“Yobbo, it does not behoove a la-ad of your tender years to talk of political matters better suited to be discussed among the sober councils of serious grown men.”
Count Victor Justin was in a jocular and an avuncular mood, and was, I think, mildly teasing me.
“But just let me ask you this–what do you think of our two great parties?”
“The Demmycrats is full of rats,” I blurted, reflexively, having heard this taunt chanted among my schoolmates many a time. “I’m a Republican, and proud of it.”
“Indeed,” said the Count, who I suspect was a Democrat his own self. “There’s a world of difference between the adherents of one party and another, though it usually takes a wiser head, and an American born, to suss it out. The difference is basically this: since time immemorial, the Democrats have been the party of the slavemasters. And the Republican Party, during its comparatively brief life-span, during which it has been ascendant more often than not, is the party of the slave-makers. A difference without a distinction, you say? Very well. There’s a certain Providence, it is said, which looks out for fools, drunkards, and the United States. And it is very true that we have yet to elect as president a totally worthless drunken fool, or a completely devious crook, or both. That may change. Our luck is bound to run out, and I suspect it will be sooner rather than later. I mean, not to indulge in loose talk, but along with our Stovepipe Daddy, who everyone up North reveres and everyone down South secretly despises, we’ve had a swish, a sot, a sot, a fatbelly, and a cowboy, along with the usual colorful parade of adulterers and spoilsmen.”
“Don’t never listen to no Yellof as says, ‘T’ain’t the money; it’s the principle of the thing.’ Trust me, Yob: It’s the fucking money, sho nuff, and yes indeedy-do. And that’s all that politics is, the world over–it’s men fighting over who controls the ooftish. Don’t let no one tell you otherwise. It’s the law of the jungle. Might makes more might, and heaven favors the largest battalions. In spite of anything Voltaire may have had to say about it. Wiseacre. Where does he get off? ‘Once a philosopher, twice–a pervert.’ I do agree with that.
“In the end, it all comes down to how determined you are to make your pile; to lie for a living; to live for lying; to stab your friends–what friends?–in the back; to impersonate a swell by day and play the cad when out comes the Hooty Owl. When you’re talking about that level of power, then you lose all perspective. The so-called electorate –what a grim farce; anyone can buy an office if they have the oofish to carry off the grift–the electorate, people you supposedly represent, begin to look like cattle. You give ’em your brand and you expect ’em to say ‘Moo’. Listen, little Yob: I would rather kiss a Goon than have anything to do with any of those grafters and racketeers.
“There’s plenty of rapscality going on in Washington D.C., which is the land where all the lushes congregate. Don’t you know that Washington is where all the best Whiskey goes? Dasright. Straight from the still and direct to the District of Columbia. If I was a serious boozehound, I would head down there on the first thing smoking. Plenty of drunken rascals, and Pimps, and Johns. But if you want to see human nature at its worst, then the State Legislature is where you have to be. That’s the place where the small fry are even more jealous of their prerogatives–because the stakes are so much lower. I don’t even want to tell you what goes on in the State House, because you’re still too green to take it all in. But I will say this much–some of the best customers at that wee cathouse you bide in are legislators and the lawyers and other rascals as do their bidding.
“There’s two parties in this country, sure enough, but they’re not the two parties you think they are. There’s the party of the North, and the Party of the South. Slavemasters and Slavemakers. Down South, at least, if you work then you’ll never starve. Someone down there will always feed you, at the very least. Even if you’re an old Darkey without a tooth in your head. You mought have to walk around in rags, with no shoes on your feet, but for most of the year the weather is tolerable, and when it rains you kin sleep in a hollow log. But it’s not like that up North. No, Sir–down South, everyone is your friend, as long as you know your place. Up North, no one is your friend. If you’re a stranger, they treat you lower than any dog. If you want to get fat you had best find you a hidey-hole for those cold winter nights. because, the fact is, you can work harder than any slave; you can work 14 hours a day, every day–and you can still freeze, or starve. Unless you’re willing to throw yourself on the mercy of the goo-goos and prohibitionists–and I’ve known many a man to say that in preference to doing that, they druther be dead and buried in their grave.”
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