“…All men are created equal…” you either believe this or you don’t, your actions will tell.
First, let me say, I’m going to blame the kids. I’m not saying it’s their fault, just that I blame them. And I’m teasing, but it is connected. Four years ago before I ran for office the first time I found myself complaining about things that seemed very important at the time, but I was just moaning over cocktails. Someone who’s known me long enough to know how I raised my kids called me on it, threw a virtual mirror at me and said “What would your kids think?” Or “What have you always told your kids?” Or something of the kind. Anyway, they were right. You can’t raise your kids one way and then wimp out when it matters. I realized that in any elected position the candidates are drawn from the general population, not just professional politicians, or at least should be. I found the right office, asked for information, and the ladies behind the counter were extremely pleasant and more than willing to explain the process and the information in the packet they supplied to me free of charge (having been paid for by our tax dollars). That’s a good thing, by the way. One function of government is to be open and available to the people, all people. I went home, read it over, thought about it, and went to work and on with my life. Various issues came up over coffee later on that week. A lovely lady artist commented that I couldn’t run for anything, that I didn’t have any money and no one’s ever heard of me. Before I could open my mouth the folk singer behind me said “Oh, now you’ve done it! Don’t tell her she can’t do something, she’ll go and do it.” So there I was learning about running for office, figuring out how my party works (up till now I’ve just voted this way, now I really had to start attending meetings regularly) putting together a team, campaigning, press releases, working computers, all that jazz. I really came from behind very late in the game but I was still in the game and that’s what counts. I didn’t give up, and that should count for something. And about blaming the kids, if it weren’t for them and their friends I wouldn’t have some of the experience I’ve gained that made me opinionated enough to complain, find out how and then run and that friend wouldn’t have had the leverage to push, and I might not have cared about the future enough to try to make a change. My daughter Catherine was the first person to sign my petition. My son Sean signed as soon as he could. Even though I didn’t win I know my kids are proud that I tried. How often in life do you get an opportunity to find out that your kids believe in you? That alone made this worth the effort. Win or lose, I’ve already won.
When something is out in the open it can be observed and controlled. Once something goes underground it ends up largely invisible to most, more dangerous and becomes more difficult to control. We learned this with prohibition 80 years ago, why haven’t we learned this with prostitution and drugs or any other thing we try to control?
Well, I knew all along there were a lot of people out there who are turned off by attack ads, mudslinging and dirty campaigns. How do I know this? Because I’m one of the voters who has felt this way (and voted accordingly) for a long time. During the last election I saw a commercial showing regular people criticizing politicians bickering and name-calling, admonishing them to grow up and deal with the issues. It was followed by a political attack ad. I thought that was pretty funny. I don’t see attack ads as productive. They have been very successful in the past, but I think people are starting to realize that a good press agent can spin almost anything into something sordid.
Most Moms tell their kids at some point “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Voters are starting to realize that if a candidate has nothing good to say about themselves they’ll say something nasty about their opponent. So far this meant they usually won. We’ll see if enough voters have figured out what’s really behind this tactic and vote accordingly.
I got a call today. Another political poll. They didn’t ask if I was a candidate. They did ask if was a Democrat or Republican. I said Libertarian. Then they asked if I would be more likely to vote for the Democrat or the Republican candidate. I asked them “Isn’t there a Libertarian running?” They said “Why yes, there is!” And I informed them that’s who I would be likely to vote for. After that they included a third option in the rest of their questions, but I don’t think that would have been the case if I hadn’t pressed the point. If you decide to answer and would prefer a third option let them know you don’t want ‘apple’ or ‘orange’, you want a ‘banana’, ‘kumquat’ or some other fruit. Just don’t let them dictate your taste or manipulate the outcome of their poll with limited choices.
We cannot have real security unless we feel safe and secure within ourselves. If we continue to depend on someone else (government, religion, police, alarm systems…) to provide security we will continue to be subject to the sales pitch of fear, we will continue to believe that someone has to do this for us, to keep us safe. Until we grow up and take responsibility for ourselves, our actions, and our environment within our home, circle of friends, roads, etc… we will continue to be subject to and driven by the advertising of both the political and business aspects of our society. This is completely backwards. They should be dependent upon us, our dollars and our votes (and they know this). We should not be dependent upon ‘them’ for information through advertising regarding what we should buy, think, eat, wear, do, feel, believe, etc… Grow up. Demand more clarity, transparency and accountability from all aspects of government and the business community. We also have to hold ourselves to the same standards we expect. Respect and accountability flows both ways. We can’t get away with demanding honesty from anyone before we are willing to set ourselves as an example. No, the political system isn’t perfect. Neither are we. We’re only human, so we can all make honest mistakes, be mis-informed or change our minds, but we can also acknowledge this and get on with life and business. The world is constantly changing and we have to change with it, hopefully with the intent to make it better. If we refuse this challenge we have only ourselves to blame for the result in the media, religion, business, schools, government and all sectors of society.
Man of La Mancha was on TV this morning. I had it on in the background while doing housework, in spite of knowing it’s eventual effect (that I would stop cleaning and start watching). If a candidate does not hold to these ideals and is not moved to tears by this film then they do not deserve your vote. If you want to hear the song, copy and paste this:
Upon further consideration, I do believe there is truth in this rant from another part of the film. Cervantes’ rant on sanity and madness, too much sanity may be madness, to see life as it is and not as it should be. To watch that copy and paste this:
“I come in a world of iron to make a world of gold.” So many wonderful quotes. I’ve tried to find a way to comment or to put this in my own words, but there is no way to say it any better than it appears in the film.