Interesting question may not have good answer

By Tim Timmons

Many thanks to those of you who went out of your way to say you enjoyed the scribblings in this space last week. If you can’t have a little fun at Halloween, when can you? So I’m glad you – or at least some of you – enjoyed it.

In fact, one of my favorite readers – who shall remain nameless – called me Saturday morning to say how they actually laughed out loud at the end. Those calls mean a lot and I was smiling after hanging up when – BAM! A giant hand smacked the door and a voice loud as thunder boomed out:

“If you started a new country would it look like this?”

It was a hard question to answer. Not necessarily because I had to think about it, but because I was trying to catch my breath after Big John Hammer scared the living daylights out of me – again!

If you don’t know, the giant of a man known as the Hammer visits occasionally. He almost always comes in on a Saturday – which is odd because we’re closed and the doors to the world wide HQ are locked. As big as he is, he somehow manages to approach the office unheard by me (which could mean I play music too loud when no one’s around) and then when he does make himself known scares the bejeezus out of me.

“Timmons, you going to answer? I want to know if—”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m just trying to breathe here, John. I heard your damn question.”

Hammer’s eyebrows furrowed and he frowned. I decided to lighten up. Quickly.

“We can’t disagree anymore,” Hammer started. “We have two main political parties and both are divided. The Republicans have the ultra conservatives and the, I don’t know, I guess regular conservatives. And the Democrats have the socialists and, I don’t know, regular liberals. Put ‘em all together and you only get gridlock.”

“I see what you mean, John, and I— ”

“And you can’t watch the news without hearing everything leaning toward one side or the other,” he went on in that deep, gravelly voice of his. “Of course if you say anything, you’re branded as an extremist and then you are dismissed. Why? Because no one has any tolerance. People actually root for the president to fail, Republicans hate Biden, Democrats hate Trump. Both of them occupied the highest office in the land and it seems to me that we as Americans would want them both to succeed. But – and listen up Timmons because this is important – our hate has overcome our patriotism.

“So I’m asking – if you started a brand new country would it look like this?”

I had to admit, it’s an interesting question.

“Would your new country have tax laws that take up thousands of pages, or would it be something simple and fair,” he asked. Before I could answer, he kept going.

“Would those taxes pay for programs that aren’t for everyone? Would your country essentially only have two points of view from two political parties? Would people in office get to stay in office, basically becoming professional politicians? Would your new politicians act like rulers or servants of the people? Would policy and law be decided more by lobbyists and special interest groups, or by the will of the people?”

Hammer paused.

“You don’t have to tell me what your new country would look like, Timmons. Just tell me, would it look much like the one we have now?”

With that he turned and walked away. I think I had the answer, but I wasn’t at all sure I liked it.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at