You should never buy a pig in a poke

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2015

All of us of a certain age have heard the idiom “Don’t buy a pig in a poke.”
The saying means that one should not buy something until it is seen. In other words, lay your eyes on that oceanfront property in Arizona before you buy it.
The “poke” in our phrase is from the French word “poque.” Through many languages, it was shortened to “poke” and means a small bag.
The phrase assumes that not only could a pig fit in a small bag, but also a cat or another type of animal that would not be worth so much as a pig. So, it is advisable not to buy a pig in a poke; that is without seeing the pig first. If you were careless, you might find a cat in there which would lead to you “letting the cat out of the bag” instead of a pig being in the poke. Got all that?
I have gone quite a distance to get to the subject of the day which is that we, the American public, are seemingly being asked to buy a pig in a poke. How so? We are being asked to support a negotiated deal with Iran but we can’t see the deal until it has been signed. Isn’t that akin to being asked to buy a pig in a poke?
I believe that most Americans would prefer to settle differences with enemies at negotiating tables instead of confronting and killing each other on battlefields. I know I would. At the same, most Americans would like to have confidence in the deal that was being signed.
It’s not that we know all the intricacies of international diplomacy. I wouldn’t know where to begin I will admit, but most of us did not just fall off the turnip truck either!
It’s probably not a perfect analogy, but, think of a friend who came to you and asked you to co-sign on a loan with him. In reality this man was not a very good and dependable friend. In fact he has been fairly belligerent towards you and your family and left you responsible for a loan a few years ago.
You would probably kindly tell him “no,” but because you are concerned about his attitude if you refuse you decide to think about it. You ask a question. “How much is the loan?”
“Can’t tell you that, but you can trust me,” the so-called friend replies.
“What is the interest rate?” you inquire.
“Can’t tell you that either, but you can trust me,” he says again.
“But wait, you shafted me once and I also heard that you had threatened one of my best friends,” you continue.
“Actually, I still hate your friend and I will tell you right now, as soon as I can do him in, I will.”
You are probably thinking right now, walk away and have nothing to do with this deal.
As I said, this proposed co-signing deal is not a perfect analogy. It is not dealing with world consequences. It is not a matter of war and peace. This deal we are asked to support has been called a once-in-a-lifetime chance at peace with a belligerent nation.
Okay, so let’s talk, but let the light of day shine on the talk and don’t ask me to buy a pig in a poke.

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