Politics as Usual – Not Today

blogIMG_0345Politics is not a topic of discussion I relish – too explosive for me.  

Usually those discussing politics have polar opposite points of view and the debate can become downright fiery.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely have political opinions, but I don’t enjoy sparring with someone over them.

Since I was given the right to vote at age 18 (more years ago than I care to tell),  I can honestly admit politics were not crucially important to me for many of those years. 

In my early adulthood,  I found politics absolutely mind-numbing.   I still remember desperately trying to keep myself from falling asleep every afternoon in my American Politics class in college.  To me that class was soooo excruciatingly boring, sheer torture.

Sometimes I voted, sometimes I didn’t.  The very first time I voted, it was a Presidential election.  I voted for Nixon.  He won.  Well, you can see where that got us. 

When I was a young mother, busy and exhausted most of the time from riding herd on my brood, I just didn’t have the energy to invest the time to read and keep current on candidate’s platforms, so often the voting polls closed without me darkening the booth. 

But I’ve been a pretty steady voter the last 15 years or so.  There are candidates I endorse heartily and there are candidates that I just cringe to even consider they may be voted into office.

However, you won’t find me in a heated political discussion.   It’s  my husband who gets a real charge out of that topic.  He is a bona fide patriotic veteran, having served his country in the military (thank you, dear!), and he has distinct ideas about how this country should be governed by those we elect to serve us. 

He becomes extraordinarily passionate by this subject of conversation.  Talk about rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air!   He could light up a firework display all by himself when he gets his political ire fired up.

For the most part, politicians don’t seem to possess very stellar reputations.  The late President Ronald Reagan once said, “Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession.  I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”   Wow, that’s calling ’em like you see ’em.

I’ve actually met a couple of politicians personally and I liked them well enough.  My husband once was granted the opportunity to meet President Reagan in person.  It was a very brief meeting, which involved shaking hands, exchanging a few words, and posing for a photo-op, but how many of us ever get to actually shake hands with a former President of the United States?  My hubby considered it a great privilege and the framed photograph of Reagan and him still graces a place of honor on my husband’s office wall.

Today I met another politician.  I am employed part-time with a non-profit organization and today an elected official from our state government came to tour our offices.   We spruced the place up a bit yesterday in anticipation of his arrival but found that he wasn’t that interested in how our office looked.   He was more interested in how he could help us.

Our non-profit has existed for over 25 years now, and yet we still are not well-known.  We’re on the verge of launching a new initiative and we need support to accomplish it.  This elected public servant devoted an hour of his time to us, furnishing names of influential people he thought would be willing to support us, and granting permission to use him as a reference to do so.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about why he was visiting us in the first place. “Was he just glad-handing and drumming up support for the next re-election?” I thought.  But you know what?  I don’t think he was.  He didn’t pontificate about himself or his “great plan” for this or that in his government capacity.

It didn’t seem like he was on a mission for re-election.   He certainly didn’t have to win over my vote; I’ve voted for him in the past and I will vote for him again.

What really impressed me was his “just a regular Joe” demeanor.  He’s just one of us.  He didn’t display superior attitude because he’s an elected official.  What you see is what you get with him.  If you met him at Wal-Mart, he’d still be who he always has been, a small town boy doing a big time job.

I know that he holds town hall type meetings with his constituents to truly listen to them.  He genuinely seems to want to serve us, to listen to what we think, to be involved in a “government of the people, by the people, for the people…” as Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address.  (I did pay attention in history classes!)

This regular Joe is a real person, and you know what I’m thinking?  A great guy like that – maybe he should someday run for the big house!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


2 responses

  1. Hi – I just read your blog (and a couple of older ones). I remember that you used to write for a newspaper – where was that? I suspect your love of writing was like a worm just under the surface of your skin, dying to crawl out. (How’s that for an analogy?) I am exactly like you (except that I’m a guy) in that I do not like to talk about politics. I think it’s mostly because I don’t like arguing, and there are SO many people who see seem to see political discussions as a way to express their inner bully. There is so much meanness (two n’s?) to it.

    Last fall, in the Oregonian, there was an opinion piece by a staff writer. It was about teachers and how much of their own money they spent for their classrooms. The writer asked teachers to write to her via the Oregonian’s on-line forum pages. So I did. I created a screen name, found her column, and was all ready to write when I happened to read the post above mine. I was shocked and flabbergasted! It was not by a teacher telling the author how much he/she spent in the classroom. It was by someone who wanted to blast teachers….and I mean blast. The person surrounded his/her opinion with meanness and hate and anger. Had swearing been aloud, I’m sure it would have been in there.

    So I read all of the replies to the staff writer. About half were from teachers telling what they’d spend in a typical year. The other half was mostly filled with posts comparing teachers – these are my words – with the lowest of the low. There was so much name calling….so much hate. It truly seemed like hate. A few teachers wrote in defense of themselves, and one, unfortunately, was as obnoxious as the haters.

    From then until late March or early April, I read those on-line forum pages. Issues that split us as Americans – spending, taxing, schools, religion, the wars, climate change – were filled with rants and tirades against the other side. Just guessing, but maybe 15-20% were respectful and included reason and support for their beliefs. The rest were just plain mean….MEAN!

    I’m sensitive to the accusations that teachers don’t work hard, are babysitters, are greedy, and are a host of other negative adjectives. When those accusations surfaced in the forums, I responded, politely. I would get one or two letters of support, one or two in disagreement, and lots and lots of posts calling me names, insulting my intelligence and even my morals and ethics. One posters described me with something like “you pitiful little man….I couldn’t “do” so I taught…..someone who knew I couldn’t cut it in the “real” world so chose a “safe” government job where I knew I could not be fired.” Ouch!

    I blame some of this on Rush and his fellow broadcasters on radio and television who pose as “balanced” information sharers. I’m talking about those on both the right and left, but it was Rush who I first heard call those with an opposing opinion a name. Now we have Olberman and O’Reilly and Maddow and Beck. Limbaugh and Randi Rhodes. Hannity and Ed Schultz. In my opinion, they’re not reporters at all. They’re “entertainers” and nothing more.

    Anyhow, I think the style these entertainers use has spread to the general public, and that makes me distance myself the minute I hear politics come up in social settings.

    I also read your blog from 2005, I think, about your cancer treatments. I didn’t know you had had cancer. I am SO happy that are now well and healthy and about five years cancer free. That is such very good news.

    After I left Sexton Mtn., I went to a new school north of Sunset Hwy (Hwy 26) called Findley. I taught there for five years and have now subbed there for six years. In the last two years, three teachers have been diagnosed with breast cancer. All three had surgery. Two had minimal treatment. The third, this last school year, had to have five months of chemo and then 35 straight days (not including weekends) of radiation. Between the chemo and the radiation, she had a hysterectomy. It was a very tough year for her, but now she is healthy and well and we – staff, kids, and parents, are all relieved. I felt very fortunate that she asked me to be her regular sub, including one stretch of two months straight. She was a fifth grade teacher and she had a wonderful group of kids…..picture lots of your girls in the class. That’s what it was like.

    It is so much fun being able to reconnect with former students on Facebook. I have always said that I wish I could get a two-paragraph letter once yearly from every student I ever had. I think over 150 students have found me on FB. That’s far from every student, but who cares. I call it a dream come true. My first students (from teaching in Ohio at the start of my career) are now in their mid-40’s. That’s pretty amazing, considering I’m only 39. 🙂

    Well, I liked your blog and thought I’d write one back. It also allowed me to reconnect with someone I’ve always had a great deal of respect for (I’m talking about you). You’re a great mom!

    I’m not going to proofread this. We’ll just call it a “rough draft” without a final copy!


    • Don, thanks for reading my blog. You’re quite the writer yourself, mister! And I overlooked any “typos” in your rough draft. (hee-hee) You are absolutely right though about the hatred spewing forth from people, and it’s on both sides of the fence. Thanks too for the compliment. I appreciate it. Keep in touch and keep reading. I’m hoping now that I have a little more free time on my hands, I’ll keep writing.


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