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Politics and Lost Marbles

A column by Steve Russell about the Republican candidates for president.

I punched the TV button so hard that in the old days I would have twisted the dial right off, and went looking for cousin Ray Sixkiller. I found him over at the high school football field practicingdigadayosdi, the Cherokee marbles game. He had stuck circles on the ground made from clothes hangers to stand for the holes, because even Ray is not sacrilegious enough to deface an Oklahoma football field.

“Hey, Steve! C’mere and help me set up some real shots. I’m tired of making them up. Whoa, what’s the matter with you? You ain’t looked so hacked off since your boy pulled his second tour in Iraq.”

“It’s not quite on that level, but I’ve been watching the Republican debates.”

“Yeah, there’s been a lot of them. I’m burned out on politics since the Cherokee elections. I mean, the choices were a lawyer who ginned up a constitutional crisis trying to kick people out of the tribe or a businessman who was neck deep in the last constitutional crisis.”

“So who did you vote for, Ray?”

“It was one of those deals where you had to pick who to vote against. Made me think of what that Sioux guy said.”

I failed to notice that he completely avoided my question.

“What Sioux guy?”

“That fella who made a book back in 1969 that sent you running off to the University like a scalded hound.”

“Oh. Vine Deloria, Jr. I’m not the only one who took Custer Died for Your Sinslike a kick in the pants. I didn’t know Indians could say stuff like that. He got a whole generation off our butts.”

“Yeah, Deloria. I have to agree with you about Deloria since Will Rogers is gone.”

“Deloria’s gone, too.”

“I know, but sometimes I think he had to be Cherokee. He sure nailed these elections. The Cherokee one and the yonega one.”

“How’s that?”

“He said Indians vote for crooks and aniyonega vote for morons. But I’m not steamed about the Republican debates like you.”

“Ray! Have you lost your marbles? Whoever wins the Republican nomination is going to be the next President!”

“I’m going to lose my marbles if you don’t settle down and let me practice. Besides, how bad could it be after eight years of that dude from Texas?”

“Funny you should mention that. There’s another Texas governor running. He thinks climate change is not happening and evolution is ‘just another theory out there.’ He thinks the state of Texas reserved the right to secede in its annexation treaty.”

“So, Steve. Which side did Texas fight on in the Civil War over secession?”

“On the side of secession, of course.”

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“He won’t do any better than the Confederates.”

“All right. It takes more than one nut to make a fruitcake. How about the woman who thinks the slaveholders who started the USA ‘worked tirelessly to end slavery?’ She says she loves the Constitution but she tried to get people not to answer the Census!”

“So she’s a little history-challenged. She’s not going to win.”

“What about the pizza peddler who doesn’t know that China has nuclear weapons? And he makes fun of knowing nothing about Uzbekistan. We have troops in the field with supply lines running through Uzbekistan!”

“So if he wins, he can name a pizza after Uzbekistan and make it up to them. He’s not gonna win.”

“Then there’s that fundamentalist idiot from Pennsylvania. Did you ever Google his name?”

“Did you learn anything at the University, Steve? ‘Fundamentalist idiot’ is what you call a redundancy. And he’s not going to win.”

“What about Ron Paul? Nutty enough for you?”

“You really have something against nuts, don’t you? Close all our overseas military bases. Legalize heroin. Go back to the gold standard. What’s not to like?”

“The gold standard, Ray? Do you really think gold is good for anything but looking at or filling teeth? You laugh at my education, but I know you read Black Elk Speaks.”

“Yeah, Black Elk called it the ‘yellow metal that makes the wasichus crazy.’ A lot of Black Elk’s and Vine Deloria’s people died over that kind of crazy. A lot of our people died over it down in Dahlonega. But the US is not going back to the gold standard any more than it’s going to legalize heroin even if Ron Paul wins…and he ain’t gonna win.”

“I’ll give you that, but what about Romney? Everybody says he’s going to win but nobody knows what he believes. He’s been on both sides of every issue.”

“So what? Aren’t you always claiming that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds?”

“That’s not my claim, Ray, but I’ll adopt it. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote it, and it’s ‘foolish consistency.’ Emerson wasn’t trying to make the world safe for hypocrisy.”

“You’re always hanging me up with technicalities.”

“Whether a policy is foolish is not a technicality. What’s an election about if some guy is on both sides? And what about the candidate who’s leading right now?”

“Jon Huntsman?”

“Very funny, Ray. He bit the dust when he admitted to believing in science.”

“Oh, you must mean Newt Gingrich! The Indian candidate.”

“INDIAN candidate?”

“Sure. Remember what Deloria said. White people vote for morons and Indians vote for crooks. Here’s a guy who entered public office middle class and became a millionaire several times over. The more I think about it the more I think Newt Gingrich is a stealth Indian and Vine Deloria, Jr. had to have a Cherokee grandmother!”