Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Death and Politics: A Love Story ^ | August 20, 2010 | Matt Towery

Posted on 08/20/2010 5:43:15 AM PDT by Kaslin

Some weeks ago, I received a handwritten note from an old friend. Back in the days when I had served in elective office, and when I chaired Newt Gingrich's campaigns, this man had always been there for me. He put up campaign signs and raised money for me. He even allowed me to act as Gingrich campaign treasurer by putting my name on some of Newt's financial disclosure forms. He did so knowing that if we screwed up somehow, he could go to jail.

As he himself would describe it, he was just a regular guy who believed in a certain brand of politics and in certain politicians to see them through. But he was smart and, more, wise. He had the kind of common sense you would instinctively turn to when the fancy consultants and political big-shots could not or would not tell the truth.

His recent letter to me read simply that he had only a few months "left." He told me how much I had meant to him. He went on with praise and other words of genuine friendship. I phoned him, but the number had been disconnected. It's now been another month, and I still can't find him. No one seems to know where or how he is. Although he may be gravely ill, I can't know for certain.

Reflections about my friend inevitably led me to reflections about politics in general. If you have ever actively backed a candidate, donated money, or -- God forbid -- run for office yourself, you'll understand the sentiments that follow.

Elective office is generally for those with big egos, and that's OK. Big egos aren't illegal or even necessarily immoral. And if a politician ever says they don't have one, you've likely got a liar on your hands.

Politics is by nature a collection of people. They come together with a common goal: lifting one person up and over everyone else, and into public office. They give heart and soul to this one person. They do it for a cause bigger than themselves.

Frequently, their efforts amount to mundane tasks. But when you participate in the big league circles of politics, the name of the game often becomes giving and raising huge sums of money. Some who contribute or work to raise cash are rewarded handsomely, providing their candidate wins. Any of a number of appointments can fall into the lap of the loyal campaign supporter -- appointments to commissions, panels and government jobs. Maybe even an ambassadorship, if you've backed the new president of the United States.

The drone workers of the campaign, however -- the average Joes and Janes who work the phones and post the yard signs and decorate the ballroom for the fundraiser -- they usually get left behind when the spoils are dispensed. If they get so much as an invitation to the swearing-in, they're usually flattered.

My reflections made me ashamed. Somewhere a friend may be enjoying the last of what's "left" to him, as he put it. I feel ashamed of myself for not being there now for him. More, I feel ashamed of the much bigger fish that he also helped, but who likely have forgotten him, too.

Well, my friend, you are not forgotten. I won't write your name because I have no idea if you would want that -- and for fear that I could be wrong in assessing your current situation. But I remember you and cherish the friendship we have.

Folks, politicians and their satellites aren't bad people. That said, don't ever fool yourself into thinking that an elected official is anyone's best friend but his or her own. You can side with them when others won't. You can trudge through the hot sun erecting their campaign signs. Or skid through ice and snow as you drive them about. They may be truly grateful, and they may consider you a friend. But they will always put themselves first. And that goes too for glittery TV hosts, prestigious newspaper columnists and other assorted blowhards (including the small, gasping blowhards, like me).

Readers, I know this week's column isn't the dripping read meat that so many like to see. But it's still important for those of you who know and possibly even love politics to realize that -- be you Republican or Democrat -- for most every smiling face you encounter in the political arena, there are countless sincere people who helped put and keep that smile on that political celebrity's face.

And to my dear, lost friend: I don't know where your residence is, but I still know two places you "reside" -- in my mind and in my heart. The good efforts of people like you are what keep this nation afloat. Some of us even recognize it.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections

1 posted on 08/20/2010 5:43:17 AM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

The point—that those who work in politics are human—is a valid one and deserving of the time spent to express it.

I just wish those who worked in politics thought the same of the rest of us. We’re not just the annoying, ignorant masses who are only good for providing pols with votes and money to be taxed. As in the case of the mosque, we’re the heart and soul of this country, and we know more than you about the really important things—not procedure, but what is right and wrong in this country.

So indeed, respect those who work in politics as fellow humans with all the good and bad qualities of humans. But believe it, it’s a lot easier to get us to feel that way about you guys than it is for you guys to think of us as anything but mindless drones who couldn’t survive without you controlling our lives.

2 posted on 08/20/2010 5:50:24 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown. -- written by Robert Towne)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

He seems to categorize all pols as self centered narcissists. While that may be true for a lot of them, it’s unfair to say it’s true for all of them. I appreciate the work that people like him do and I understand because I do small level things behind the scenes for causes I believe in. Anything successful in life is never done by one man or woman. It’s always a group effort even if only one person gets the credit.

3 posted on 08/20/2010 5:53:21 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Folks, politicians and their satellites aren't bad people.
That said, don't ever fool yourself into thinking
that an elected official is anyone’s best friend
but his or her own.

Narcissism is the dominant personality disorder of Politicians
There must be a better way to
select people into positions of Governance...

4 posted on 08/20/2010 5:53:49 AM PDT by HangnJudge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson