The Quid Pro Quo
By RALPH DOTTERER JR.
Back in the late sixties and early seventies, I was one of hundreds of area youth who would sometimes gather Saturday nights at the “Fire.” The “Fire” was a dance held in the Lock Haven YMCA basement, featuring local rock bands.
Many of the young men and women who attended the dance were good dancers whose moves on the dance floor were a pleasure to watch.
Then there were those of us whose dance moves were not as nice to watch, but at least we tried.
One particular Saturday night I saw a pretty, petite young woman on the dance floor who was nice to watch.
That night I did my best to impress her with my own dance moves. A week later she ended a date early with someone else to come to the “Fire” to see if I was there.
I was, and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”
Historically there has been a dance held in many government buildings over the years called the “Quid Pro Quo.” Let me explain to you how the dance, which has transcended time, plays out.
On the dance floor politicians move about, doing things politicians do.
Those “things” can be very different, depending on the individual politician, their personal interests, experience level, and job description.
On dance floor sidelines are citizens wanting to dance with their own political representatives at whatever level of government that might be, hoping to be heard, seek an audience and get help with any number of issues. Mixed among the common citizens have been legions of potential dance partners over the years with ulterior motives and often butting in ahead of others who are less forceful, or flashy.
Typically, these lobbyists study the politicians’ moves on the dance floor, waiting for the right moment to ask for a dance. Usually the lobbyist chooses a slow dance, giving them time to get up close and personal.
Amid the beat of the music, the perfume of freshly minted cash and the giddiness from a wooing dance partner, the politicians appear to become intoxicated, eagerly selling their souls and the rights of other citizens to help keep the euphoria of the moment going.
The lobbyist tells their dance partner that possibly a piece of legislation, a funding proposal, or maybe a change in rules and regulations are not in their client’s best interest.
The infatuated politician asks their dance partner what they can do to help their client. Seizing the moment, the lobbyist promises a generous gift or donation to that politician’s re-election fund if they make certain adjustments to situations of mutual interests. Of course, we must be discrete about our special relationship because citizens who will be hurt won’t take it kindly, warns the lobbyist.
We hear lots of reporting on foreign powers that seek to influence our politics and the election process. Reporters, meanwhile, ignore lobbyists in the room who on a regular basis seek to buy and sell our elections and quality of life.
We’re also hearing a lot about impeachment based on President Trump’s phone call and his “Quid Pro Quo” request to the Ukrainian president.
But what about countless other politicians, including President Trump’s critics and supporters, who regularly accept money in the “Quid Pro Quo” dance?
We’re being told by some that this “Quid Pro Quo” dance by the President meets the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and is a impeachable offense because he tried to use a foreign power to influence America’selections.
So what about the “Quid Pro Quo” dance between politicians and NRA lobbyists and gun manufacturers? Our 2nd Amendment rights vs. gun violence that takes thousands of lives each year.
What about the “Quid Pro Quo” dance between lobbyists who support Planned Parenthood and their sympathetic politicians?
Protect the right to kill or a woman’s right to choose, as in Roe vs. Wade?
Based on those offenses, which surely should fit the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors that cause harm to our citizens, I say impeach the whole lot of them and throw the bums out!
These kinds of activities are exactly what the framers of our Constitution wanted to prevent: The corruption of politicians using their offices for political and personal gain.
In fact, if Ben Franklin was around today, we might see this ditty printed in his publication of Poor Richard’s Almanac:
Its for all of us
a national woe,
when politicians and
special interests dance,
cash in hand
and toe to toe.
Doing a dance
we commonly know
as the “Quid Pro Quo.”
While the rights
of many Americans, now
down the toilet will flow.
Some citizens strongly feel
that it’s now time,
for all those who
abuse their power.
When frolicking on the
dance floor, dancing
the “Quid Pro Quo”
And as they say, “the rest will be history.”
Ralph Dotterer Jr. is a lifelong Nittany Valley farmer, hayseed philosopher and barnyard artist whose roots in the same soil go back almost 200 years.