Another Political Bestiary, Ep. X

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The Gadfly (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Gadfly

The sound produced by the beating of this creature’s wings is the white noise for most every public hearing room in the nation. The Jack-of-all-trades of the political world, the Gadfly is seemingly everywhere and noisily so. It is the Gadfly that supplies the barracking commentary at village board meetings, the handmade signage at city council hearings, the affected commentary in capitol lobbies, and the chanting entourage at petition filing counters. Buzzing from one controversy to the next, with much elation, the Gadfly gathers ample campaign skills, but rarely acquires any administrative experience. Its nomadic existence precludes long studies of the efficient administration of specific offices. Rather, the Gadfly excels at somehow positioning itself as the go-to spokesperson for a sequential variety of causes, controversy to controversy, campaign to campaign.

There have been times when by flukes of electoral surprise, or criminal prosecution, as in Illinois, a Gadfly will ascend to high office. At those times the true nature of the species invariably complicates matters, and Gadflies in power are sometimes most noted only for the awkward practice of protesting themselves. Some say this is behavior is willing self-sabotage, as Gadflies thrown out of office have been observed to have regained their happiness, in their elements once again, standing wounded on windy street corners offering petitions to random registered voters for signatures.

 

-Danny Grosso

 

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