Monday, January 14, 2013

A Knock at the Door

Actually, it was a ring at the doorbell, but “A knock at the door” sounds more portentous, somehow. Saturday morning I was messing around on the computer when I heard someone at the front door. It being Saturday, UPS was out, so I suspected the Jehovah’s Witnesses or maybe some teenage Baptists wanting to tell me how I could predict whether I’m going to hell.

I was close. The man who appeared at my door is a candidate in the upcoming special election for state representative, district 65. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call him Hussein Sumac. Obviously that’s not his real name, but it’s close, at least the way my brain figures close. 

Mr. Sumac informed me that the special election is being held due to the incumbent having to resign over ill health. The two people running are Mr. Sumac and another Republican. Mr. Sumac preceded to make his case, as outlined below. My thoughts, none of which I was unkind enough to voice out loud, follow in italics.

First of all, he’s a conservative.
Me: I’m not. (That was actually out loud.)

He’s a businessman.
Me: So you actually have no prior experience in government.

He built his business himself, but most of his business is out of state, so there is no conflict of interest with him running for election.

Does “by himself” include a loan from the SBA? Actually, I’m impressed he thought to bring up conflict of interest. Most Louisiana politicians seem to think it’s a myth, like global warming.

Unlike his opponent, he has no ties to the political establishment.

So not only do you have no experience in government, but none of your friends and associates do, either.

He has decided to run for office because he’s tired of seeing so many politicians who seem really dumb.

Dr. Dunning, meet Dr. Kruger.

He is funding his own campaign.

So no Republican funding sources think enough of your chances to donate to your campaign.

He has always lived in this area, and has attended the same church since he was five.

So you aren’t big on exposing yourself to new and possibly contradictory ideas.

He is honest. His wife can vouch for his honesty, because no one knows you like your spouse.

No one knows me like my spouse, either, but if I were running for office, there would be a limit on what he could reveal about me and live.

After he leaves, I look at his literature and read that he is “Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Pro-Gun, and Anti-Tax”. I wish I had read that before I let him get away, because I have some questions. He is running for a political office that will provide him with a salary and benefits. How does he propose the state pay him without taxes? 

And he’s pro-life? I should have asked him what his plans are to bring down Louisiana’s appalling infant mortality rate, which has us ranked 49th out of 50 states in the nation, and not in a good way. I should have asked him his pro-life plans to do something about Louisiana’s gun death rate, the worst in the nation. Oh, wait, he’s pro-gun. Well, guns don’t kill people, Louisianans kill people.

I need to research his opponent, who does at least have government experience as a member of the city council. I may wind up voting for Hussein Sumac after all. 

One time many years ago, I lamented to my dad about the two hopeless choices I had in a statewide election. “Just don’t vote,” he advised. 

“Dad, one of them is going to win. If I don’t vote, I’m just letting someone else choose for me.” 

That’s just as true today as it was then.


  1. I'm amazed that there are only two very conservative individuals running for this position. That kind of defeats the purpose of having an election.

    Here in Toronto we have four major political parties. One of them almost never wins the election (but has enough power to swing it when the bigger parties irritate them), one that occasionally wins and two that win the rest of the time.

    My husband has been known to grill certain candidates if they're from the party he completely disagrees with. They tend to give up quickly when he answers the door.

    You're not the only one who apparently has talking points ready for this situation! :)

    1. My local elections once had only two candidates running. Both were male, had similar beards, were from the same ethnic background, were members of the same political party (only one was endorsed as a candidate), and were similar heights. I shook hands with one at the polling station and I still don't know which candidate that was!

      The endorsed candidate won, I flipped a coin in the booth to choose. Quickest vote ever.

      The system for that local government has changed recently, and now everyone votes from a pool of candidates rather than by ward. Last election they had to choose between 24 candidates for four seats, with a wide range of politics, candidate backgrounds and possibly mental health states represented. Where I now live was considerably less interesting politically speaking I have to say, although we did manage 6 candidates at least.