Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Mother Country Raises the Bar

My London correspondent reports that a recent election for a seat in Parliament has been invalidated and will be re-run.  The reason is that an investigating commission found that some of the things the winning candidate said about his opponent were untrue!

Your Pianist and a band of co-conspirators have begun their own investigation to determine how many of the recent election contests in the United States would pass such an honesty test.

Apparently the same question about the colonies came up in England, too, because our London correspondent suggested looking at a city council race in Minneapolis, where it was rumoured that neither candidate had lied about the other.

That contest, in the city's 11th ward, was won by a former marketing services consultant named John Quincy.  Your Pianist is skeptical that anyone trained in American marketing techniques could go an entire day, let alone an entire election campaign, without uttering a falsehood.  However, the investigation continues and no smoking gun has yet been found.

Later reports from London hinted that it wasn't Minneapolis but Cleveland that had a city council race in which no lies were told.  Once again, however, skepticism is in order.  A centerpiece of the Cleveland council's 2010-2011 programme is to expand the city's automated trash collection system to another 25,000 residents.  In a city with that much trash to collect, surely it's likely that at least some of the waste would be leftover lies from the electioneering.  Political billboards alone could account for the excess garbage.

If not Minneapolis or Cleveland, then where in American might there have been an election in which the candidates uttered only truth about their opponents (or themselves)?  We can immediately rule out Chicago, Detroit and the entire state of Texas. (In El Paso they even falsified the wording of an initiative question.) Add Iowa, where they tossed out three judges who ruled that gay and lesbian citizens have the same rights as heterosexual ones.

As a resident of New Mexico, I can attest that no lie-free race took place here.  And since the prevailing winds are from the west, the foul odors prior to Nov. 2 erased any doubt about Arizona, as well. 

As word spread of the Pianist's Diogenes Commission and its hunt for an American election free of falsehoods, tips from citizens poured in.  So far the most promising one is that an election in Murdock, Neb., took place without  so much as a fib being uttered. Our investigators will look into this as soon as they find Murdock, Neb.

Lawyers for party organizations in several states have issued challenges to the findings of the Diogenes Commission even before there are any findings.  "One man's lie is another man's Texas textbook," a Little Rock Republican lawyer said. "We're splitting etymological hairs here. Politicians in Arkansas can't even agree on what the definition of 'is' is."

You can see what we're up against.

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