Recently someone called me a pundit. I said, “Whoa! Hold on there a minute!”
No, I’m not a pundit. A pundit is generally perceived to be an expert on a subject such as a political columnist. I don’t consider myself to be either.
That’s not to say that when I write my column I don’t throw in a few political quips on occasion. I have learned a few things along the way about politics, but that doesn’t make me an expert — it’s just everyday observation.
For instance, I’ve learned that the difference between a godsend and pork barrel is the county line. If we get it, it obviously was needed. If they get it, chances are it’s a waste of taxpayer’s money.
And then I’ve learned that there’s a tendency of disgruntled citizens to want to “vote all the bastards out.” Except their bastards, of course.
Also among my observations is that the concept of “term limits” is mostly an urban legend. It’s kind of like “Bigfoot.” Some people find entertainment in chasing it, but down deep they know they’ll never catch it.
As well, while I’m not a Middle East “expert,” I do feel strongly that trying to impose “democracy” in lands that have been mostly tribal since Abraham makes about as much sense as trying to use voodoo to rid your yard of fire ants.
But having noticed and spoken about these things does not fit into what I would call an “expert” classification. Anyone who is not comatose and who knows that “jihad” is not something they yell at rodeos can make these observations and draw such conclusions.
I typically write about ordinary stuff and, yes, sometimes I can’t avoid a metaphor or analogy that has some political overtones. But I don’t claim to be an expert. And even if I did, it would sound rather silly, I think.
Picture this: A broadcast news commentator says, “We’ve just heard from Frank Gigliano, our expert on Catholicism at the Vatican about the pope’s stand on contraceptives.” And now we turn to Dwain Walden, a boiled-okra sandwich expert in South Georgia who will give us insight on the battle against cholesterol.”
See what I mean? There’s nothing to understand about a boiled okra sandwich except that you need a towel around your neck when you eat it.
Most political pundits are as predictable as finding collection plates in a Baptist church. The liberal pundit tells you how bad the Republican Party is doing and the conservative pundit tells you how bad the Democratic Party is doing. Neither one sees any good at all in the other party.
Meanwhile, out in the heartland are those people who work hard and pay taxes and who get a bit nauseous when you tack the word “party” after Republican or Democrat because more and more they interpret that phrasing literally. These are the people who buy their oil by the quart and worry about how they will send their kids to college. They watch reality television and wonder if that phenomenon is representative of a majority of their fellow Americans, and if this is the reason extraterrestrials might not have returned to earth.
These are the kinds of things I like to write about. And if I should suggest that a congressman be beamed up by aliens who might want to examine his brain, then so be it. Still, don’t confuse me with pundits.
Like I said, I don’t know any venue in which I would consider myself an expert. The way I see it, being an expert is a heavy cross to bear because if you give someone advice and it turns out bad, they may wrap your house with toilet paper or cut the cables on your trolling motor. Besides, I once heard “expert” defined as “ex,” meaning a has-been, and “spurt,” a slow drip under pressure.
Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer.