The 100 percenters and the seethers
Now that Maryland’s primary election is over and the general election is only six-plus weeks away, I only have one question left for some candidates and single issues interest groups: Is there anyone left you can annoy – friends, family, poisonous reptiles?
I have come to an age in which I do not want to wish my life away. I am not quite to the age where I avoid buying green bananas, but I am at a point where I have redoubled my efforts to enjoy and appreciate each and every day I have left on this planet.
I suspended those thoughts for the last few of weeks and have prayed that September 14 would come and go quickly.
By the time you read this, Maryland’s primary election will be history. For many, yesterday could not have come soon enough.
For others who study the day-to-day comings and goings of political candidates and what passes as a general discourse on current issues, the weeks and months leading up to yesterday’s primary were one giant headache.
Every election cycle ebbs and flows to the degree with which various people with the IQ of a desk chair and the warmth of a water moccasin engage in certain passions.
Some elections are more civil than others, but so far this election season is best described as an evolutionary breakthrough in ugliness. The threshold of my amazement has been moved once again.
It may be time that we collectively consider bringing back the monarchy...
Those who survived yesterday’s vote will push forward through the political gauntlet toward the goal of victory in November. So far, by many accounts, it would appear that some candidates are running neck-and-neck to see who can be the most unpleasant.
I'm always amazed by people who, in the same utterance, plead for understanding and tolerance for their views and then demonize anyone who doesn't agree with them.
Sadly, making sure that some of you are defeated in the general election will not be an easy task and may require at least one wooden stake and several medieval curses.
In the central-Maryland region, we have a number of candidates and assorted seething special interests groups that wish to redouble their efforts to promote their causes.
In his May 13, 2006, column, Chuck Raasch, the political writer for Gannett News Service, recalled the former Republican senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson, to observe, “he never had patience for the ‘seethers’ and the ‘100 percenters’ in politics, or the ‘right-wing cuckoos’ who exploit social divides…”
“The partisans are deeper in their foxholes, the tone harsher… But the discourse is often uncompromising and unforgiving, and that's not good for the long-term health of anything…”
Mr. Raasch reminded us that “(w)ith a lucrative speaking career and no office to defend, Simpson's criticism may seem safely provocative. But in fairness to him and his party, Simpson became a GOP leader over a long Senate career despite supporting gay rights and abortion rights…”
Senator Simpson “described ‘100 percenters’ as anyone who believes that if you're not with them all the time, you're the enemy. ‘Show me a 100 percenter,’ Simpson said, ‘and I will show you a guy with gas, ulcers, heartburn, and B.O. They are seethers. They seethe.’ ”
Senator Simpson wisely observed, “Hatred corrodes the container that carries it.”
This election cycle has been depressing. However, remember, depression is merely anger without enthusiasm and, if some candidates and special interest groups keep it up, perhaps more and more voters will find their enthusiasm rekindled. The electorate is crying out for a jerk-zapper to use on squirming grubs.
A memo for challengers, incumbents and seething special interest groups, hopefully the election is not about your personal feelings; it is about what you bring to the table professionally.
In the end, most voters care about voting in candidates who have a vision and a positive plan for families, schools, jobs, and well-managed governance.
In the coming weeks, I pray that those running for office will remember that politics is supposed to create leaders, not serve as a personal temper tantrum.
Remember, on a political theory level, being unpleasant will work for sure if you’d like to win the primary and lose the general and be forever remembered as an unpleasant person.
Most voters know that you can’t get to a positive by utilizing the negative. It may work in the short term, but eventually people catch on that it was not simply situational that you are a negative and unpleasant person, that it is systemic – it is who you are.
As far as temperament, I would almost rather vote for a pleasant, accessible, well-intentioned person with integrity – with whom I disagreed about certain issues – than vote for someone with whom I agreed, yet was absolutely unpleasant about promoting their position.
Re-read Amanda Haddaway’s July 1 column in TheTentacle.com, “Does an ideal candidate exist?”
I’m voting for someone who is thoughtful, well versed in the issues, and has a positive plan for the future. I want people in office to whom I can take my problems (without getting an ideological preachy condescending lecture in return.)
It is back to basics time. You cannot get to heaven based upon the sins of others.
You do not deserve to be elected based on the perceived sins of your current opponent, or your personal dislikes of certain initiatives or individuals. You will be elected because the voters believe that you will do a better job.
Stay positive. Voters ultimately want to know what you are going to do. You can say more about what you are against by saying what you are for and are going to do. I have no interest in electing enraged individuals.
Ultimately everyone gets his or her karma. “Hatred corrodes the container that carries it.”