Ever walk into a room and behold a scene so surreal, full of people acting in a bizarrely staged self-parody, that you checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day?
Anyone who accidentally stumbled into Tuesday’s 21/2-hour, three-ring circus of a Pierce County Council meeting could be forgiven for feeling that way.
In the front, council members proposed absurd riffs on “In God We Trust,” voted against their own amendments and got declared out of order. In the back, an unruly citizen lay face down, spread eagle on the carpet, after being escorted from the room.
Maybe we should pray God hasn’t lost his trust in us.
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There’s plenty of blame to spread around for this rumpus, of course, but the whole council gets a snort from The Schnoz for playing politics with the art of interior decoration.
Next time one of them has the urge to hang something on the wall of their meeting room, we suggest they pick an innocuous Thomas Kinkade painting and call it a day.
Funny timing, too. They got lathered up about “In God We Trust” on the eve of the 58th anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower making it the national motto (July 30, 1956).
Call it selective outrage. Each of the seven pols is paid a handsome annual salary of 107,602 dollar bills with those four inflammatory words printed on the back, and we’ve never heard of a single buck thrown away in protest.
And nobody seemed to choke on the “Under God” line while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the meeting.
OMG!: You’d think the county electoids wouldn’t have time for tragicomic theater like this.
They need to focus on essential public business in what’s left of 2014, such as whether to raise their pay and build themselves a new $80 million administration building.
It will be a shiny temple with space for hundreds of plaques, written in every language on Earth, dedicated to Allah, Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, Tianzhu, Zeus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever fill-in-the-blank deity not named “God” in whom a human being might want to place his or her trust.
No frills: Granted, the current council chambers are rather sparsely decorated and could use the Martha Stewart touch.
The Pierce County seal hangs in the center of the front wall. It’s flanked by the last gavel used by the old County Commission (circa 1981) and a plaque dedicated to Paul Newman (a county commissioner who served from 1945-1954 — not the guy from the salad dressing bottle).
In the corner of the room, a glass case holds a sculpture of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and his dog, Seaman.
And that’s about it.
All in all, the room has the warmth and personality of a Quaker meetinghouse, complete with hard wood pews.
Look at it that way and “In God We Trust” fits just fine.
Why stop with a plaque?: A top-secret memo of completely unreliable origin was leaked to The Nose this week. Heaven knows you can’t trust everything you read.
To: County Council research staff
From: District 3 Councilman
Re: More decorating ahead!
Thank you for your assistance in my effort to install an “In God We Trust” plaque in Council Chambers. I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that some nincompoops (pardon my French) would view it as controversial. But after this successful effort, I take it as a sign from above that I should pursue the rest of my inoffensive interior decorating agenda.
Please start preparing ordinances to:
• Take down window blinds and replace with curtains sewn from the hides of endangered snow leopards.
• Above the county seal, hang a portrait of Jesus on black velvet. On the back wall, hang one of those classic American paintings of bulldogs playing poker.
• Remove the name “Seaman” from Meriwether Lewis sculpture and replace it with less suggestive wording, such as “loyal dog.”
• Post a Confederate flag next to the other flags.
Again, thank you for your help. Together we can keep sprucing up this room in ways that promote our national heritage!
P.S., Let me know when the hymnals for the pews arrive on back order.
Another surreal moment in local politics: Mayor Marilyn Strickland confirmed she will appear at the grand opening of Tacoma’s first pot shop Friday.
But she told a TNT scribe that she won’t bring weed back to City Hall, as Seattle’s city attorney did earlier this month.
C’mon, mayor, don’t be a buzzkill.
We have a newsroom tradition that if you go to the Washington State Fair, you come back to the office with a bag of scones to share.
How’s this any different?