I don’t like demagogues, revolutionaries, or charismatic leaders. I prefer politicians who are as middle-of-the-road and monotonous as me. I like those who serve as ballast, sitting in the center of the boat and suppressing dramatic rocking actions.
I want political progress to inch along slowly, deliberately, and contemplatively, rather than dramatically jumping back and forth. And I want to read about it not on the front page of the newspaper, but somewhere around page 10.
I prefer political leaders who hem and haw. I like them best when they scratch their heads and say such things as, “Gee, I don’t know,” “Shucks, maybe,” and “Heck, I guess so.” I like a legislator who votes for or against a bill and then later says, “Hmm. Maybe I should have gone the other way.”
That’s because I want our politicians to be reflective. They’re making important decisions that affect our lives, so I want them to cogitate carefully about what they support and what they resist.
Let’s not hold it against them when they waffle. Allow them to change their minds a dozen times. There’s a difference between being vague and evasive, and frankly admitting, “I don’t know.” Evasive politicians have already decided. They just don’t want to reveal their decision. But the truly indecisive ones are candid about their inability to make up their minds.
Am I right? I think I am. Or maybe not.
And I believe those leaders are dangerous, who pound the podium with thundering declarations, while stirring up crowds and making news headlines. They make politics exciting, but they also put everyone in peril. They stir up movements that inspire equal and opposite counter-movements. The resulting conflict polarizes our country, destabilizes our institutions, and hamstrings progress.
At least, that’s my view.
Family members turn against each other. Violence against those who disagree with us becomes acceptable. And the economy suffers when the present is chaotic and the future contains great uncertainties.
What do you think? Correct me if I’m wrong.
But moderate politicians have a soothing effect on society. They help us keep calm, stable, and on steady footing. Sure they may be monotonous, and at times exasperating in their indecisiveness. And their mealy-mouthed speeches do have a soporific way of inducing comas. But when you listen carefully, you’ll find them complex, thought-provoking, and empathetic to all sides.
This is my current belief.
Tomorrow is Election Day. I encourage you to get out and vote, if you haven’t done so already. And please be careful, deliberate, and reflective in the manner in which you vote. Yes, please be boring tomorrow. As you study your ballot, take your time. Look for those candidates who interest you the least. Avoid the exciting ones. Seek out the eggheads, the nerds, and the wishy-washy, mealy-mouths. And put your “X” by their names.
(But only if you really want to.)