by Lyle R.
TThe great comedian Groucho Marx allegedly once said, “I would not allow
myself to belong to any organization that would allow someone like me
to be a member.” It’s a cute line, but I have wondered on more than one
occasion what he meant by it. Was he making fun of himself or taking a
shot at those groups that are so happy to have members … particularly
if they can get a buck or two from them … that they don’t care about their
qualifications or views, only that they help them swell their ranks to
give the impression of importance, or perhaps relevance?
I have never been much of a joiner. Especially when it comes to groups
with any type of a political agenda. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t
supported people running for a political office or lent a helping hand
to a group that appeared to have an honest agenda. It just means that
I have not, until recently anyway, necessarily felt compelled to get too
involved with groups or individuals who have an overly well-defined political
plan or purpose.
In my bankrupt and scandal-marred state, Illinois, our last duly elected
governor is now on trial for (among other things) trying to sell the senate
seat that was vacated when one of our senators was elected President.
It is the procedure in Illinois that the governor sells … I mean fills
… Senate vacancies by appointment if one arises. This particular (now
impeached) governor has allegedly been caught on tape trying to sell the
appointment for some big bucks. I have read some of the tape transcripts
and they are unbelievable. A jury of my peers … and at this point Groucho’s
words are haunting me … will ultimately decide what fate seems appropriate
for the accused.
He, of course, is not the first governor from Illinois to find himself
in trouble with the law. We currently have one ex-governor in prison and,
during my lifetime, not less than three former Illinois governors have
gone to prison. It’s probably a safe bet that the one on trial at the
present time will soon be added to the list. But these types of problems
don’t just exist in Illinois … although there is no doubt that Illinois
has taken political corruption to new heights, or perhaps I should say
new lows. They exist everywhere and seem to be getting worse by the day
at virtually all levels of government.
I am, however, extremely happy to see and report that the American citizenry,
being the opportunistic yet sappy bunch that they are, have now said “enough”
and are finally starting to do something about the political mess that
has existed far too long in this wonderful land of ours. If you doubt
this, just take a look at the two new movements that are sweeping the
country. I refer firstly to the Tea Party movement started only a couple
of years ago. The Economist magazine recently called it “America’s most
vibrant political force” and supposedly they now have more than 70,000
active members and are growing daily. Next, somewhat in response to the
Tea Party, came the Coffee Party. I read in the paper last weekend that
they now claim to get 600,000 hits a day on their website. Since January
of this year they have signed up more than 40,000 people. These parties
are thriving because of everyone’s dissatisfaction with the government
and its inability to get anything done. But, unfortunately, I have now
read what appears to be the agendas and platforms of both of these groups
and I for one … being the patriotic yet centrist citizen that I am … do
not feel that they have gotten it right. They appear to be at polar opposites
of each other and what we really need in this country at this time is
something that all Americans can relate to and understand. Therefore,
because I feel it is my civic duty to point out both political and social
failings when and as I see them, I am compelled to start another party.
My new party … actually I’d rather refer to it as a movement … will henceforth
be known as the Bottled Water Party. Because of the depth of my concern
as to where we as a nation appear to be going, I will assume the position
of executive director and, more importantly, chief financial officer.
Now I know that there may be a person or two who might question my sincerity
in all of this, but let me assure you right now that this movement will
have a very clearly defined purpose for as long as funding is provided.
Specifically, we will make important-sounding proclamations and will be
verbally proactive on issues that are meaningful and at the very core
of what we are hoping to accomplish. In an effort not to disappoint and
in keeping with our goal of total transparency … Bottled Water, always
pure, always fresh, always clear … we will make no promises that we do
not fully intend to keep. Thusly, we’ll make no promises at all. Naturally,
we will always be strongly against crime, terror, homelessness, oil spills
and natural disasters of any kind that might hurt our hardworking fellow
Americans. We will eat apple pie, go to ball games in the summer and,
at least once a year, consider writing a letter to a politician or two
suggesting that they too should consider the merits of being transparent
and honest. Because no promises will be made, none will be broken. After
all, isn’t this what every hardworking American really wants and deserves?
Now I know that this all sounds too good to be true but, hey, I care,
and I’m here for you. So here’s the deal. You too can join me in this
important undertaking by becoming a charter member of Lyle Hill’s Bottled
Water Party ... where transparency is always on display … by simply sending
me $50. Cash is preferred, but a personal check made out to me is okay.
In return, I will almost immediately send you a handwritten thank you
note and a bottle of water autographed by me—as leader of the movement.
And as a strong believer in term limits, I herein pledge to spend whatever
funding comes in on a project of my choosing and then resign as leader
of the movement once we have 100 charter members or within 6 months …
whichever comes first. You want and deserve transparency and you will
So don’t waste another minute. Join today. I’ll be glad you did. And remember,
you can trust me … I’m from Illinois!
Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago.
Mr. Hill’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this
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