Monday, November 1, 2010

What a politician is not

This is a follow-up of the column about good politicians. This story  is about a candidate who is a long way from being a politician.

He came into town in a pick-up truck. Late model and huge. Had those double tires on the back.  The candidate's name was on the door.  Never seen him before in person and haven't seen him since.  I knew it was him, though, because I had seen his picture.

He walked across the street into a store. No smile. No frown. Just poker face. Didn't say anything, and he was taken by surprise when one of the bystanders smiled and asked in fun , "You wanna buy some fish bait?"

The proprietor of the store was busy with the bait wholesaler.  The candidate said, "I'm looking for the newspaper office and proceeded to read an address from a piece of paper."  The bystander pointed his finger down the street and said, "The newspaper's down at the corner."  

Saying nothing else, the candidate walked away, quiet as a mouse.  He didn't shake hands.  He didn't offer a card.  He didn't say, "I'm so-and-so, and I'm running for such-and-such.

Walking with him down the street was another fellow, business-like clothing and demeanor, traveling in separate vehicle.  They didn't speak to anybody on the street and didn't bother to stick the heads in at other businesses.  

Two or three minutes later, they were on their ways, have had visited our hometown without really greeting anybody or leaving any impression they had been there.

Now, this guy is running for a district office, and our hometown is a part of that district, yet he does not seem to care to get acquainted with the local people.

His name is on signs, five at a time in some places.  I know he has been guest speaker at club meetings in larger towns nearby, so, apparently he can talk.

I've never seen a candidate like him before.  Even in local races, with normally quiet people running, they go out of their way to speak, hand out cards, and say, "I hope you will support me."  

I'm used to candidates who give away pencils, tell the funniest joke on somebody at a public meeting while consoling persons in private, going out of the way to find an obituary or marriage license and giving them a copy, sending a small present to every graduating student, calling as soon as they learn that somebody is sick and in the hospital, and attending every funeral.

I'm sorry.  I'm just not going to vote for any candidate who doesn't begin to understand the fundamentals of good politics.  If he can't go out of his way to even speak to everybody, he is in the wrong business.  May the Lord help us if he's ever elected to any office.

William A. Ricks 
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