When I was about 10 years old my Dad made an exciting announcement.
“I’m going to run for Congress.”
Then he threw down the newspaper in disgust and said: “I’d be a helluva lot better than the f###in’ clowns running things now.”
Since this happened whenever some politician engaged in buffoonery, it became a frequent diatribe. My mom and siblings ignored him.
Not me. I fell for it every time. My mind raced with fanciful delusions of being the son of political noblesse. The Kennedys of Oklahoma. Friends would grovel for my patronage. And there would be limo rides. I was all about the limo rides.
“Can I ride with you in the limo?” Erin McCaffrey, the cutest girl in third grade, would ask.
“Let me check with Secret Service first,” I would offhandedly reply.
So I can only guess that I was channeling my Dad when I announced my own candidacy for public office the other day.
My wife barely looked up from potterybarn.com.
“That’s nice. Did you ever look at these sconces?” she asked.
“I don’t have time for sconces. I have to put my campaign together. Didn’t you hear me? I’m running for Congress.”
“I heard you. Who all is running?”
“A bunch of dumb asses.”
“Besides you though.”
About that time, my youngest daughter walked in the room.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“I’m running for Congress.”
“I’m fed up.”
“Uh oh. Angry white man alert.”
“Independent. I don’t like either major party- it’s awful the way they demonize one another.”
“Kind of like you do with Baylor football fans?” she asked.
I thought for a moment and realized my opportunity for a civics lesson.
“Sweetheart I was wrong to isolate Baylor fans for ridicule,” I said. “Texas Tech fans are just as bad.”
“Good luck with that. But I’m not posing for any goofy family photos. And please don’t tell any of my friends.”
At work the next day I announced my candidacy to my legal assistant. Since she’s on the payroll I expected a hearty endorsement.
“I need help putting together my platform. What are some things that I stand for?” I asked.
“Let’s see.” She thought a moment. “You’re cheap.”
“I think the term you’re looking for is ‘fiscal conservative.’”
“Except when you’re not. Like when you want to be the first to own something or it involves college football.”
“Economic stimulus” I replied.
“Do I have to get involved?” she wondered.
“Of course you have to get involved. I need you to get me registered, open an account, plan a kick-off rally, raise money, file campaign reports, write my platform, spin my message, do opposition research on my opponents and paper over my past. I’ll do the rest.”
“Let’s start with that last one first. Do you think the Fort Worth Police Department has figured out that you are the person who is going around and giving the finger to all of the road construction crews?” she asked.
“In the scheme of things, that’s really pretty minor” I said. “However, there are probably a couple of stray photos and videos that could be, um, problematic.”
“Maybe I should find out where you stand on the issues before I commit” she said.
“That’s fair. Hit me.”
“Too complicated. Next.”
“Okay. Let’s talk about the hot button issues. Gay marriage?”
“No problem with it.”
“Generally against it except certain circumstances. Just yesterday I saw a dipshit in an Affliction T-shirt take up 2 parking spaces with his Hummer. So it’s tough to argue it wouldn’t be appropriate in that instance.”
She rolled her eyes.
“You’re not even serious. The only thing I can help you with is your slogan. How about ‘Putting the Rant in Ignorant’?”
And she was right. I don’t really care about politics. Once in awhile I’ll seize on something that aggravates me. But it usually passes pretty quickly for two reasons. First, I can usually see all sides. I’m not a black and white guy. This is a vast country with a divergence of opinions on every conceivable issue. This doesn’t frustrate me or make me angry. In fact, it’s really kind of refreshing. Second, I don’t care to spend my time arguing or pursuing some unyielding, uncompromising agenda. And allegiance to a political party would require just that.
So I’m out with just a minor regret. I’ll miss the limo rides.