Updated: January 9, 2014 6:18AM
Some of our people in Washington remind me of the medicine show folks who wooed small town America in the 1930s.
They claim that their medicine will make us better than we are, and they do it without a whiff of disclaimers. They may believe it. Say it isn’t so!
One of those shows came to my town and set up behind the barbershop, which I thought was funny because you could get clipped in the barbershop for only a quarter.
The medicine show elixirs cost more, but they did come with entertainment. That helped the medicine go down.
Some of our politicians listen to the big-spending spielers and hear how they can be healed — you know, elected again.
This healing experience for them doesn’t help us much, so we just have to, you know, believe.
The medicine shows that set up across rural America gave us promises like “There is no sore it will not heal, no pain it will not subdue.” There was a balm for arthritis that used with “strong hand pressure and vigorous rubbing” eased the pain. And many of the listeners said “Amen.”
The political extremists are our modern medical hucksters, preaching, pontificating about our political salvation. We may taste their medicine through our political and religious biases and we get on with our lives, comforted that the truth will prevail. Will it? We swallow this medicine that comes without a real prescription.
Oh, I almost forgot. I recall that there was even a medicine that beat tapeworms. Surely, any medicine that can send a tapeworm to wherever it goes when it quits taping must be powerful and good. I don’t remember that Elnora-area folks had experience with tapeworms. Even our party lines did not divulge stuff like that.
We must not forget the entertainment these shows brought us, helping put some fun into our lives. At their stop in downtown Elnora, sometime in 1935, they performed a skit based on the fun play called “Charley’s Aunt.” Not great acting, but we liked it. These were fun times in our territory, where the Great Depression had hit us hard. Maybe the acting and the laughs did us as much good as the elixirs.
There is something scary about the modern political medicine hustlers — their blathering is contagious and some of our political people are swallowing their medicine. Then they infect us, back here at home.
If we get shots for flu and shingles, why can’t we get vaccinated against this medicine show political extremism? Where are our health experts when we need them?
It would be fun to see a president, past, present or future, and a few from each party in Congress do their “Charley’s Aunt” thing in prime time.
Maybe one of those extremists persons could land a role, too. This might not give us a miracle cure for anything, but it could make us see that some of them are just actors, not real folks like us.
Maybe some would forget their lines and would have to be cued in from behind the curtain. Seeing some politicians at a loss for words would be a memorable experience. A kind of healing. Good medicine.