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Column: And they’re off and running

Posted: April 9, 2018 3:46 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Actually, they have been for some time, now.

But the filing period is over, the ballots are official and the candidates who will appear on the ballots are set.

I would first say thank you, congratulations -- and you have my deepest sympathy, all in the same breath.

Thank you for stepping up and offering for public office. No matter what you’re running for, it’s going to be largely a thankless task.

Congratulations for taking that gumption to the next step. Your name is out there; you are officially in the race (in most cases); and win or lose, no one can take that away from you.

My deepest sympathies for the aggravatation you will no doubt experience, both on the campaign trail and for the next 2-4 years, should you win.

As I said, it’s a thankless task.

Now, as for the rest of the citizenry, I leave a few thoughts.

One, ideally, everyone should vote. Note that I put in a caveat in the form of the word “ideally.” For one, only citizens fully vested with the rights of citizens should vote. People who do not legally have the franchise -- felons, illegal immigrants and permanent residents of cemeteries immediately come to mind -- should not vote.

Just as important, uninformed, uninterested sheep need not apply, either. If you don’t know who you are voting for, or why, or if you are waddling along bleating  whatever mindless “four legs good, two legs bad,” mantra someone else told you to bleat, then I would prefer you stay home and eat, or smoke, grass as well.

I forgot who coined the term “political vandalism,” but I do like the phrase and I do recognize it when I see it.  It basically is the act of voting your anger, rather than your conscience.

I’ve dabbled in it myself, when I’m so disgusted with what I find on the ballot that I find myself compelled to write in Snoopy,  Frank Zappa, or Alfred E. Newman.

My mindset, of course, is that I do not have the right to credibly complain about the state of affairs if I don’t bother to go to the polls and cast my ballot.

But is my vote of no confidence good enough for even that? How can I, in good conscience, make any statement as to the state of affairs when I essentially cloaked my activism in a nice, thick coat of unvarnished cynicism.

Or to put it another way, does it really do any good to replace a crook with a moron?

Shouldn’t I instead try to find that candidate that either doesn’t completely offend me, get that person elected, then do all I can to lean on that person to do the right things once they are elected?

I don’t know what the answer is. What I do know is that I have zero faith in the competence -- and even less faith in the integrity -- of folks who chant mantras and spout off slogans and sound bite solutions.

For example, no one loathes the tax man more than yours truly. On Planet Tatum, you can at least cherry pick what you’re paying for, but that j

ust doesn’t happen on Planet Earth -- at the moment, I can’t even cherry pick  the television channels I want to pay for, much less where portions of my extorted hard earned paycheck, uh, I mean my tax dollars, go.Nonetheless, I still want to know how one plans to pay for certain essential services without taxes. What are we going to do, hold a bake sale?

As always, I will be looking forward to hearing some proposals that are actually based in some semblance of reality.

One can only hope, anyway.

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