The Farmer, the Puppet, the Incarnate God

In nearly seven decades of my life, I have come to know only three people by the name of Grover. In my early childhood, I got to know a Grover in Oxford, PA. My Quaker cousins, Laura and Ethel ran a dairy farm. I recall every summer going down to the farm and did so for the first dozen years of my life. Laura and Ethel, who were very old then...probably in their 70s, cared for the farm and their elderly father, Walter. Uncle Walter was in his mid-90s when he finally died. When I was 5 or 6, I would babysit with Walter by playing Chinese checkers with him. At that age, I did know how to play board games, and he was what they called being senile. Nowadays, we would say that he was suffering from Alzheimer's.

Walter ran the entire farm until he was in his mid-80s. It was around then that they hired a tenant farmer to take over the farming responsibilities. The tenant farmer had two sons, Brady and Grover. When Grover and I first met, he was in his early teens. Over the next decade, we bonded. Grover loved to teach me what dairy farmers did. I spent long hours during the day for several weeks every summer learning how to feed cows whether it was grain or ensilage, which is the entire corn stock cut up into small pieces.

Grover taught me how to take the cows down the lane and open the gate to the pasture after the morning milking. He showed me how to ride on a tractor standing on the rear axle while he'd drive the tractor around the farm. Or he showed me how to stack bales of hay on the hay wagon as it picked up bales that they had just baled.

Grover taught me how to get corn from the corn crib and to bring it into the barn to feed the cows. I loved going up into the barn and shoveling down grain that was stored in bags. I'd cut the burlap bags open and then shovel contents down the chute with what seemed like a very wide, flat shovel. The chute went from the main floor to the place where they milked the cows.

I learned from Grover all that was needed to be done before milking: cleaning the cows, how to connect the milking machine to the cows, how to strip the cows that had finished the automatic milking. I took bottoms of the milkers to the milk house where I'd pour the fresh milk into a large funnel that had a filter to catch things like flies. I learned how to double-strain the milk that I would take up to the house for Laura and Ethel. We never used pasteurized milk and never got sick.

After milking and taking the cows down to the pasture, Grover and his father would put me in the back of the pick-up truck along with a dozen large milk cans and off we'd drive to the creamery. There we'd unload the cans and wait for the cans to be returned. I also soon learned what a bacteria count was and what was considered good.

Grover, for some unknown reason, took much time to teach and take care for a city boy who loved the farm. It was for me a real hoot. I appreciated that time and concern for me that he showed. He wanted me to learn about the farm during the first dozen years of my life. As an adult today, I stand in utter wonderment that my parents would allow me to be exposed to all the dangers associated with farm life. Thankfully, I learned a get deal without ever getting hurt.

Grover Grover, the second
The second Grover was introduced to me in my early years as a father. My three children started when they were toddlers to watch TV. They saw Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, the Electric Company, and Sesame St.

Scott, Kristin, and Michelle learned a long list of characters especially from Sesame St. like Big Bird, Elmo, the Count, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, and last but not least...Grover. Grover always seemed to me to be a semi-clone of Cookie Monster who was and still is my personal favorite.

Grover was in many ways like the first Grover. The Sesame St. Grover accepted all the people and animals; he wasn't judgmental. He was caring. My children and the children all over the world were taught about the new world that all children find themselves in at the beginning their lives. All children attempt to put some sense of order into their lives, which hasn't benefited from years of understanding. All children benefited from this Grover as I did from my first Grover down on the farm. The children around the world knew that many people and animals cared about them...just as they are.

Grover Norquist Grover, the third
Now, at the other end of my life, TV introduced me to another Grover, the last Grover in my life. While I loved this Grover's predecessors and had an excellent friendship with both of them, this Grover isn't my friend and I hope that I never will be introduced to him. He suffers from many hubris. Neither of his two predecessors was into themselves as this Grover is. The farmer Grover or the Sesame St. Grover weren't into self-aggrandizement or thinking of themselves as God's gift to the world. This Grover sees himself as some divine incarnate inside the Washington beltway. He somehow got or forced a member of Congress to sign the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge". This was something that this Grover started in 1986 and is a part of the group that he heads as president, Americans for Tax Reform.

This is the form for the House members to sign. It is simple...two items. Interestingly, it not only needs to be signed and dated but also witnessed.

Tax Pledge

Tax Pledge

While the first two Grovers were ready and willing to help educate the next generation of Americans, this holier than thou Grover made them sign this pledge for as long as they are in public office. Now, I wanted to have someone interview this self-appointed and non-elected governmental person who is out there having Members of Congress swearing allegiance to his piece of paper. However, I, personally, try to stay away from arrogantly self-righteous political gurus. So I Googled: grover norquist interview. I found 4,330,000 results. After spending much time, I found one that I understood.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

I discovered many things from this interview with this third Grover. When he was 12, he came up with the idea about taxes. Then it dawned on me that while I working down on the farm this Grover was working on tax reform. There I was learning about taking care of cows, and he was deep in thought about how to change America and avoid going over the economic cliff.

While being mesmerized by this interview, it struck me just how accurate Forrest Gump's comment was..."Stupid is as stupid does." There are people out there that think and say stupid things. I get that there are some 12-year old thinkers out there. What I don't get is that so many people bought into his notion. Of the 112th Congress, 236 House members and 41 Senate members signed the pledge. That totals 277 from both the House and Senate, which is 53%. There are 53% of the members of Congress who not only Pledge Allegiance to America but also sign Grover's piece of paper.

To be fair, since our recent election, which was a mandate endorsing Obama's direction for America, there have been a couple of the Members of Congress who have rescinded their pledge of allegiance to Grover. According to CNN's count when the new Congress meets in 2013, the Grover followers have changed. The House number has dropped from 236 to 219 and the Senate number has dropped from 41 to 39. The percentage is now 49%. Wow.

To add to the firestorm of controversy reading Grover's pledge, Rep. Peter King, a signer of the pledge, said, "A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress, for instance, if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed a support of declaration of war against Japan. I'm not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed, and the economic situation is different."

King's comment outraged Grover:

"Stupid as stupid does." Grover than muddies his intellectual debate by comparing his pledge to a mortgage with a bank that a person signs to get a home loan or to that of a marital pledge.

However, as we attempt to avoid going over the economic cliff and start acting like the Greeks as they deal with their economic mess, some of the Republicans see the writing on the wall. My suggestion to Grover is the same that I have suggested that Romney needs after his emotional problems during his 5-year campaign for the presidency. I'd suggest that both Romney and Grover take a couple of months off thinking and go to the Cayman Islands for a time of rest and relaxation.

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach-Cayman Islands

While I am not pushing the Caymans in particular, I do think that both Romney and Grover need lots of sun and fresh air. They have both spent too much time living and thinking in the Dark Ages.

Anyone with any knowledge of history knows that following the Dark Ages in Europe that was a rebirth of thinking, art, culture, learning, political growth, etc. with the advent of the Renaissance (Italian from rinascere, which means "to be reborn"). Both Romney and Grover need to be reborn along with many others in Washington and beyond.

Forrest Gump Film Poster

Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Visit the Stupid is As Stupid Does page to read more about this topic.