Once upon a time in the land
of the free and home of the brace, you could trust a man’s handshake and his
word was as good as gold.
We celebrated the virtues of
frugality and modesty, idealized those who could not tell a lie and made legends of war heroes and Honest Abe.
Those were the days my
friends, if only they had never ended.
Today, our bankers and
financiers can’t be trusted with a dime of our money, we can’t do the simplest
business without a lawyer, envy celebrities their fortunes and their sexual
And our politicians? They
aren’t crooks anymore, they aren’t the take. They are part of a system that
itself is corrupt, from our cities to our state’s to our nation’s capital. Corruption
is the business of politics. The two parties have divvied up the graft from the
broad array of special interests and legalized it. They have turned political
discourse and debate into a war of divisive messages meant to segment us into
antagonisms while lulling the masses into passivity and helplessness.
Trust, honesty, courage are passé.
We now look for no more than their abstractions in integrity and transparency
as if the coherency of their behavior and its visibility alone were the real
stuff of leadership.
Personally, I long ago
reduced my own political philosophy nothing more, or less, than right of
everyone to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as they see fit, just
as long as they respect those same rights for others.
When I go to the polls June
8, I will vote against who holds public office almost without exception. My
judgments have nothing to do with Democrat or Republican or any other party or
their positions on any particular issue.
It has solely to do with my
sense of their character, whether there is any reason to believe that they
might show courage, honest and are trustworthy.
There may be dozens of great
people running for office but I only have come across four of them that I
believe are people who strive to be honest, have shown the courage of their
convictions and just be worthy of our trust.
Politically, they are all over
the map, left, right and center.
At the top of the ticket,
running for the United States Senate is Mickey Kaus, a journalist who became
one of the first great bloggers with the Kaus Files and became a mainstay at
Kaus is a maverick Democrat
who believes Barbara Boxer is the worst kind of political hack who achieved
little or nothing in her three terms except wasting a seat in the Senate and
pandering to the party faithful’s prejudices without actually achieving what
they want or looking after the interests of her state.
Then, there’s Marcy Winograd
who is an ultra-liberal environmental idealist who has mounted an aggressive challenge
to long-time Rep. Jane Harman in the
Congress of the
the country club except that the perks and sense of self-importance is so much
I’ve spent some time with
state Sen. Gloria Romero because I believe as she does that are schools will
never succeed unless parents are fully involved and have at least as much say
in their educations as unions, bureaucrats and the education establishment. She
stood up to all them and brought enough of her party along to get legislation adopted
earlier this year that gives parents real power over the schools. Other states
may soon adopt the “parent trigger” as well.
Romero is the only major
candidate for the non-partisan State Superintendent of Education who is
independent of the education lobby and has intellectual credibility to embrace
Finally, there is Sunder
Ramani, who is running in the special election to succeed Paul Krekorian in the
state Assembly representing
There is nothing idelogicial
about Ramani. He is a successful businessman who has devoted himself for 25
years to volunteering in a broad range of community groups and won the respect
of hundreds of community leaders.
In my list of political
virtues, I left some that may be the most important: Common sense and a caring
heart. That’s why of all the candidates I’ve encountered, Sunder Ramani is the
one I most want to win.
Frankly, I don’t care if you
agree with me on any of these four people. That isn’t the point.
What matters is that you get
past the slogans and the attack ads and ideological nails hammered into your
brains with money raised from special interests and remember the values you
hold dear, the values you look for in a mate and hope to see in your children.
This isn’t some war game we’re
playing where one side wins and the other surrenders. This is our city, our
state, our nation. We’ve all got to win or feel like we had a fair chance at
winning or we’re all just a bunch of losers.