Are you as unimpressed as I am with the miserable excuse for governance we continue to witness from our elected Congress?

Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anything else, considering we’ve embraced a clearly dysfunctional system that requires enormous amounts of money for every candidate who’s serious about election to one of these seats. Then we surround them with lobbyists and special interests all too willing to continually lavish cash and perks on them.

Once in office, most of our so-called public servants suddenly feel beholden no longer to we the people, but rather to those who shovel all the money and goodies their way. To top it off, in this childish process, they grow individually wealthy in the office we entrusted them with–and all without term limits.

The “District of Corruption,” as one social media meme described it, most assuredly has become a verminous “swamp” in dire need of draining and reform. It’s equally apparent to adults out here these pretenders at leadership choose to place their own agendas and ideologies above finding ways to reach accord for the overall best interest of our nation and its people.

The ongoing obstruction and nitpicking is intended to disrupt rather than move us from beneath the crushing weight of one party’s ambitions and agendas.

Such disgraceful partisan gridlock has reached the point where these politicos can’t even find accord within their own parties on how to fix a terrible health-care system even they agree is failing under its own weight.

I foolishly hoped this last surprising election sent a powerful, unmistakable message to each of of these representatives and senators that Americans want them, first and foremost, to get on with the business of placing our country back on track under a well-managed government that values our Constitution, individual freedom and devotion to national safety and economic well-being.

The wiser among the D.C.-elected are well-advised to remember just how angry and frustrated so many Americans were and still are. They did not vote for obstructionists or the circus we’re witnessing, or flagrant rudeness or sidestepping the Constitution.

It’s likely not a stretch to say a majority of us who pay taxes and vote have become flat worn-out and fed up with the whole notion of two parties’ finger-pointing, selfishness, immature partisanship and junior-high behavior while improperly governing this nation, which intelligent adults can and should do.

Among those who’d understand my admittedly cynical yet honest view, I’m certain, are our founders George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin.

They have no questions because each of those honorable and brilliant men, in their individual ways, warned specifically about the realistic dangers and inherent predictable evils we can expect from focusing on political parties constantly at odds with their own selfish best interests at heart.

Of this group, Madison is credited with echoing the feelings of the others: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and concerting measures in opposition to each other, This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

And just lookee here, folks, at the political evil we created and condoned between then and 2017, only compounded by the overwhelming influence of money and greed on the governance of our nation and its states.

Sidewalks and guns

As for that recently passed law allowing Arkansans with concealed-carry licenses to tote their firearms virtually anywhere they see fit, I turn to the sage from Louisiana who recently said this is bound to create problems out in the hinterland.

“Let me put it this way, my friends,” he said in a distinctly Cajun dialect. “Does having a driver’s license mean you can drive your vehicle anywhere, including on the sidewalks? If not, why not? Because the likelihood of someone being hurt or killed prevents it.”

Newton’s equation

Golf season has launched for thousands of us across the state. More than a handful of readers have asked of late how well the spanking new graphite shaft I wrote about having installed on my driver two months ago is behaving.

Robbie Newton, the craftsman and entrepreneur at Golf USA in Fayetteville, put me through the drills in February before determining which of his custom-made shafts best suited an aging fella like me. He promised I’d finally be able to keep up with other fellas who regularly receive my share of losing bets.

You may recall that, after an hour of testing and measuring and videoing, Newton’s equations showed I needed his graphite shaft No. 31, whose frequency fell between a senior and a regular flex.

I can now report, after more than a dozen rounds with trusty ol’ 31, that Newton, whose shafts are used on the PGA Tour, wasn’t kidding when he said I’d average about 15 to 20 additional yards on my drives. Robbie has been added to my Christmas card list.


Mike Masterson’s column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at

Editorial on 04/02/2017