The gangs that could shoot straight – and did!

By Joe Klock, Sr.

A 1971 movie (“The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”) depicted a bunch of inept Mafiosos who hilariously screwed up a supposedly fixed bicycle race which was rigged to make a killing for the fixers.    Not totally dissimilar were the congressional Republicans who came into power in 1994 after 40 years in the bullpen and promptly shot themselves in their political feet, losing the House of Reprehensibles a scant two years later.

Most recently, the Dems saw that comeback become a stunning setback in what their leader described as a “shellacking” at the polls, when they again lost control of the lower legislative chamber.   Arguably, they would have lost the Senate as well, except for the fact that only a third of its seats were up for grabs. Whether or not the most recent change is good for the nation remains to be opined by you and seen by all of us-all.   That is not, however, the focus of this opusette. Our subject du jour is the now-undeniable fact that the worst fears of our professional pols are coming to pass.

As has often been pointed out in this column, the most dreaded happenstance of those in power – at all levels of our government – is a voting public that is informed, aroused and activated.   Regardless of party, the “ins” are comfortable and confident only when we, the “American sheeple,” are placidly grazing in pastures of ignorance and/or apathy – that is to say, when it appears that we don’t know and/or we don’t care what the hell is going on “up there.”   Similarly, that public attitude holds the “outs” at bay and impotent after the results have been tallied on Election Days.  Recent voting results, both national and local, more than subtly suggest that the natives (i.e., silent majorities) have gotten restless, rattling the cages of those in power.

Aside: Here you might pause to select metaphors from animal life that apply to your own reprehensibles, which might include such species as leeches, sharks, vultures and cockroaches, as well as guard dogs, guide dogs and bomb-sniffers. Whether or not you contributed to the historic sea changes of power recently, they redesigned political shorelines from Crapitall Hill to local estuaries of influence.

What should you (make that MUST you) do about it? Just this – and nothing less:

If you like the guys and gals in whose precincts of power you are empowered to vote, be sure to let them know. Beyond that, and much more importantly, let them know what you like and dislike about what they DO with the power you have delegated to them. Unless they know how much you know and how much you care about what they do, they won’t care a rat’s ass about the issues that matter to you. This will, tacitly, authorize them to blindly follow their party leaders, their enlightened self-interests and the ESIs of those who fatten their electoral coffers.

Consider this, please: If you never thought that your opinion, your vote and your activism really matter, tune in on the would-be officeholders who are sweat bullets over recounts, bemoaning near-misses and murmuring prayers of gratitude for victories eked out by a whisker, a handful of supporters or an opponent’s minor gaffe. Statistically, your single vote or minor participation in campaigning may be little noted nor long remembered, but they are dues that you pay (and, by golly, you owe) as a citizen of the greatest nation in human history.

Second aside: If you don’t believe that to be so, don’t let the door bang your butt on the way out!

Anyway – and back on point – with or without your participation, notice has been served on the recently-ousted “ins,” rejected wannabes and newly-elected officeholders that, more than in days of yore, that which used to be tenure is now more like a shakedown cruise, which will be watched like a miniskirt hemline and remembered on the very next election day.

Be aware that they ARE aware of an awakened and informed electorate which will determine whether their aim was directed to worthwhile objectives, partisan bull’s-eyes, rhetorical bullscat, or – as was the fate of many past political gunsels – their own feckless feet.  Until the next election(s), it’s open season on the political animals and you are one of the game wardens!

Footnote: As a Charter Member (1932) of the Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters, I feel competent to certify that few (if any) of today’s politicians would qualify for membership.

Freelance wordworker Joe Klock, Sr. ( winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables, Florida and summers in New Hampshire. More of his “Klockwork” can be found at


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