Southern Politics

If someone from the planet Boorah asked me to explain the debt ceiling thing, I would say that it took 2 months for a group of self-serving egomaniacs to do what they were going to do anyway but would have been done quicker if somebody hadn’t invented television.

I’m not an economist. (For the uninitiated that is roughly the same as me saying I’m not a vascular surgeon.) But I understand this debt ceiling thing well enough to know that the US doesn’t make enough to pay its credit card bill.

If we don’t pay the interest on the credit card then our credit score will go down and people will start getting nervous about our ability to pay our bills.

So we have to cut our budget (stop going to movies, less steak, no summer camp, vacation in Panama City instead of Biarritz, send little Molly to a state school and put off painting the house.)

But since that won’t get us enough money in the short run, we need to borrow more from the bank. Unfortunately, people who don’t understand our situation don’t want to give us that permission.

It’s a mess.

How we handle all that is up for debate, and smart people have differing opinions about what will work best.

The recent farce that we reluctantly call representative government reminds me of the guy who went off the cliff screaming “I have the right of way!”

Tom Bell, Atlantan and current head of the U.S Chamber of Commerce, spoke to my Rotary club recently and said that politicians need to learn the difference between campaigning and governing. I’m sure there are a few statesmen left, but I miss Sam Nunn and Barry Goldwater and Richard Russell and the others who were willing to close the door and get down to business. I admire Saxby Chambless for trying, but he was no match for the people who were going to drive off that cliff and America be damned.

I won’t point fingers, because I wasn’t there. I’m sure that good intentions weren’t totally absent, but pure politics seemed to be trumping all of the good hands.

No, I don’t know what to do about the current political situation, or about the uninformed zealots in both parties who are willing to sink the ship because they are scared of equally uninformed voters.

Sure, we can vote, and should. We can try to find candidates who are honorable, intelligent and have a predilection for doing the right thing. Unfortunately, you know, and I know, that these people aren’t stupid enough to run for public office.

It’s at this point we’re supposed to say that we shouldn’t worry, that the pendulum will swing back, that the ship has always righted itself in the storm.

One hopes. But at this moment in the life of our Republic I don’t like the crew, I think the captain has lost focus, and the weather report is terrifying.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.