Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Political Season

It is, to me, a lot like a grade school contest where we were divided into two sides. Really the game itself mattered very little. It might have been dodge ball or baseball or tag or hide and seek or some other thing. In fact, I am pretty certain I recall a few times when the game was announced or changed after the sides were chosen.

Usually two leaders were chosen initially, one for each side, and the choosing was by the teacher or sometimes by the class. Wouldn't have mattered much whether by teacher or democratic vote though because even at that age most everyone knew who was a leader, or supposed to be a leader at least.

I think I was always the smart kid and smart kids were never chosen for leaders unless it was for some kind of academic contest. But we didn't have academic contests I suppose because we were supposed to be having fun and fun meant a break from learning. I was also one of the small kids and they usually were chosen towards the end. Does that mean, I wonder, if small, smart folks are worth less than large, dumb people? I do believe there was a song by Randy Newman a while back. But wait. I forgot there were also factors of beauty and social standing. I had none of the latter and very little of the former.

I did, however, have a few things going for me. I was thin, wiry, strong, and fast. So I was chosen before the fatter, slower kids. And I ranked above the kids who were even smaller, the ones who had to have boxes for their feet.

But the political season reminds me of those times. We divide first and then we promote our side.

Another thing I remember from grade school was a trip once to our state capitol and visiting our legislature and the Governor's office. I remember being shocked at learning the trip had been arranged by one of my classmate's fathers who was a "politician." Shocked because I had actually only heard that term used pejoratively.

The man actually spoke to us and was not the ogre that I had been conditioned to believe. Over the years I've come to know a number of politicians and quite a few more bureaucrats. Bureaucrat is an even more pejorative than is politician. Strangely enough the ones I've known are pretty decent, normal people who try to do their best with what they have to work with.

I've known a few scalawags, too. But I think in no higher percentage than I found scalawags in other lines of endeavor.

So I do not believe that the candidates are liars, or corrupt, or only in it for their own self-enrichment and all the other things one hears about someone. I don't know any of them. Even if I did it would not guarantee my opinion would be any more accurate. I don't believe they are just like me though because, honestly, to want to be President (or any other public official) and actually run for the office, puts you in a "kind" that is substantially different than mine.

I've developed a philosophy over the years about the President. For one thing I've come to understand that the American President is definitely not the King. There's a bunch of other people with whom he (or perhaps she) has to contend. Then there's the problem of the events of the time which are mostly unknowable and all future in any event. So right now it looks like one problem is going to be the biggest issue but there very well may be some unknown event on the horizon that will change everything. I've noticed that somehow we Americans elect someone who seems to rise to the occasion more often than not regardless what the occasion might be.

Judging the past is tricky like that. I remember as a very young child hearing all sorts of terrible things about Harry Truman who was the President when I was born. He wasn't supposed to win that election but he did. He had a lot of big problems and at the time people didn't think he did very well. Now he's often presented as a great example of what a president should be. People talk about the perspective of time and I've come to believe it is actually true.

Well, my vote here in my little town in my little state really is not going to make much difference in the big scheme of things.

I vote in a church now. It's been the same place for about the last 7 or so years. The place before that was an office building but we became too numerous for it so some of us got to move. The church is better and there's no line ever. I don't know where I'll vote after I move to our new house.

We have those ballots where they give you the little pen and you have to complete an arrow for each item. Then you take your ballot and feed into a machine. And someone gives you an "I voted" sticker to wear. It's pretty simple but seems to work pretty well. I always think it is amazing really that we pull this off with volunteers and things go as well as they do.

The local news media is just beside themselves though and promoting their coverage of the super Tuesday election and our part in it. And the national news will be all over it of course. And I'll watch some of it.

But I'll vote.


nancy said...

interesting analogies you make between politics and playground games. i find the initial news reporting interesting but soon become bored as they repeat themselves over and over and strive to be the "first" to report something.

btw, wisconsin connects the same arrow like you do or at least i did at the last election. we have another 2 weeks before our primary.

dave said...

Harry Truman's career has been an inspiration to a lot of politicians who should have known better. I was a child when Harry was president, and in my republican home, it was not thought of highly.
But I always admired the guy. Still do.
Life will go on, no matter how it goes.

~Betsy said...

Our primary isn't until May, so I get to sit back and watch the mudslinging and name-calling longer than you. I, like Nancy, start off interested and then bore of the repetitive stuff.

As of this writing, Clinton and Obama are still waiting to hear the outcome. I don't think it will matter much because when it's all over, I think the winner will ask the other to be their running mate. That's my opinion I guess.

I love the analogy between playground activities and elections - so true.

steflovesnonna said...

I like your post. I am really glad you have that last line thought. "But I'll vote." I think thats what it has become for so many people in America. I am only 20. I dont remember any other president other then Bush and Clinton. So to me I am pretty excited about the idea of one of our candidates. I feel pretty good about my vote. I hope it will make a bit of a difference in the end.

I will keep you in my thoughts friend. Even when I cant manage the time to come over to your blog to visit. It makes me sad, but we will do what we can. *hugs*

SKYGIRL said...

I am so glad you voted, anyway, Terry. But your littl ol' vote, in your little corner of the World, does count! If Millions of Americans felt the same way (and they do) our way of living, would simply collapse.

I wonder if voting in a Church, will help people make better choices? LOL!

Hey, remember the guy that invented the Hulla-Hoop?(My Dad became obsessed with this idea, by the way?) He became a gazillionaire, because ao many people 'liked' them, and I think they were only $1.00 a piece?

That would be some good research for me! HA!