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Concerning Mugwumps

Perhaps most readers would associate the word ‘mugwump’ with Albus Dumbledore of the much loved Harry Potter series. Dumbledore was the Supreme Mugwump, head of the Wizengamot, the International Confederation of Wizards – except in the fifth book where his cohort suspects he is totally nuts (don’t worry, he is restored to his position by the end of the book).

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The word ‘mugwump’ originates from the Algonquian dialect of Native American in Massachusetts and means ‘war leader’. It was first used as a humorous word in English, depicting a bigwig or grand panjandrum. During the US Presidential elections in 1884 it was used to describe Republicans who changed sides (God forbid); they became known as little mugwumps or turncoats. The most notorious of these was Mark Twain who famously said: “I was a mugwump. We, the mugwumps, a little company made up of the unenslaved of both parties, the very best men to be found in the two great parties – that was our idea of it … Our principles were high, and very definite. We were not a party; we had no candidates; we had no axes to grind. Our vote laid upon the man we cast it for no obligation of any kind. By our rule we could not ask for office; we could not accept office. When voting, it was our duty to vote for the best man, regardless of his party name. We had no other creed. Vote the best man – that was creed enough.”

– Mark Twain’s Autobiography (North American Review, Dec. 21, 1906)

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Today, the word mugwump is most commonly used in reference to someone removed from party politics and somewhat of an independent thinker – which makes them rather dangerous on many levels, not the least in that some observers would say they are nuts…just like dear Dumbledore.

So welcome to the mugwump blog of the independent, slightly offbeat, thinkers 🙂 This blog will serve as a place where a mugwump with attitude will throw some stuff on the table; reflections on history, spirituality, political bollocks, human rights, things that grow in my garden, animals, the merit of red wine even when you have developed an allergy that could kill you, the wonder of myth and ‘thin places’, and how annoying some people can be.

Look forward to our discussions – as mugwumps we will attempt to not kill each other in that process, but practice the art of listening closely and engaging keyboard response with respect.