them out of office for poor work performance, then they, like many who are in jobs underperforming will remain there, unless, as Moderate Man points out, they "make a major mistake."

I agree there should be focus on whether a person is doing a good job or not, but term limits would force out of office not only those who aren't, but also those who are. Would any of us working think it is proper to be fired after a given period, simply because that given period has passed? No. We would ask for reasons, for re-examinations of our personnel files, and if nothing were amiss in those files, we would probably seek legal counsel arguing we were dismissed arbitrarily. And we would appeal our losses until we found someone "higher-up" to protect us. The more people looking at our files the better would be one way of looking at it, again, if there was nothing amiss in our files.

The same should be true of the elected officials who currently are not restricted by term limits. Many Local, state, and federal legislators are elected every other year. Every twelfth month, we can examine their records and make a decision. A fewer number are elected every fourth year, and a select few every sixth year.

What we need, as Moderate Man pointed out, is better Voter Participation. Obviously our current efforts at voter turnout are failing. A drastic measure would be to tie federal and state subsidy payments to voter participation. A suggestion might be that in order to receive a subsidy, one must participate. Whether a disability, a student loans and grants, a farm subsidy, social security retirement, medicare, medicaid, small business loans and grants, or any of the other myriad number of ways people get money from the government. Such an idea would affect young and old, rich and poor, Democrat, Republican, and other.

We would not limit voting to those classes - voting would be open to anyone meeting the other standard requirements assigned by the individual states. But participation in a system of benefits from the government would require one to have first participated in the election of those providing the benefits.

The more people who participate, the more likely we are to turn out those who have "worn out their welcome." But to mandatorily dismiss good legislators simply because they've been on the payroll for an extended period seems undemocratic to me.

Jeff Noble

Another Opinion said...

Until serious campaign finance reform is passed, I personally think we need to limit the amount of influence special interests are allowed to exert in politicans, and that means limiting the amount of time (or exposure if you will)monied interests has on them. This means terms limits. As it is now, we have foxes watching the chicken coup you might say. They are going to act in their best interests, not ours.

Remember, Senators, Congressmen, State Senators and Representative can continue to serve as long as they want, while the executive branch is usually limited to two or three terms at most. And to paraphrase the famous old quote about power corrupting, Power begets money and absolute power and money begets corruption absolutely.

As for allowing the electorate to vote out these entrenched incumbents in a "free market" approach is akin to applying "free market" economics to a facsist or communistic state. The state always wins. It's like betting against the house in Las Vegas

Did you know that the old Soviet Politburo had a higher rate of turnover than the US Congress? It's true. That's becuase incumbents wield a natural advantage simply by virute of their office and power it holds, and especially because of the monied interests it attracts trying to curry more favors. By limiting the amount of time one can remain in office, you not only limit the amount of influence money can have on that particular office and politican, you also promote turnover, which encourages more people to run for office and get involved in the election process. And the more people you can get involved, the better.

Moderate Man said...

Jeff-The subject of term limits is an old argument. Almost as old as the Electorial College, which I believe should be abolished. The people should decide who their leaders are. The Legislative and Judicial branch of our Federal government need term limits now. Without term limits our Congress will not approve election reform. Only lip service on the campaign trail. Anybody who thinks otherwise is dreaming. This is the meat of the term limit argument. Do you think Congress will do anything to make voting easier for it's citizens? Like voting on the telephone, internet or at your local grocery store. Will they allow same day registration, voting on Saturdays, same day primaries in all 50 states, voting polls open all 24 hours on election day? Will they eliminate PACS, bundling, corporate influence on elections, lobbist influence on elections, eliminate the year around campaigning and only allow 60 days of campaigning and fundraising? I think not. Presidential term limits have worked in one form or another since the beginning. Some were by example of our founding father, George Washington. Others had to leave, regardless of their wishes. Yet, there has been no junta in the streets with tanks, for overthrow of power. Why can't Congress and the Judiciary branch abide by a fixed time to give up power? Are they above the average citizen? After all this is our country and their jobs were not designed to be a club for millionaires with a lifetime contract and retirement benefits.

Moderate Man