Commentary: As for me, I'm joining the Pessimists Party

The (Tacoma) News TribuneSeptember 10, 2012 

The National Optimists Party wants my support.

Not my vote, I guess, since it doesn’t appear to have any candidates. That, by itself, made me think more highly of it. Instead of my vote, the founders want my participation in the “Party of the Future.”

Their website features a nice woman of retirement age quoting people like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and Victor Hugo. Not exactly the future, but apparently optimists all.

“We are a forward-looking party, possessed of a certainty that there is no challenge we currently face without an attending solution and animated by a belief in the righteousness of democracy and a faith in the innovative spirit of the American people,” the welcome page says.

OK, they’re starting to lose me now.

“The National Optimists Party has arisen in response to the paucity of proposals put forward by the Republicratic establishment,” it claims.

Sarcasm. Good. Tell me more.

The two big parties’ nominating events, according to an Optimist Party YouTube video, are “dissolute distracting conventions” covered by the media’s “narrow and fallacious focus.”

So it appears that alliteration will be a big part of the future. Fabulous.

Despite the upbeat rhetoric, the Optimists seem to have a lot in common with the Republicrats. They are optimistic about the future if they prevail but downright pessimistic if the other folks prevail. In the future, as in the past, optimistic voters will given the option of entering the Shining City on a Hill or Slouching Toward Gomorrah.

Choose wisely.

Predictions of gloom (and quite often doom) never seem to come true. But they are effective at motivating the base and keeping the political consultants and local TV executives well-ensconced among the 1 percent.

I discovered that Optimism is global. There are affiliates of the Optimists Party in foreign countries including England, Singapore, California, Texas, Wyoming and, my favorite, Le Partie Optimistes Organisee a Paris. I wrote all that down in my carnet de journaliste.

There is not a Washington state affiliate of the Optimists Party. I could try to form one but it probably wouldn’t work. There isn’t a National Pessimists Party either, unless you count the Libertarians. There should be one, though. I would be more at home among people who believe that things likely are going to get worse before they get worse.

The Optimists can be the “party of the future.” The Pessimists will be the “party of the present because who knows what the future will bring and we’d just as soon not take any chances.”

Our party banner could feature a half-empty glass and the slogan “Live Free Or Die (like there’s a difference?)”

We’d be symbolized by a donkey too but ours would be Eeyore.

Members of the Pessimists Party would never be disappointed on election night. By setting expectations low, we’d meet each defeat with a shrug, a mutual, “See, I told you,” and order another round of half-empty beers.

But if pigs fly and we should happen to win (what are the odds of that?) we’d need a platform. It could look something like this:

• Evolution in schools will be replaced with the teaching of Fatalism.

• We’ll enshrine Murphy’s Law in the U.S. Constitution.

• We’ll change the slogan on the currency to read, “In God We Trust. But You, I’m Not So Sure About.”

• “E Pluribus Unum” sounds kind of socialistic. We’ll go with “Pessimum est Adhuc Futurum.”*

• We support same-sex marriage because why shouldn’t gay people have a chance to be unhappy too?

• Before every foreign military action, we promise to say, “You’re right. It probably will be another Vietnam.”

• We’ll repeal Obamacare and replace it with universal Purple Cross coverage.

• We’ll release our income tax returns because otherwise who’d believe how broke we are.

• We’ll proudly proclaim “We Built It (which explains why it doesn’t work very well.)”

Vote Pessimist! Or, you know, whatever. * “The Worst is Yet To Come”

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