I’ve been seeing plenty of signs we’re getting near Election Day. Some of those signs are red; some are blue. Most tout candidates for seats in the federal government. It’s an off-year for state and county, so there aren’t many yellow and black signs. Some signs are placed in places that maybe say more about the candidate than the candidate probably meant to say. Sometimes when I’m not sure, I’ll vote against somebody just because I saw their sign in a certain so-and-so’s front yard. I know so-and-so. So-and-so isn’t right about anything. Why should I trust his political instincts?
I also often vote contrary to the recommendations of the most recent person who gives me a race by race list of how to vote. That almost always backfires on the recommender. Anybody who would do that can’t be right either. Right?
Politics around here have always been a little off. In the Revolutionary War, even though there were patriots among us, we mostly backed the losing side. Abraham Lincoln got zero votes in Queen Anne’s County. We rejected the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. We’ve raised prestigious governors and senators, but we’ve produced more than our share of civic-minded scoundrels, too.
People joke about politicians. You know, how they’re like diapers – both need regular changing and for the same reason. How George Washington was the only one to not blame his problems on his predecessor. How instead of giving them the keys to the city, we ought to change the locks.
But in the end, I know politicians are just regular people with all the positives and negatives of any other group. There aren’t any devils and there aren’t any angels among them, and if you spend your time demonizing or idolizing you’re wasting your time, my attention, and our democracy. In history, a handful of our elected representatives have been of humanity’s highest standards and about the same amount of them have been disastrous specimens. Most of them have been about like me and you. About average.
I believe most people, even politicians, are well-intentioned, even if it’s within their own narrow or blurred field of vision, and I for one am glad there are folks out there willing to put effort into making the world we live in work; willing to risk their relationships, their riches, their reputations. Willing to try. Even if their motives aren’t always big-hearted or strong-minded, well neither are mine. And I bet if you’re honest with yourself, yours aren’t either.
My wife Tammy Sam, our daughter Debra Winger Philpot, and I went to a couple parades this summer where we saw a lot of fire trucks and politicians. On a day to day basis most of us don’t think about either one of them much, but man, if you need one, having one you can count on even a little bit is a blessing.
Skeeter Philpot is interested in politics. He’s not interested in fighting with you about them.