March 27, 2008
There’s a lot going on, but not much to report.The Senate Business and Commerce Committee, of which I’m a member, spent most of Thursday grilling leaders of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative about the controversies that have put such a negative light on that agency. And, of course, Texans will have another chance to choose the Democratic Presidential Nominee at county and Senate District conventions this weekend.But I have to say, about the most fun I’ve had lately was on Saturday, when I spoke to Austin Shakespeare about the Bard and what he has to do with politics.The discussion focused on how well the language and themes of Shakespeare actually translate to today’s political realm, particularly when you look at the speeches of some of his characters and their pleas to reason or emotion.I won’t get into the details, or my joke about whether Eliot Spitzer is more like Macbeth or King Lear (trust me, it’s hilarious – although I admit that making fun of Eliot Spitzer is kind of easy). But I would like to close this little dispatch with one of my favorite Shakespearean passages: Polonius’ speech to his son, Laertes, in Hamlet. It’s great advice, whether you’re in politics or anything else . . .
And these few precepts in thy memorySee thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;But do not dull thy palm with entertainmentOf each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade. BewareOf entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy:For the apparel oft proclaims the man;And they in France of the best rank and stationAre most select and generous chief in that.Neither a borrower nor a lender be:For loan oft loses both itself and friend;And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.This above all, to thine own self be true;And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.
With that, I’ll catch you next Friday.