A Political Conversation

This is a 2x8 mosaic of the dome of the US Cap...

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I was talking with my acquaintance in Washington, Brady Flaxseed.

Say, Brady, what do you think of the new president?

Well, I tell ya Jim, he’s got a lot of people worried around here.

Uh, what do you mean by that, Brady?  Do you think that maybe he’s not up to the job?

Well, I gotta tell you, he’s pretty shaky.  He’s one of these quiet types, if you know what I mean.  No fire in his belly.  No matter what goes wrong, and there’s all kinds of stuff going wrong, he just sails along mildly, spouting adages and platitudes.  Ain’t normal if you ask me, and kinda strange for such a skinny guy too.

White House (South Lawn)

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Well, Brady, how’s he doing settling in at the White House?  Do you think the politics are going to settle down now and he can get some stuff going?

That’s just the problem.  He’s got people in his own cabinet that don’t agree with him half the time and the whole country’s in a mess, ‘specially since the war and all, and dang, this war just keeps getting more expensive and the casualties!  It’s carnage!  Where’s the money gonna come from?  I just don’t think he knows what he’s doing.

Yes, I’m aware that he expressed support for our cause, but he didn’t start this war.  I guess you know that.

Yes, but now that he’s in it he doesn’t seem to have a plan to end it.  You know his background, don’t you?  He was raised poor, just a hick really, from Illinois, out there in the sticks.  What does he know about Washington politics and how things get done here?  He acts like one of these intellectuals, but he only served a short time in Congress before becoming president.  Hell, he’s never even had any combat experience and now he’s trying to tell Generals how to run their show.  Probably had to be taught how to salute.  A real wingnut if you ask me!

Uh, what’s a wingnut, Brady?

Dang, if you don’t know what a wingnut is, I can’t help you, but I know one when I see one.  And another thing about him, he’s got these high-flying, lofty goals that just blows yer mind, stuff that ain’t never going to happen.  Impractical, that’s what he is.  What we need is somebody who’s down to earth, not with his head in the clouds all the time!

Uh, could you be a little more specific?

Well, yeah.  He thinks black people are just as good as white folks.  Oughta vote, own property, have their kids in school right next to ours, all kinds of stuff.  I mean, I’m against slavery too, that ain’t right, but hell, even the founding fathers knew blacks were only worth a fraction of real people.

Well, Brady, it’s been nice talking to you.  My time is about up now – if I don’t get back in my time machine it will automatically go back to the future without me and I sure don’t want to get stuck here in 1861 where there’s no novocaine.  Bye.  I’ll be back in a couple of years and you can tell me how Abraham Lincoln is doing then.  The rules say that I can’t tell you how it’ll turn out, but you might be surprised.

Wait, Jim.  What’s novocaine?

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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12 Responses to A Political Conversation

  1. Ha! This was quite clever, Jim.


  2. Duane Graham says:

    Excellent! Roykoish.


  3. ansonburlingame says:

    Clem (circa 2010) says to Bradey,

    Hell Bradey, you think you have it bad. You should see the mess we’re in now.

    You jerks shot a few cannon balls at a fort and killed how many soldiers? Now we have “forners” flying cantraptions into buildings and kill 3000. But we ain’t at war. Nope we just bow to “forners” and tell them to not make any gunpowder no more. But the damn “forners” just ignore us and keep on trying.

    As fer them black folk. Hell they are more equal than we are now with summthen called Affirmative Action. We don’t fight wars affirmatively no more but we sure do give preferences to sum pretty dumb people. And we are lettin lots more “forners” into to Texas by God so’s us rednecks kin learn to speak Mexican. They sure won’t learn no Eglish.

    As fer dummies, well readen, witten and them number things don’t count with the school marm no more. Nope, the young’uns jest need to throw gum with accuracy, raise hell with the school marm then we let’s um lose on the ole folks to pillage and plunder. Sure wish our soldiers could do that with them “forners” But them soldiers got other thinks to worry about now, like protecting themselves in their own damn fox holes. Hell you ain’t got THAT problem in your fox holes do you?

    Now you ain’t seen um yet but watch out for them things you are gonna call carpet baggers. Theys folk from up north like your wing nuts home than are gonna come down and raise your taxes. you’ll have to sell the farm so’s they can turn around and feed you. I ain’t figgered than out yet.

    I’ll match my wing nut to yours any day and call yours the best wing nut we ever had!! You ain’t seen nothin yet Bradey. Jest wait about 150 years and you won’t believe it.

    Clem says!


  4. ansonburlingame says:

    Hey Bradey,

    Been thinkin, sumthen them carpet baggers has a hard time doin, sum more bout them numbers things. Now I ain’t too good at figgers but I kin count nickels. How many nickles you gots in your pocket, Bradey. Well, I’ll garuntee that your nickles will but a lot more sow belly and cornbread than all my silver dollars kin.

    And when you does buy sum sow belly and cornbread, you gits to count them nickles in Eglish. I can’t buy nun lest I count’em with them uno, dos Mexican numbers. Hell I have a hard nuff time contin them in Eglish. Wonder why your nickles buys more’n mine and you get to cont’em usin Eglish stead on unos? I ain’t figger that out yet, but hell I’s jest a redneck.

    Oh yeah Bradey. When them carpet baggers start given out the sow belly and cornbread to all you po folks, better get up near the front. They’s gonna give MORE food to them po black folk than they will to your chilluns. Sumpin bout they’s aint had as much to eat in the last hunnerd years than your family has so’s now theys get to eat more than you and your chillun. Jest like them school things. We gots to let’m catch up, even if you chilluns don’t weight nearly as much as theirns now.

    Like I sez, Bradey, you ain’t seen nuthin yet. En after I tell you all bout them novcains so’s you don’t worry bout bad teeth no more, I”ll splain this nukler thing to you. Hell with them things the last thing you’ll worry bout is your damn teeth.


  5. Jim Wheeler says:

    Memo to Brady Flaxseed:

    Like the feller says, Brady, this nuklear thing is a really big deal. Nobody there in 1861 is going to believe you if you tell, but it’s going to take over 150 years for negroes to get to anything like real-people status here in the USA. It will be a long, hard road and there’ll be blood spilled even after the war.

    But this nuklear thing, well, like he says, it WILL scare the poop right out of you. It could mean the end of the world, and I’m not kidding. But, there’s a chance, just a slim chance, that smart people might be able to get everybody on earth to talk to each other and realize that we are all human beings, that we actually have things in common and want a good life. If that’s possible, and you’d be amazed at how people here in the future are going to be “talking” to each other, then we MIGHT escape mutual destruction. I’m not giving it a good chance, but it’s a chance.

    I’m hoping the high-talking, high-thinking guys in charge never give up hope that it can be done, even if it takes centuries (and I think it will). One of our better presidents called it “the vision thing”.




  6. wingwiper says:

    If I do not impose in your domain, would be interested in take(s) on this visual essay I composed for Facebook – trying to make sense of nonsense:

    “The Faces of Peace”

    “The Faces of Insurrection”

    Have I got it somewhere in the vicinity of correct?


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      First impression: excellent! I will require more time to absorb and enjoy them, but I like it. The one of “Kim Il Sung” looks more like Kim Jong Ill to me. Ugly little toad, whoever he is, there in his birthday suit!

      Are you Michael Bell?



  7. wingwiper says:

    Yes, it is himself… and formerly Bluehawk.

    Dang, I must go back to correct the Ill Kims. Thank you.

    I just had the thought my little visual essay might help shed light, possibly – and appreciate you having a look at it very much.


  8. ansonburlingame says:


    Great display but filled of course with controversy, particularly including President Obama as one in the insurection category. You may take some heat over that one.

    It is a good way to make a salient point in this whole discussion over “wingnutism”, meaning the varying opinions across any political spectrum about the ideas expressed and actions taken by men and women within that political arena.

    I would suggest that every picture in the “good” category shows a man or woman that made mistakes that did not advance peace and the same for the “bad guys” who’s intention was to, at least to them, to achieve a form of peace or security for themselves and their followers.

    The point being, everyone is a wingnut and everyone is a good guy to some. I don’t recall seeing Hitler in your display but for a long time there were lots of Germans that thought he was their savior from the “atrocities” of the Treaty ending WWI.

    To a degree history clears up that argument. Many Presidents had slaves yet some of them are the best of the best in the views of most today. I am sure their slaves might have something different to say about such a selection “back then”.

    So what are we to do today without the lense of history to clarify our views on current events? If 100 years from now China and North Korea “rule the world” economically and/or militarily, whose statues or pictures will be display on “their” internets?

    My guess, considering the messyness of democracy, their are some Iraquis that would love to see Sadham’s statue put right back in place. And there are seemingly a lot of current Americans that would like to see it still standing simply because it “cost too much” (in lives and money) to take the statue down in the first place. Thus to many Bush II should be in the “bad guys” hall of infamy.

    Actually most of those Americans would like to see the statue in the dust heap of today. But they didn’t want to pay to put it there.

    So who really gets the last vote in who goes where? I don’t know for sure. And neither do Clem or Bradey. But we all have our opinions and thank God we get to express them, right or wrong but hopefully with the best of intentions.



  9. wingwiper says:

    Thank you for those thoughts, Anson…

    I put Hitler in with “Faces of Insurrection,” but chose a photo of him in civilian clothes in order to emphasize how one can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak. And, it is THAT precise use of disguise which gave me the decision to also place our current President in with the same group.

    In the beginning I had the highest hope for Obama too, though did not vote for him. With my age and background, given a choice between an Ivy League-educated anti-Imperialist beneficiary of Affirmative Action and a Vietnam-wounded POW Naval aviator – it was not a difficult decision to make. Since that election took place I’ve not seen a single gesture on his part which would convince me that he is anything if not an agitator – whether by genetic disposition or outright intent is irrelevant, to me.

    I appreciate you and Jim taking my essay seriously. In fact, it was dialogue between you two which in part motivated the attempt, because as well as we turn phrases I thought perhaps the faces of those involved might tell a deeper story along the lines of “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

    This has been a fascinating exercise. To include, as examples, Noam Chomsky, Hugh Hefner, Timothy Leary and Camille Paglia among “Faces of Peace” has already irked a few conservative friends – and yet, to me, they exemplify the human capacity to say and believe difficult ideas without lending fuel to the fire of Insurrection. And, again, to me it is the avoidance of violence and suffering which distinguishes Peacemakers from those who espouse peaceful intentions while making it impossible to avoid catastrophe.

    Of course, some of the choices I made are predicated upon my knowing enough about the personalities to be able to say (as in the case of Teddy Roosevelt whom Leftist environmentalists lionize) which side I believe they, in the end, came down on in the race between Peace and Insurrection. I am sure there are errors in my human judgment among the selection – but I hope not too many.

    As I write this I’m seeing from the corner of my eye a lengthy C-SPAN2 broadcast of the December 2010 meeting on “Race and Redistricting” put on by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Conference. As might be expected, the panelists are doing everything possible to justify gerrymandering in such manner as will most benefit their constituency and any other “minority” group they deem able to serve THEIR racialist aims to gain and hold political and economic control of American society. To me, this kind of thing is sanctioned racism at its most feverishly blatant level – as bad as the KKK, but even more insidious because it is tolerated nationwide.

    To think, for a moment, that their intention is not Insurrection of one kind or another would be naive and dangerous. And what is worse, there is no stopping them.


  10. Jim Wheeler says:

    @ both,

    I agree with Anson’s analysis in regard to Wing’s very interesting panoply of faces. I think another way to make the same point as his is to say that it is risky to generalize, particularly when it comes to human nature. However, what is most pleasing to me is that all of these appear to be “candid photographs” in the photographic sense. I consider that you have achieved art here, Wing. Well done.

    To be succinct but hopefully not sententious about it, consider the case of the “robber barons”, one of whom was Andrew Carnegie, probably the best, but not the only, philanthropist among them. Then please, consider J. P. Morgan in a remarkable item about him and his countenance. [Link below] (Please note: You must click on “view more photos” at the upper right-hand corner of the first picture to understand the article.)




  11. wingwiper says:

    Thank you Jim…

    Now you have me onto consideration of those dang Robber Barons.


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