There is this concept in America that we always run the best and brightest for political office. Wait a minute – maybe it’s just ME who thinks that. And even I am having serious doubts, what with recent experience and growing up and all.
At any rate, one of my greatest frustrations with our local political system is the absolute, inviolable unreachability of Cathy McMorris-Rodgers. I have written her dozens of times – well-thought-out, neatly argued and polite missives, too. And perhaps months later, I’ll receive a form letter from one of her office lackeys thanking me for my interest in some topic completely unrelated to what I actually wrote her about. Kind of a diss, if you ask me.
So – I decided to RUN FOR OFFICE as Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’s opponent! If she was standing across the stage from my face, she’d HAVE to respond to my inquiries, right? And the look on her face would be priceless! She’d have no escape and no minions to cover her hiney! And, in case you didn’t know this, Cathy is not bright. I tried plowing through a thing she wrote for some star-struck right-wing website settled somewhere in the 3rd or 4th tier, and she made no sense at all. Even if she wasn’t an awful writer, she had no idea what she was talking about. This is probably why they stick her around in high-profile positions on TV, except she NEVER says anything, because if she opened her mouth, it would be Keanu Reeves all over again. Keanu is terrific and soulful to look upon, but the minute he starts talking, the illusion is dashed, and your happy dream of actually having a conversation with the guy goes swirling down the drain. So must it be with Cathy, and even the Republican publicity dogs know it. So, shut up, Cathy.
But I digress. After I decided to run for the House against Cathy, I had to go to a meeting. There were three people at this meeting: let’s call them Ed, Mike, and Eloise. They talked me out of running against Cathy right away because I am not the type, I guess. Plus, you need millions of dollars, and it helps if you have run for about 5 other things already because then you have name recognition.
But here’s the thing. Even if they got me to run in the 4th district against that non-entity Krause or Crawley or whatever his name is, I WOULD STILL NEED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS! Well, not millions, but hundreds of thousands! In fact, the first thing I would have to do would be to call all my friends, family, and acquaintances, and ask them for money! Then I would have to dedicate my life to running for the office, spend morning, noon and night walking from door to door and accosting people, with maybe one afternoon off per week to do laundry and maybe catch a nap. Also, Mike cautioned, there must be no untoward behavior from the candidate: no yelling out the car window at stupid drivers or confronting your neighbors when their dog poops on your lawn for the umpteenth time. No, you must be a model of decorum! Then you must beat the bushes for yet more money, all the while dressing properly and applying some kind of TV makeup so you send the correct message to any stray voter who might catch you wheeling your trash to the curb on Wednesday night.
Then there was the talking part. As a politician running for office, you talk a lot. And Mike, Ed, and Eloise all pointed out the fact that whenever people talk, they at least occasionally say really stupid things. It’s true! I have experienced it myself, first-person! So the trick is, never talk about what you REALLY want to talk about, like about how Cathy McMorris Rodgers is as dumb as a turnip. You have to talk about your PLATFORM, and whenever anyone tries to get you off-topic, you have to circle back around like a beagle on a rabbit trail and start talking about your platform again. Like, when someone says, “So, how about that Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and her latest idiotic non-observation?” Of COURSE one would want to LEAP on the topic and SHAKE it!! But no. One must heave a stentorian sigh and say, “Yes, yes, but what about the aquifer? Perhaps we should be more concerned about waste oil entering the water supply and blah blah blah.” See? Get back to your personal talking points ASAP. If you don’t, whatever party is partly funding your run for office is gonna pull their bucks quicker than you can say “Methuselah”.
Of course, there would also be the insurmountable obstacle of coming from a completely Republican district and running as a Dem, although Ed pointed out there had been some redistricting changes, so it was conceivable – perhaps not likely, but conceivable – that someone who doesn’t hate Obama with the power of a thousand white-hot suns might actually get elected in the 4th district. Let’s say Ed wasn’t a fountain gushing positive thoughts, but at least the possibility was there, lying like a sleeping Labrador retriever in the driveway, just before .. well, you know. The irony is, I am not even a Democrat, so I’d be telling a big fat lie about myself right out of the chute. And then I would call you and ask for some more money.
Okay, in brief: Beat people up for money every waking moment from March through November. Be completely not oneself (let me tell you, decorous behavior and proper appearance at all times are not my strong suits). Sacrifice one’s family and family life to this Baal-like construct called American politics, where every word uttered can be spun and every little thing done is grist for somebody’s mill. Don’t ever talk about what is important to you or to anybody else – talk only about what is going to get you elected. And ALWAYS be prepared to ask for more money. Money, money, money, that’s what makes it POLITICS!
This may surprise you, but I declined to run. And all over America, there are hundreds of thousands of people who got just as fed up as me with politics-as-usual, thought about running for a political office to remedy some issues, and then decided it just wasn’t worth it. So actually, it’s the best and brightest citizens of our nation who THINK about running, and then decide not to, not for all the tea in China. It is only people with a preternaturally high tolerance for BS that actually run for political office. OR – and this is scary for any patriotic American – the only people to run for political office are those to whom that tiny crumb of power is worth all the dehumanizing hassle involved . And that attitude has already prepared them to become tools for slightly greater powers, and so on up the line, right to our national corporate masters and House/Senate meat puppets.
As a famous denizen of Oz once put it, “Oh, what a world, what a world!” Indeed. What a world.