I don’t get this stuff about sportsmanship. You play to win, don’t you? Say I’m playing short and Mother is on first and the batter singles to right. Mother comes fast around second with the winning run — Mother will have to go down. I’ll help her up, dust her off and say, ‘Mom, I’m sorry, but it was an accident’ but she won’t of scored. Nobody asks how you happened to lose. All they want to know is did you win. If I’m spitting at a crack in the wall for nickels I still want to win. Anybody can come in second. Nice guys finish last.”
– Utility infielder Leo Durocher, quoted in Nonconformity by Nelson Algren
Early voting in Arkansas ends in a few hours. But the big day still awaits, so enthusiastic endorsements are not a bit too late. Print this and bring it to the polls Tuesday.
If you’ve already voted, you need not read further: Don’t tax yourself.
“Tax yourself,” stated in the positive or the negative, need not be taken as a political endorsement.
Now that I’m free from the yoke of full-time employment, I’m concurrently free from the yoke of neutrality. I can endorse politicians for elective office.
First: Grassroots organizations rarely are. Follow the money, and if that’s not as obvious as, perhaps, the About page of their websites, assume their backers are professionals and therefore sneaky. Such groups, though, sometimes are good for the cause, region or country.
Second: They’re all politicians, especially those who campaign that they’re not. And to what point? Do you want leaders closer to the quaintness of self-taught artists or the confidence of college-educated physicians?
Third: Candidates whom supporters call nice, as a top attribute, need only be a hair nicer than their opponents. Is “nice” a sufficient qualification for someone to doggedly defend your interests?
After those appetizers, I’m itching to tell everyone how to vote, and how I’ve come to these brilliant conclusions. Those who don’t know me well may be surprised — I’ve got picks from both major parties. Also, I’ll be voting Green in one spot.
However. As I was drafting brilliant sentences over the past week, especially about two races, a nested question squirted out: Why would I tell the world how I think on the various elections / what impact up or down from such a public account happens to me personally / what impact on the ballots would my conclusion have?
My giving personal political opinions won’t help or hurt me at this point. Friends and family will still care for me as much as they ever do. The hirers of current and former journalists (whatever I am) see what Google already spews of and about me. Most of my stuff of recent years has been contained in my strike-anywhere Brick. The free-range blog helps in some instances and works against my interests in others. I wouldn’t take a word of Brick back, even those morsels that I don’t feel as strongly about anymore, or at best find incautious. Maybe I’ve changed my mind with some; doubt it. That I like some candidates over others matters less than my milking humor (or mere ruminations) from other sacred cows. So why endorse?
My powers of persuasion are minimal, as are those of most essaysts. Let’s face it, online dandies, we entertain. At best we provoke.
The larger voices have little impact, too. For all of the publicity in the last two weeks of prominent newspapers making their presidential endorsements, these are long known to have little impact. Here is a list of such pronouncements. Check them against the winner Wednesday.
Some free time in these last few weeks, however has been spent reading the impassioned opinions of other columnists. Actually, I skim them. The ones that I read through are the thoughtful analyses, like John Avlon’s, even-handed yet strong.
For me to have made a thorough review of the contested circuit judge seat or the guys running for mayor, satisfying my requirements as my own exacting editor, would’ve required resources and drive, plus the optimism that what I think matters.
For me, election endorsements come to mere ego. Don’t get me wrong: I love ego or pride or vanity — it and the other six deadly sins get your virtuous butt out of bed every morning.
As for my three points at the top, for heavens sake, they come down to: Vote as if you’re hiring someone. Can they do the job or not? That includes a president and the staff they’ll likely bring — it has little to do with if you favor their pronouncements.
Still, I itch to say something personal. Anyone who wants to know how I’m voting, call me for a coffee.
The wisest words may come from this 10-minute video from the raja of sagacity, Robert Benchley: