This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
November 3rd, 2008

And It's Called....

No doubt your television or radio have been running a ton of political commercials, and we had several of the recorded phone calls too. I'm pretty sick of the whole thing, and to be honest here in Washington state there no longer is a voting place. You can't go down to vote and get your little sticker with the American flag on it which said, "I Voted". In our highly technical region we vote by mail. Everyone gets an absentee ballot. I miss the little sticker, and I miss the nice older ladies and gents who ran the voting station. They even had cookies at our station. JC and I sent our ballots off a week ago. A bit of sadness 'tho, seems like another little piece of Americana is gone.

The mail-in ballot is perfect. I'll bet someone has thought of at least a dozen ways you can screw with that. After the disaster we had four years ago here in electing a governor, (they kept finding more boxes of uncounted ballots), it would take someone of extraordinary backbone to want to run for an important position in Washington state. That election was settled, sort of, by the courts. Really gives one a nice secure feeling.

But even if you know the game is rigged, it still takes something special to attempt to be in 'public service.' I can understand why someone would not want to run. The way ones past is dissected and accusations thrown around is enough to make an ordinary person cringe. Actually I did some cringing myself. I tried to imagine what it would be like to have that kind of inspection of ones life. I don't know about you, but I sure have some skeletons in my personal closet. I haven't run around with any known communists, but I couldn't pass a 'white glove' test. Who could?

I know there are perks from public service - some of the retirement packages really are neat, and there are those who seem to blossom in the limelight. And some actually do more than a good job for the folks back home. Years ago I had a problem with the IRS and was getting no where. Out of desperation I contacted our local representative in Washington DC. The next time he was in the area I paid a visit to his office. I was welcomed, treated with proper respect and surprise, my problem disappeared. That person retired a while back, and I really haven't contacted our senators or representatives since. But I know they are there and at least at one time the system worked.

I suspect the word I've been looking for is courage. It takes more courage than I have to run for public office. (And besides I'm too old.) I also suspect it would help if somewhere in ones youth they made the decision they wanted to be in public office. It would be easier to prepare for the job than to try and cover up one's sins later. Funny thing, the good stuff pretty much stays hidden or bypassed. The sins seem to show up, sort of like trying to hide a really smelly cheese.

To those who passed the smelly cheese test, and even to those who will win in this week's elections, congratulations on having that special courage. ~ LadyFisher

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