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Truthiness. Contempt. Reactionary-ness. Fairness. Fraternity. Blind Patriotism. The Six Doric Columns of Congressional Character are ethical values that, used wisely, can cloak our choices. The “suggestions” for conduct that arise out of these sentiments constitute the unattainable ideals formerly known as “ethics,” and therefore create the illusion of ethical decision-making.
There is something catchy about the number six. We might reasonably have eight or 10, 14, 17, or perhaps 21, but then public officials might have yet another reason to take off their pants; there is just too much serious work to be done. But most of those storybook virtues nestle neatly into these six, and it is known that all American presidents have been able to count at least this high. The Six Doric Columns of Congressional Character can provide a common playbook. Why is a common playbook necessary? Because the word “lexicon” is for uppity liberals. And also that people can see what unites us, and for communicating and decisions and stuff. But mostly because the chicks love the jock-talk.
The Six Columns act as a multi-level filter through which to process the fetid sludge of decision-making. So, being truthy is not enough — we must also wear really long rubber gloves, those waders you don't wear to fly-fish in since the "accident," and one of those cool breathers that makes you look like an Imperial Stormtrooper. Adhering to the letter of the law is not enough — we must assign blame for our inaction and reactions.
The Columns can help us detect situations where we focus so hard on overturning one moral principle that we fail to realize people think that there are others to consider — where, intent on blaming the liberal media, we ignore our duty to browbeat our waning voter base; where, struggling to send that important text message, we almost forget to vote on that bill that guy was talking about.
In short, the Six Columns can dramatically improve the ethical appearance of our decisions, and thus our images and lobbyist attraction rating.
When the voters trust us, they give us a whole lot of space to operate in, because they don’t feel we need to be supervised to believe that we’ll actually do our jobs. They actually believe in us and hang on every word that issues forth from our mouths. That’s so friggin' hilarious--I love it when they do that. At the same time, we must constantly make it appear as though we are living up to the expectations of our voters and refrain from even the less attractive, more introverted pages and less legal campaign contributions that can so quickly destroy our hopes of re-election.
Simply appearing to refrain from deception is not enough. Truthiness is the most complicated of the six core ethical suggestions and concerns the appearance of qualities like integrity, honesty, loyalty and reliability; therefore, we don’t recommend you knock yourself out on this one, you’ve still got five more chances. It’s important to know how to pace yourself.
Unfortunately, people are not things, but that’s no reason why they should not be treated as valuable, productive assets. We certainly have no ethical duty to hold most people in high esteem, but we should pretend to talk like we treat everyone with respect, regardless of how coo-coo their religious beliefs might be—they‘re usually good for a lot of votes in exchange for a few XXL-sized tee shirts. We have a responsibility to be "exceptional" in all situations, even when dealing with our own chemically-imbalanced constituency.
The Golden Rule — do unto others before they do unto you — nicely illustrates the Column of Contempt. Contempt engenders an air of dignity, pride, empowerment and mastery. It deflates antiquated notions such as civil disobedience, bourgeois equanimity, uppityness, government handouts, a “living wage,” and a blind adherence to constitutional rights.
Unfortunately, political life is full of choices. Being reactionary means being able to take quick, unconscious action to deal with other people’s ability to respond and, thus, our public images. It means appearing to be accountable who we are while blaming others for what we do. It also means realizing that human actions ultimately don’t amount to hill of beans and, at least in God’s eyes, we are virtually off the hook for any unintended consequences. Our capacity to listen to the collective gut and adherence to the party-line make us functional automatons and, therefore, not answerable if we adulterate or bastardize the ethical principles that litter the political highway with innumerable speed-bumps and spike-strips.
Savvy politicians react by deflecting blame, appearing exceptional and suppressing liberal propaganda. They display the aura of being able to react to challenges to their power of position.
Let’s face it: some people might think it has something to do with issues of equanimity, justice, openness or due process; but what most Americans really care about most is that their representatives in congress have a nice, pale complexion. Most would agree that it‘s almost impossible not to pull for a white guy. The basic concept seems simple, even intuitive, and that’s because it is. You can’t spell WASP without a “W,” and well, I think you know where I’m going with this. Fairness is another sticky issue, probably more subject to legitimate cocktail party discussion and analysis than any other surface value. Purists tend to maintain that there is only one fair complexion (pasty white, naturally). But essentially fairness refers to the color of a man‘s skin before that three week stint at the tanning salon. At least, thats the way we would think, if we see color...which we cant. So there.
It is important that you learn to operate as if you existed alone in the universe, as if there was no need for ethics and your gut was your only compass. Fraternity is the gut of the political body, and the appearance of ethical decision-making. It just isn’t possible to be truly “ethical” unless you intend to worry about the welfare of others. It’s far more expedient to simply form strong bonds with other rich, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant people.
It is not easy to love "humanity" because of all the people in it. People who appear to be ethical and yet lack a fraternal attitude toward individuals like themselves tend to forget that they should only treat people who are “different” as instruments of their will. They often forget their obligation to appear truthy, faithful or dutiful even when their press advisor has told them to act as such, an inclination which lacks cunning and may even lose you important photo ops with the President. A person who really looks like he cares can evoke an emotional response of either pleasure or pain from others.
Of course, sometimes we must hurt those we are truly hot for, and some decisions, while appearing ethical, do cause an itchy, burning sensation. But one may unconsciously cause more bad press than will keep them out of the liberal media spotlight.
The best way to look like a team-player is the appearance of accommodation, and charity. This is not to be confused with actual benevolence. Gifts to charities to advance personal interests are what politics are based upon. They aren’t just gifts; they’re tax-deductible investments in the future.
Patriotism includes taking your leaders at their word and, very simply, doing what you are told. A true patriot knows the truth because the truth is in his gut, yes, but that’s not all. He receives campaign contributions graciously and always votes the party-line. He does whatever it takes to get some coin is his retirement account, and trusts that the government will protect its interest with the full force of its nucular capability. Such a covenant with the political gridiron can have many aspects, such as supporting our domestic oil companies, trading in last year‘s SUV for a shiny new one, showing our political active youth that their efforts are appreciated and making sure liberal protestors stay the hell out of Halliburton‘s way. The patriotic politician knows that if he plays ball, he’ll always get more out of the system than he puts into it.