You can tell a lot about a person just by talking with them. Judge Judy says quite often, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason!” Sometimes the quietest ones are the funniest. The seemingly taciturn ones are sharply witted and kind. Just striking up a conversation with a smile and a sincere desire to hear about someone else had led to some fascinating friendships. Like the subdued veterinarian who regaled me with his tale of chiropractic work on a giraffe. Or new neighbors I bonded with over their little dogs, John Wayne and I don’t know the other’s name because the first dog’s name is John Wayne.
Or the many politicians I met this campaign season alongside my husband.
I have to stop right here and give every single politician a pat on the back. And their husbands/wives/families. Just putting yourself out there, having to sum up all of your values, strengths, goals in some shiny package and sell it in some sort of way to a reticent crowd that has seen and heard it all before. Sometimes candidates/parties don’t fight fair, sometimes they will attack you or your family or make up things to hurt you. That silly caste system that most people outgrew in high school is still alive and well in the world of politics. And the rubber/glue childhood mantra sometimes doesn’t take the sting out of hurtful words any more when you’re a grown up, I’m sorry to say.
That being said, I heartily enjoyed meeting some of these candidates and getting their schpiels. One actually recited, “I am a candidate for the people.” I waited to hear the rest, the real reason he was running for the office and he just stood there, beaming, like he had unlocked the divine secrets of the universe with those seven words. Another woman had to look down at the points on the card she was trying to hand me, to read them off. I took the card and challenged, “No peeking!” Totally threw her off her game.
Being one of the least political people on the planet, I have to give a special shout out to my husband who is honest, genuine, and ferociously fights for what is right even when that is not always easy, for a hard-fought and classy campaign against impossible odds.
Because really, when your town is composed of mostly one political party so much so that even members of your party list themselves as the opposing party in order to vote in the primary elections and a direct quote from one of said party is, “I’m sorry, boy, but if Jesus Christ was running on the (opposing political party) ticket, I couldn’t vote for him.”
That kind of blind, stubborn ignorance is what people on the track to absolute power count on to thrive.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I remember that quote clearly from high school. It crystallized in my mind again and again upon reading the horrors of World Wars I and II. Greek Mythology. The Gulf War. The terrorism that has plagued our own country recently. Even reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Each of these instances resulted in absolute power corrupting/destroying families, cities, whole civilizations, until people took the time to listen to someone brave enough to stand up and change things.
“All that is necessary for evil to remain is for good to do nothing.”
Another very true quote. One that Mr. I Wouldn’t Vote for Jesus Unless He Changed His Political Party probably wouldn’t understand, but those hungry for power both cultivate and prosper on.
I couldn’t be more proud of my husband for standing up and running his campaign his way. Never compromising his morals, values, or losing sight of his goal of winning fairly. We got out in our community and met so many wonderful people and he reached out with many truths about inconsistencies in the office he sought and how he would rectify them. He was brave enough to put himself out there, to give a real option for positive change in the community instead of more of the same. The race horse name he picked to summarize his campaign (excellent newspaper question) was “Verifiable Integrity.”
And that it was.
Politics is a complicated and many faceted thing that affects us all but few really understand. In my opinion, it would be vastly improved if one were to remove from it the actual politicians.
But things have a way of working out. The only people that lost last night were the determinedly oblivious voters who are going to get exactly what they deserve and will probably never know any better. Like I said earlier, you can tell a lot from a person by talking to them. If more people listened, really listened, instead of made blanket ironclad decisions based on a checked box on a piece of paper, well, maybe corruption would be a thing only faintly recalled in history.