Bill Murchison

The political obsession with political remedies and political solutions is the disgrace of the age. "How small of all that human hearts endure/That part which laws or kings can cause or cure," wrote Samuel Johnson, with deadlier accuracy than you'll find in political disquisitions published to assure us of "the other side's" malice and malignity.

Family, friendship, church, synagogue, volunteer association -- here you find, most of the time, the brighter life that politicians beg us to see as flowing directly from the right kind of vote: The "right" kind, meaning, of course, a vote for the maker of the pledge.

Better, on these terms, a vote for smaller government -- the kind that delivers more by promising less -- than for heavier, bulkier, more "promising" government of the sort most current politicians seem to prefer. The politicians, the spielers and speechmakers, get the bulk of the attention we generally bestow on those who put on the noisiest, splashiest show. Yet, as we've seen for the past few days, a pope can put on a pretty good show of his own -- all the more impressive for the tenor of the message, which doesn't revolve around "get," rather around "give." And only then, around "possess."

On with the campaign! Let's try at the same time to bear in mind how little it's likely to settle, how little real peace the outcome will bring at the last.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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