Anyone but me on the ballot
If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve. - William Tecumseh Sherman
The only fear I have concerning elections is that I might surrender my good sense and run for political office, any office. Like Sherman, the only person I absolutely do not want to see in office is me, because I do not have the temperament nor patience. As luck would have it there is no groundswell whatsoever to put me in office. In fact, I am the last person either party would select since I am a neither-party independent.
From watching politicians serve in office for more than 40 years, it is not intelligence that makes a good politician; rather, it is the twofer of temperament and patience. Everything that I lack is what allows politicians to sit sphinx-like in meetings for hours on end. To me that is slow death. Anyone who can sit quietly with a placid expression for hours in a meeting is either a better person than me or they have brains of custard.
This week is the culmination of the primary season in New Mexico. I have no vote in either primary, which is just fine. I do not want to have any say in which R or D is selected for the general election.
If the political primary season is any predictor, this will be a mean-spirited general election. Usually members of the same party only bring out the long knives behind closed doors. Not this year, with the exception of the Balderas/Heinrich race. This Christmas there will be far fewer cards sent within political parties.
One of the curious things at election time is why some candidates throw their hat in the ring knowing that indiscretions from years earlier will arise if anyone does research. Also, some candidates make claims that are easily checked and then act surprised they were caught. Curious they do this in an age of instant research.
Of more concern: why someone would spend lots of dollars to win an office that paid no salary such as in the New Mexico Legislature. Civic honor perhaps, but I sense there is more to the syndrome than that. For some of the people running, perhaps their job rests upon them being a power-broker in the Legislature.
This very scenario is why some state employees are prohibited from concurrently being a legislator and having their job. Not all. The majority whip in the New Mexico House also is an administrator for the Albuquerque Public Schools. It seems incredible that this would be allowed since there are two harms: First, not even the Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent can say anything to this legislator for fear of retaliation in the Legislature. Secondly, this person votes money from the community pot to her own district. How fair is that?
Do not waste your time telling me it is legal. Being legal does not make it right. Likewise, there are other legislators who carry the agenda of their employers rather than the citizens. Yes, the citizens elected them, or the lack of other candidates elected them, but they cannot vote against their employers’ interests.
Occasionally I get into the discussion of term limits. I have always opposed them even though the legislators have stacked the deck such that more than 90 percent of the time the incumbent is reelected. I just cannot take the final say out of the hands of the voters.
The hottest topic is the money in elections. It would appear to be a slightly different issue: Exactly where does the money come from and what is expected of the recipient? There have been advertisers who sponsored me as a talk show host who suddenly realized that they bought time on my show and nothing more. I feel the same is true for some politicians, while with others it is easy to see them pandering to the money.
One blessing and one concern: Thankfully, I will not be elected to any position this election. And I am concerned when people, without taking a breath, move from this election to the next election such that it seems we have endless elections and no one actually serves.
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