Let me have the ‘Quid Pro Quo’

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Unless you’re watching Turner Classic Movies, which isn’t a bad idea these days, you can’t turn on the television without hearing the phrase “Quid Pro Quo.” Besides being an excellent tongue-tier, what is quid pro quo?

When I hear the phrase, I don’t know why, but I think of the sea creature, the squid. One has nothing to do with the other, so I guess it’s the similar sound of the first word in the phrase.

I also think of dishes on a fancy menu at an expensive restaurant. I don’t go to expensive restaurants all that much; my palate is more in tune with “greasy spoons.” But I can imagine going to a fancy place with high prices and, after looking at the offerings and not knowing anything about anything, I can imagine myself saying, “I’ll have the quid pro quo with a little ketchup on the side.”

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Quid pro quo is Latin and means “something for something” or “this for that.” We are hearing it so often these days because there is the thought that government agencies or politicians would offer a favor to someone who might do them a favor. Are you shocked?

If I had to put the phrase in a common vernacular for our part of the country, it might be “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Instead of being surprised by such action, I contend that quid pro quo is what makes the world go ‘round.

We go to work these days based on quid pro quo. My daddy used to knock on our door during summer mornings and, although he never used the phrase, he engaged in a little quid pro quo.

He would offer my brother and me the opportunity to work that day in exchange for room and board.           I did not think of it as quid pro quo but rather “If you two will get up and pull those weeds out of the peanut patch, I’ll let you live here and even feed you.” I think that even if he had not known the phrase, he might have used it this way, “If you don’t get out of the bed and go to work, I’m going to quid your pro” or something like that.

That’s a good and natural type of quid pro quo. That’s the sort of which I spoke that makes the world go ‘round. Of course in the world of politics or bigger business than the scene I just explained, quid pro quo can be controversial or even negative.

The controversy for today is that the Republican campaign charged that Hillary’s campaign indulged in a bad case of quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI so that her email predicament might seem less than it is or was. Personally, I find it hard to believe that any of the campaigns might engage in such negative behavior. Did I mention that I was just born yesterday?

Politics. If there was ever a vocation for which the philosophy of quid pro quo was born, politics is it. As I said earlier, I am shocked that Republicans or Democrats would play a “tit for tat” game.

Thinking honestly, what do we expect from our elections? We expect that those for whom we vote would “help us.” We’ll scratch their back if they will only scratch ours.

The only problem that we are finding is that politicians engage in quid pro quo mostly among themselves. We the people are not getting what we “order;” not even the ketchup on the side.