There. I said it. And although I doubt there willbe a path beaten to my door, it’s true.
I had an ephiphany this AM. I was discussing current events at the playground after a soccer game. You can imagine it…a clustering of soccer mom’s and NASCAR dad’s, surrounded by children trying to do Flying Wallenda moves off the top of the sliding board, oblivious to the possibility of harm. I apparently made an observation that impressed one of the fathers, because he said, “have you ever thought about running for office?”.
NASCAS Dad-Why don’t you?
Bwana-Because I couldn’t win
The conversation then spriraled off into assurances that I would be a great candidate, that I should run for something, why can’t we get better folks to run for office, etc.
But the truth is, you see, that no matter how dynamic I might be perceived as, or how skilled a speaker I might be, I could never win. Why? Because I could never get a nomination. I am not a litmus test kind of guy. I would fail the test in either party…and as a result I and those like me could never get on the ballot.
For example, the Democrats wouldn’t take me for various resons, not the least because I believe in second amendment rights, because I am personally pro-life, and because I see no harm in prayer in schools.
The Republicans wouldn’t have me because while I am pro-life, I think reproductive matters are a matter of conscience between the individual and the Almighty and that government should not get involved; while I am pro gun rights I really don’t see the benefit of allowing private citizens to own automatic weapons; and I think that sex education and providing instruction in prophylaxis in public schools probably would solve more problems than it creates.
So there you are…I have beliefs that put me beyond the pale of the small coterie that runs the GOP and the Democrats.
Yes, this puts me outside the pale of party regularity…however, it also puts me solidly in the middle of the folks who win elections in this country. You see, I like solutions that promote practical results and limit government intrusion as opposed to lock step devotion to an ideological laundry list.
I don’t think I am alone.
We in this large group are not in agreement on all the issues. However, we have one thing in common…we also are not in 100% agreement with the litmus test ideologies of both parties.
We want commonsense solutions that keep federal powers limited. Failing that, because we know there are some problems that are so big the feds need to be the driving force, let the federal power be used effectively and not excessively or willy nilly.
We dream of a society that will recognize and enrich those who risk and excel, yet shows concern and support for the least among us. We may even agree with Hubert Humphrey, who said “The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.”
We are smart enough to know when grander folks are spraying on our shoes and calling it a rainstorm; we see through the negative advertising and the hypocrisy so rampant in todays political campaigns.
So to any candidate that hears this cry in the dark-don’t take us for granted. Take us seriously.
Remember that although we don’t have the time to devour the 20 page position papers you post online that doesn’t mean we don’t care about the issues.
Believe me when I say you are going to get a lot farther by talking to us adult to adult about issues than slinging mud.
Embrace the radical thought that if you can show us how your positions will improve our communities, we will be for you.
Explore the equally radical idea that your party might be stronger if it allowed folks to participate as equal members even if they don’t agree with your issues litmus test.
Ponder the idea that voters will respond more strongly to candidates that bring us together than those who seek to divide us.
Keep in mind that we don’t just look at issues, but we look at the individual-for all their foibles and imperfections-and think “is this the kind of person we want representing us?”
We, the people who win elections, are out here waiting for you. Really, we are…waiting. Who’s going to come looking for us?