Politics 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!