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Will Rogers’ comments on elections still hold true today

At this time, the political parties have not had their annual gatherings full of speeches and hoopla as they go through the process of selecting their respective candidates — which have been known for months — to run for president.

Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for several months, you know the campaigning for the Oval Office began more than a year ago, and really kicked into high gear with Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate.

The comedy is on and will run through about 8 p.m. on Election Day, as the candidates and their supporters and political action committees bombard us with ad, after ad, after ad.

So to get some commentary on the election I decided to go to one of America’s great humorists, Will Rogers, for some comments he made back in the 1920s and 30s on politics that remain relevant today.

Rogers is probably best known by people for two quotes — “All I know is what I read in the papers,” and “America has the best politicians money can buy.”

One of the better chroniclers of his time on life in the United States, Rogers drew on the current events of the day for his columns and provided humorous commentary on the world around him. I believe he would have enjoyed commenting on the present political climate were he alive today.

To find some relevant quotes from Will Rogers, I turned to a website called “A Z Quotes” for a few choice selections.

Commenting on the government during his time, Rogers was quoted as saying, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts,” an apt comment that is still relevant today, given the present administration’s ability to do the absurd and the downright crazy.

Considering the upcoming presidential election — or any election, for that matter — he said, “Elections are a good deal like marriages. There’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. Every time we see a bridegroom we wonder why she ever picked him, and it’s the same with public officials.”

And there’s this missive, “We always want the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs.”

The last quote says a lot. We always want to elect the best person for office, and sometimes we do, but sometimes we elect what we hope is the best person available. There are times when the better man has enough sense not to run. 

As we go through the remaining months leading to the November general election remember these pearls of wisdom from a man whose comments still carry weight today.

And remember two other things from Will Rogers come Election Day:

“There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.”

And, “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” And there is a lot to remember.

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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