On the Issues: Politics & Dead Fish

I grew up in a small town alongside a large lake in Ohio. I spent many summers more than 50 years ago rollicking with my friends along the rocky shore of that lake. As I did so, I learned a lot about fish – big fish, little fish, living fish, dead fish. During the warmer times of the year, it wasn’t uncommon to see dead fish floating on the water or lying among the rocks of the shoreline. Perhaps the fish were cast there by a passing storm, or maybe they merely floated there after they had expired from natural causes. Whatever the cause, they were dead – dead – dead! (Click on the above title if necessary to continue reading.)

I recently went home to Ohio for a visit and saw that lake once again. Even today, more than a half-century later, the sight of a dead fish conjures up all sorts of thoughts and memories for me. Having been around fish most of my life, I learned many sayings about fish, and recently, several came to mind. There are a few in particular that I want to address – and explain how I see these aphorisms in relation to politics.

“Nothing stinks worse than a rotting fish.” The distinctive odor commonly associated with the death of fish arises from the conversion of trimethylamine oxide – a chemical compound present in fish tissue – to trimethylamine. This transformation takes place post-mortem and gives rise to the potent and highly recognizable stench. If people smell trimethylamine, they know that the fish has expired and begun to rot. The rankle of partisan politics today reminds me of rotting fish. The odor is overwhelming.

Consider the things that stink to high heaven, most of which are rooted in progressive policies: the government using a weaponized Department of Justice and the FBI to attack parental, religious, and free-speech rights, the thought police charging someone with a “hate crime” for smashing a statue of Satan, objectifying women through pornography and prostitution, favoring an open-border policy that victimizes women and children through the practice of human trafficking and sexual violence, allows for unbridled dissemination of illegal drugs one of which – Fentanyl – is responsible for some 70,000 American deaths annually, promoting abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia at every turn, corrupting youth by incessantly promoting the LGBTQIA+ agenda and “gender affirming” care, suppression of the people’s will by incessantly attacking conservative, political candidates, managing a public school system that if anything else might be considered educational malfeasance. The progressive Left is not only WOKE (Willfully Overlooks Known Evils) but Actively Promotes Evil. That is, they APE the devil.

The progressive Left’s modus operandi is to deny, obfuscate, lie, and mislead. To the worst of them, the end justifies the means. Being accused of hypocrisy by the conservative Right is taken as a badge of honor. These attributes are clearly the sign of a flawed moral compass – calling evil good and good evil.

“A fish rots from the head down.” This statement implies that leadership while playing a crucial role in the success of an organization, can also be the fundamental reason behind its failure and eventual downfall. A leader can make or break an organization, company, or even a nation. So it is with President Slow Joe Biden who heads the Democrat Party. Biden has been a disaster for both his Left-leaning Party and the nation. Frequent critiques deal with economic management, approaches to immigration, handling of foreign relations, and perceived difficulties in addressing particular domestic problems. Consider these in finer detail:

  • Government Size and Role – Democrats advocate for a larger and more involved government, which leads to increased regulations, higher taxes, and a growing infringement on individual liberties.
  • Economic Policies – Taxes and government spending are growing uncontrollably. This is having a growing negative impact on business growth and job creation. Within 25 years, at the current rate of growth, payments on the national debt will exceed income from taxes.
  • Social Issues – The divide between traditional and progressive values is growing and tearing our nation apart. Conservatives differ with progressives on issues with moral dimensions such as abortion, LGBTQIA+ rights, gun control, and more.
  • National Security – There are growing concerns about the President’s approach to national security, foreign policy decisions, and military spending. Our allies no longer trust us, and our enemies no longer fear us.
  • Immigration Policies – The President is clearly supporting an open border policy which is extremely damaging to our nation. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court, with its recent 5-4 judgment allowing Biden to remove the razor wire at Eagle Pass in Texas, will reveal for all to see how he and his ilk really do want to tear down the nation.

“Only a dead fish goes with the flow.” This saying brings to mind qualified citizens – but most especially conservative Republicans and moderate Independents – who sit out elections and either quietly accept the consequences of their inaction or complain about the problems resulting from poor governance afterward. A live fish can propel itself through calm water and even move with or against a current. A dead fish does none of these. It floats on the surface, cast about by the wind and waves, and is carried along by the motion of the water. Those who can vote but fail to vote are little more than dead fish in my mind’s eye.

The turnout in a typical election in McLean County will not even reach 50%. Unless it's a presidential election, most people won’t even know local elections are taking place. If voters are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

There are consequences for not voting. The issues facing us require moral decisions, not merely prudential decisions. So disturbing are some of the issues that face us, one almost needs a biblical saying to deal with it. I use the phrase “sins that cry to heaven for vengeance.” These sins are murder (Genesis 4:10), sodomy (Genesis 18:20-21), oppression of the poor (Exodus 2:23), and defrauding workers of their just wages (James 5:4). Woe to us when we don’t do something about these evils, and many more besides.

One moral of this essay is, “Don’t be a dead fish.” They stink to high heaven.  Another moral is, “Don’t select leaders who are rotten.” They, too, stink. Putrid odors tell us that something is wrong, wrong, wrong. There clearly is much wrong with the current state of affairs. Let’s not be dead fish; let’s swim against the political current and make some decent headway in improving this nation and its moral character.

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