Oprah, Donald, and Jesse Ventura

Just when you thought it couldn’t get weirder, it got wackier.

A new candidate is being pushed to run for President in 2020. Maybe the last two digits of 2020 — or the first two, for that matter — offer a 20/20 look back at what’s happened to American society.

Maybe a personal anecdote from my 2003 Toyota Avalon experience will shed some light on the weirdness. Bear with me.


2003 Toyota Avalon XLS 

The Avalon’s a great car. But, like the American Republic, it’s getting older. A month ago, the Avalon’s muffler died. I took it to the nearest shop, Arboretum Tire and Auto (yes, I’m using the real name here, rebuking any fear of a law suit), which replaced the muffler for $412.90 with tax. I thought all was well until a few days later a hard-to-describe grinding sound appeared and grew louder on a seven-hour drive to Chicago for New Year’s weekend with friends.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are not good times for car repairs. The Tuesday following New Year’s, Northbrook Toyota squeezed this out-of-towner into an over-crowded schedule for a look. The mechanic and I took the Avalon for a test drive. He was certain it wasn’t the engine or the transmission. “Sounds like a shield is loose underneath.”

Back at the shop, he put it up on the rack where he discovered the problem. The muffler had not been installed properly. He took photos that visually confirmed what he had found and assured me that I could get home to Minnesota with no problem. It would be an annoyance, but it was safe to drive home to Chaska.

Northbrook Toyota did not charge me for its hour of labor. Not a nickel!

The morning after returning to Minnesota, I took the Avalon to a different shop than the one that had installed the muffler. It was closing time at Chaska Auto Repair, but Jeff welcomed me to the shop, looked at the photos from Northbrook Toyota, saw the problem, and said he could fix it.

So now I had two skilled mechanics who confirmed the noise was caused by an improperly installed muffler.

I took the Avalon back to Arboretum Tire and Auto, explained the problem, and showed them the pictures and the diagnostic note from the Toyota dealer. “I don’t see it,” said the proprietor. “You can’t see it? The Toyota dealer could see it. Chaska Auto’s mechanic can see it. Even I can see it now, and I’m not a mechanic.” “Did Chaska Auto or the Toyota dealer say they would fix it? Get an estimate and give me a call. I don’t see it.”

This morning Jeff at Chaska Auto Repairs did the repairs. No springs had been inserted to cushion vibration, the bolts between two plates had been forced and stripped, and one of the braces that hold the muffler in place was loose, causing the vibration.

I drove back to Arboretum Tire and Auto with a copy of the Chaska Auto Repair receipt for $76.88 including tax that described the work just completed: “Exhaust rattle: Repaired muffler bolts with proper spring bolts and shortened one rear hanger.” Arboretum offered to give me a credit toward future repairs, or they could send me a check. I took the check and told them I wouldn’t be back.

So…back to the point this anecdote intends to illustrate.

Training, skill, experience, hard work, honesty, and a track record of competence in one’s field are no less important for electing people to public office than they are for choosing a mechanic. Oprah and Donald have never held elected office. Ever. They’re entertainers. So was Jesse Ventura, but at least Jesse had served the public as a mayor as well as a wrestler before becoming governor.

There’s a noisy muffler vibrating under America these days. It just got louder last night. Having learned nothing from recent experience, another billionaire entertainer with no qualifications for public office  — who doesn’t love Oprah! How can you not love Oprah! — was cheered on to run for President against the other billionaire entertainer in 2020.

If you want a country that works, get a real mechanic. One who is trained, skilled, experienced, hard working, and honest with a track record that demonstrates competence in the field. Otherwise, you may get a “credit” for future repairs done by a high profile entertainer or a bad business. Public office is not a show. Not a prize. Not a popularity contest. And it’s not dirty! It’s a nothing less than a sacred calling.

481px-Snellen_chart“Civil authority is, in the sight of God, not only sacred and lawful, but the most sacred, and by far the most honourable, of all stations in mortal life.” — John Calvin, 1559 version of Institutes of the Christian Religion.

On the way to 2020, maybe a little hindsight may help create 20/20 vision in America before it gets even wackier than it just got.

— Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 9, 2018.

11 thoughts on “Oprah, Donald, and Jesse Ventura

  1. I liked your story, and agree wholeheartedly that we need a professional. But we absolutely need a professional with charisma. If we have “just a professional” running, however brilliant intellectually, however worthy, we might just wind up with four more years of 45. I would prefer a pro to Oprah, but if I must choose between Oprah and 45, there is no choice. And there is hope that Oprah would be truly OK. She is extremely intelligent (no ones **earns** that much money without real intelligence), and would be sure to surround herself with knowledgeable advisers and a competent cabinet able to see the good and the necessary. As you can see, each thing I have said shows her the diametric opposite of 45 — 180 degrees and thousands of miles apart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree … but I suspect we have moved into some kind of alternate reality where politicians will be in Congress, but celebrities will run the country. i could be wrong and I sure hope I am … but somehow, I bet I’m not wrong.

    For what it’s worth, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a pretty good governor for California, so you never know. One of these folks might turn out to be better than we expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A key to being elected, as we all know, is nam recognition. Film and television stars are the ones with national name recognition, which, in part, explains what’s happening in the new entertainment era of our history. Next thing you know, Martin Sheen and Kiefer Sullivan will be in the game. Come to think of it, if Kiefer is as fine in real life as he is in Designated Survivor, he might be pretty good. -:)


      • Let’s face it. Celebrities have run and been elected to government for a very long time. Rome and Egypt come to mind. Just because they aren’t lawyers doesn’t mean they don’t get it. However, it would help if they actually WANTED to be elected. That’s something of a key, you know?Intentionality. Willingness — desire — to serve.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have to think more about this. Agree that intentionality and willingness to serve (underline serve). I agree one doesn’t need to be a lawyer. Law degrees in the last 30-50 years have become a dime a dozen from diploma factories. And the schools do their best to beat any sense of justice out of their students’ aspirations. We don’t need more lawyers; we need GOOD ones. And I would sooner vote for a non-lawyer to represent me. The problem is money and celebrity. Some of the best candidates have neither. But, take a look a Tabitha Isner, running for Congress in Alabama. She’s the real deal.

          Liked by 1 person

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