PARTLY WHINEY WITH A STRONG CHANCE OF UNJUSTIFIED SELF-IMPORTANCE
Finley Peter Dunne coined the phrase “Politics Ain’t Bean Bag” around the turn of the last century, pointing out the obvious: Politics isn’t a children’s game. Frankly, I have no idea what “bean bag” consists of, though I did have a Toss Across when I was a kid, and have to assume it was similar.
I’m thinking that the bean bag reference is lost on the up and coming generation of current politicians, who seem to all actually believe what their parents have been telling them for as long as they can remember. But here’s a horrifying news flash to you if you are considering running for office. You are not as smart, sophisticated, good looking, or charming as you think you are. The voters are not your parents, and are not here to excuse all of your personal insecurities and shortcomings. In fact, they will pick at them and magnify them. You better be prepared, have thick skin, and be ready to defend any thought, action, or statement you have ever made if you are going to step into this arena.
To update Mr. Dunne’s quote for contemporary comprehension, I offer you the following:
Despite the obvious similarities among the contestants, Politics ain’t the Special Olympics. There are not people waiting around to give you a hug just because you reached the finish line.
Now sure, that was a bit harsh. Yet 100% honest and on the mark. Why do I bring this up? I give you three recent examples from right here at Peach Pundit.
1) Michael Rothenberg’s supporters claimed that pointing out a different (though the most direct and logical) interpretation of judicial qualifications other than the one that suited his interest was somehow a personal attack on him. I honestly got the feeling from reading the replies of his surrogates that they really thought he should get an extra gold star and put at the head of today’s lunch line for his brilliant and unique interpretation of how five and one half equals seven.
2) Keith Gross appears utterly shocked that people have checked out the outrageous claims he has made on his bio. He now doesn’t even want to release his address because someone might knock on his door? He drives a Porsche, he has 6% body fat, how dare we question his claims of success?
3) The Coup de Gras, however, comes from my own party. The admitted fringe of my party, but Republicans nonetheless. How many posts, and how many days, did we endure the absolute whining that came out of the State Republican Convention? And Why? Because the supporters of Ron Paul were upset that they weren’t allowed to attend a convention for free, then weren’t given unlimited time to preach to those who had paid, and though they had significantly less than 50% of the folks in attendance, weren’t allowed to dictate the agenda, delegate selection, or any other matters they felt strongly about.
Politics is rough. Elections have consequences. And those who have power, regardless at what level or type of organization, aren’t going to roll out a red carpet when you come to take it away from them.
Regarding the state political convention, I can tell you, it wasn’t pretty, and the party establishment wasn’t kind, when the Pat Robertson/Ralph Reed So-Cons rolled into town in the early 90s and took control of the state party. They didn’t sit around and whine about how the old guard wasn’t nice to them, and didn’t let them make fancy yet patronizing speeches about how wrong the establishment was doing things.
They merely did one thing right. They assembled a majority of delegates, and rolled in and took over. Did the establishment types fight it? Oh yes. Was it pretty? Heck no.
But at the end of the day, one thing mattered. The vote count.
So, my point is this. Don’t show up at a county meeting, state convention, or god forbid an election ballot, and expect everyone around you to be like your grandmother. You will not be validated just for showing up with your hair properly combed. If you are fighting the group in power, either as an opposing party candidate or from within, your presence will not be welcomed with open arms for a finish line hug.
If you want to make a change, you better come well prepared and ready to fight for it. And at the end of the day, you better be prepared to have the most votes. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the experience.