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October 19, 2013

As Time Goes By: Scruples in short supply among lawmakers

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The Daily Star

---- — The other day, a friend and I were talking about what has happened to our lawmakers, and gridlock. I said offhand that several years ago I felt the urge to run for office. He quickly interjected that I would make a lousy politician.

What? A lousy politician? I asked “Why?” My friend replied that I had “too many scruples.”

Too many scruples? What the heck is a scruple? I took my new mini iPad (from Diane) and Googled “scruple.” Like so many things on computers today. I got more information than I needed. 

After reading from a number of learned sources, I figured out that scruples were a vague feeling of conscience that helps keep you on the narrow path of honesty, decency, apple pie and the American way. I breathed a sigh of relief — at least scruples weren’t something that was contagious. (Maybe they should be?)

Pinocchio was given a conscience by the Blue Fairy. I realized that there might be folks out there that would like to experience a vague feeling telling them what was right or wrong. So how can you tell if you have no scruples?

If you get elected to official office to represent the will of the people and spend most of the time doing nothing, you might have no scruples.

If you can take home a substantial salary and then have additional financial perks added to it and you have no vague feeling that you should do some work to earn it, you might have no scruples.

If, months before Election Day, you send out a glossy four-page brochure extolling all the wonderful things you have accomplished when in truth the things you did accomplished didn’t amount to a hill of beans, you might have no scruples.

If you are in a position of public trust and use that trust to take pictures of your nether parts and post them on Facebook, you might have no scruples.

If you are in a position of public trust and use a lame excuse to “fill an urge to walk the Appalachian Trail” while visiting your mistress in South America and then get re-elected, you have no scruples

If you are in a position in the medical world to pad bills because it has become a way of life, you may have no scruples.

If you are a politician and you want to acquire some scruples so you could be re-elected based on deeds rather than empty words, there is hope for you.

Using my electronic marvel, I “Googled” “Scruples how to get them,” and got a reference to the CCBSCOS, or Close Cover before Striking College of Scruples.

SCRUPLES College has a whole series of courses from beginners to more advanced courses at a graduate level.

I went to visit the president of SCRUPLES and discovered that he had his beginning at FOOLUM University. He stated that SCRUPLES had many more applications than they had room for in the courses because it is well recognized that few politicians have scruples today and that unemployed people are eager to get on the politician gravy train.

He showed me the beginning course, Scruples 101, where each participant discovers his own conscience, or since so many are lacking one, he can buy a conscience by ordering a cricket cage made in China and also a genuine cricket named “Jiminy,” also made in China. (A visit from the “Blue Fairy” is $500 extra.)

There is a Liberal Arts requirement in English 200 titled “Shouting.” Recognizing that the “Squeaky wheel gets the oil,” the course in shouting is self-explanatory. Whether innocent or guilty, the student must shout down his or her accusers and in so doing make the point that “might is always right.”

Much to most students’ surprise there is an agricultural component to their SCRUPLES degree. It consists of practical experience in both a dairy and horse farm, shoveling in one place and mucking stalls in the other.

This is critical for someone desiring a career as a politician because they need to be able to move manure from one place to another without raising a stink.

This can be quite difficult in the case of farmers using a liquid slurry system. Under these conditions, it is always wise for the politician to stand downwind from any crowed of constituents.

Graduation from SCRUPLES is quite an event and can be accomplished in either a two- or four-year stint, depending upon time served and sentencing agreements. Saying that you have spent time at the “big house” does bring a certain degree of recognition, since so many politicians today are headed there.

As the guest speaker at graduation this year, Sen. Foghorn Leghorn (R-D) said that having great power requires great responsibilities and that nothing corrupts like absolute power and he claimed that he ought to know.

He praised SCRUPLES College for being on the cutting edge of politics because he said that politics is no place for a rooster who acts like a donkey. (Or words to that effect.)

As time goes by, we discover that things seem to remain the same. We need new blood, new ideas and some scruples in elective office today.

I’m not running because I can’t walk.

Henry Geerken is a three-time NYSUT award-winner writing humorous articles addressing retiree and senior citizen concerns. Geerken also writes for Sail-World, World Cruising Newsletter, regarding his many humorous sailing episodes through the years. He can be reached by email at hgeerken@stny.rr.com. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.