OPINION: Guest writer

Party of one

World is serious enough already

In 2016 I started the Grill Party. Yes, the Grill Party, duly registered with the Federal Election Commission and adhering to the philosophy of "Slow Down and Grill." I started the party out of a sense of something lacking in the established entities, something missing. What I found absent in the other parties was a sense of humor, a belief that the world was already serious enough without that seriousness being added to by pontificating and posturing, all for the sake of being elected, then re-elected, then re-elected again and so on and so on.

I also noticed that the majority of energy and time of the major parties seemed to be spent on fundraising, in essence begging for money to tell people what they already wanted to hear. Accepting donations to tell people what they already believed, already agreed with. Actually, not a bad scheme if considered in a certain way.

The Grill Party, however, does the opposite. The party will never solicit donations. Never has and never will. The Federal Election Commission sends me quarterly report requests, requiring me to note any and all financial transactions. Needless to say, I have yet to return one showing any activity. The only expenses I have are meat, charcoal and/or wood, beer, and the ingredients for the sauces and dry rubs I concoct. And paid for by personal funds, not party money. Of course, there is none.

I suppose I should mention that the membership of the party is one. Me. This helps immensely when any platform or election issues are debated. Also keeps the committee meetings focused and on task, not to mention very short, allowing attention to then be turned to the serious matters--such as marinade recipes and barbecue sauces.

Speaking of sauces, this is a perfect metaphor for the strongly held belief of the party concerning differences of opinions and that different does not by nature equal wrong. Go down the sauce aisle of the grocery store and take a look at the incredible variety presented. Thank goodness there is not just one recipe, just one choice, just one allowed preference. Such as it should be with political discussions, being able to have a discussion, a back-and-forth offering of opinions without fear of insults, attacks, labels, what seems to be par for the course in today's fractured environment. To achieve this, though, people must be willing to listen, to truly attend to what others are saying.

Which brings up a major component of the Grill Party's platform--a National Everyone Shut Up and Listen Day. Simply be quiet, listen to some Telemann concertos, to Grover Washington Jr. play a beautiful saxophone, to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Listen to the birds, to the wind in the trees, to your own thoughts. We have two ears and one mouth, so the ratio of usage should be obvious--listen twice as much as we speak. Or speak half as much as we listen. Either way works.

The party developed this idea after constant bombardment by news and sports shows which seem to require having a "panel" of "experts" whose main task seems to be talking all at once and in increasing volume. A song from the '80s asks, "What are words for when no one listens? What are words for when no one listens? It's no use talking at all." A sentiment to be considered.

The party does not avoid the serious issues of the world nor would the party encourage such. Never has and never will. The party simply advocates stepping back, taking a look around and appreciating the good, the positive.

As always, slow down and grill.

David Kelley lives in the Free Republic of South Arkansas which is nominally governed by the Grill Party. Live Free and Grill.

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