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Of Planes and Politicians (An apolitical comparative)

Whew. Now that this crazy election is over, we can all go back to being friends again...or can we? I'm sure the voters on the losing side of the Presidential election are putting up "For Sale" signs in their front yards and scouring the "Homes for Sale" ads in all the papers in Canada and New Zealand. Just remember that they have politics too and probably a lot of other stuff that you won't like that you haven't even thought about a shortage of nice planes that were made in the USA when we were relatively young, vibrant and united in values. But even then we were affected by politics. In the election of 1912, (when Stanley was in its heyday), after his "hand picked" successor, incumbent Republican William Howard Taft became a disappointment to him, former president Teddy Roosevelt (also a Republican) ran a third (The Progressive or "Bull Moose") party campaign for president, came in second and drew enough votes away from Taft to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson president. Amazingly, Wilson got less than 42 percent of the popular vote but 435 electoral votes, a veritable landslide. It's a crazy system but if you are the winner, like Wilson, it works well. If you are the looser it is seriously flawed and needs to be changed. If you don't live in the USA and you are reading this you are probably confused as to how the US political system works. You are not alone. It confuses all of us, even those that have studied and participated in the process for many years. Suffice to say, if does work and our founding fathers had great wisdom in their crafting of the process, though many would not agree. But this is not a lesson in politics so I will stop after making just one more point.

I don't much care for politics and especially don't like career politicians. With the exception of a very few past presidents, perhaps only George Washington, who never wanted the job in the first place and a few such as Lincoln and FDR, both faced with serious national crises and were forced to make choices that put the country first. But all, including those mentioned, had an eye to the next election and how their decisions would affect their own public image rather than, or at least in addition to "doing what's best for the country", Now, I'm finished.

Well then, what's the point of all this drivel? This is a brief missive on the comparison between a hand plane and a politician, tongue and cheek to be sure.

1. Politicians are flexible, not in a good way, in that they bend to whomever in their political career is running them. They say to you the voter that they will vote a certain way but when it's time to vote, they change it because a lobbyist is telling them who pays the election bills. A hand plane (bench planes that is) is pretty rigid and not too flexible. You can expect a hand plane to be consistent in what it does and always in the best interest of the person in charge. Ever seen a politician who is consistently working in the best interest of the person in charge? (i.e. the voter)

2. A politician's position changes from pre-election to post- election. In other words "promises made are generally not promises kept. If a hand plane promises to be true to you, it means to keep it. You can rely on it and only YOU can make it change its mind.

3. You can't trust anything that comes out of a politician's mouth. Nuf said. What comes out of a plane's mouth is pure and clean, once you figure it out. You can always trust that it will be that way. Not so with a politician. Unlike a plane, if it's mouth is open he/she is probably not telling the whole truth. A plane's mouth spews only real, truthful and trustworthy shavings.

4. Take car of and maintain a plane and it will always take care of you and be your friend. A politician wants your vote. Nothing more and doesn't care much about you once he/she has it. Your needs to the politician are only fodder to be played with in order to help them get elected or re-elected. A plane only plays to your best interests

5. Finally, if your plane doesn't perform to your standards, changes its position, lies to you about its intentions or makes promises it doesn't intend to keep you can just fix it, or throw it away. Politicians just seem to hang around when they are broken, say and do stupid stuff that you can't understand and like poison oak, lie in wait until you brush up against them at election time, then irritate the heck out of you until after the election.

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