What I want…
Today I made the mistake of allowing myself to think. Scary, right? In all seriousness, after the more involved portion of my flight the last 90 minutes or so was staring at trees waiting for people to leave. Left me with spare brain-bytes, and they turned to politics. To be specific, they turned to what I want from those in politics. Yeah, I entered that particular rabbit hole. I’m happy I found my way back out. Now for a slightly more prepared return journey. The top ten things I look for in politicians (yes, these are all going to reference males. No, they don’t have to be male to get my vote. No, I don’t care if it offends you. I have every right to say whatever I want. You have every right not to read it. Bye!) :
1. Honesty – Yes, honesty. I want him to be faithful to his wife, I want him to tell the truth, not make promises he has no intention of keeping. Basically, if I wouldn’t want him as a friend, I don’t want him representing me.
2. Stubbornness – By this I mean I want someone who will stand up for what they think, and what they believe to be right. I don’t want a ‘team player’, or the type of person who always seeks consensus. I don’t want someone who will never admit they are wrong, but constantly giving up isn’t a good way to win my trust.
3. A cool head – Somebody who doesn’t get worked up over every little thing. I don’t need someone representing me who can’t maintain their composure during a debate, speech, or town-hall meeting. If thirty teenage boys managed to find a way to stand there stone faced as our pissed-off TI cussed us out for doing something exactly how he told us to ten minutes prior as a way of testing our bearing, a grown-ass man should be able to figure out how not to get his panties in a twist over his opponent calling him a moron.
4. Jobs – I want to know what they’ve done. I don’t necessarily trust someone who has never done anything but stock shelves or flip burgers to look out for my best interests. Nor do I necessarily want someone who has spent the last twenty years lobbying for this company or that special interest group moving into that seat. Basically, I want to know what has shaped them in a way that I should trust them to serve me if they’re elected.
5. Military service – Yeah, this my number five. I know, it kinda fits in with number four above, but it’s varied enough it deserves it’s own set. By this, I don’t just mean ‘oh, they served. They get my vote! No, I look at what they did. Are they proud of it, are they using it as a crutch, are they exaggerating what they did, trying to underplay it, or is it the only thing of substance in their campaign. You know what I mean, I’ve seen the good and the bad on both sides. I’ve seen the recent Iraq vet who runs entirely on ‘I served’ without any substance to his campaign, he talks about how he was ‘over there’ and how you find a ‘new way of looking at things when you put your life on the line’. Turns out he never really left the wire, stayed quite safe in the green zone, most danger he was ever in was a mortar or two that landed somewhere within a mile of him. Not exactly the type to inspire confidence. Then you have the vet who makes a passing mention of what they did, say they ‘saw a bit of combat’, but moves on to discuss their beliefs, and where they stand on issues. You look into it, turns out they were in Fallujah, or swept the Taliban out of Helmand (yes, the Brits took the lead on that, I know. I also know that jokingly asking when they’re gonna ‘turn that World Cup bullshit off’ is very good way to learn if you can out run the SAS guy wielding a pitcher of hot milk. SPOILER ALERT: No, you can’t outrun him. Nor can you ever get the smell out of your flight suit. The ‘peace offering’ of the block of Russian tea will however make them laugh enough that you can come hang out again). Not that every combat vet is great, sometimes it’s the REMF’s who downplay service and focus on the issues while the combat vet only has that leg to stand on. Why do I look at that? Not because they served, but because of what they had to deal with. In the military, even most of our bureaucrats hate bureaucrats. Seriously, I used to get pissed at Finance and PERSCO for being closed all the time for training until I found out THEY were pissed about it too. Apparently it’s always crap the bureaucrats higher up the food chain come up with in fits of ‘Ah! I need to justify my job again!’
6. View of the Constitution – ‘It’s a living document.’ ‘It’s outdated.’ ‘It’s just a bunch of words written by dead white racists.’ No. It’s the document everything else is based on. Show respect, and show that you understand stand that there is a SPECIFIC WAY TO CHANGE IT. If they meant for the meaning of the words to twist depending on who got pissy about it, the process of amending it wouldn’t be SPELLED OUT IN PLAIN LANGUAGE. Saying it needs to be ‘updated’? hey, that’s your position, okay. But saying that we should ignore what it says because it’s ‘not right for how we live now? Not getting my vote.
7. Role of <insert office they seek here> – I don’t want someone who wants to legislate from the bench, make a crap ton of new laws without eliminating a bunch of the crap we already have, or trying to bypass those who are responsible for making said laws just because they couldn’t get their way. I want them to stick to what they are responsible for, and to serve us in the best way possible.
8. What they want to accomplish – They want to ease restrictions on X or tighten up the regulations on Y? Are they honest about it? Has it been thought through? Saying ‘save the planet’ is all well and good, but what are the consequences of what you want to do? I want you to at least have logical answers and reasons behind what you seek. I may not agree with you, but if you can make me at least consider your point with facts and logic, not just emotional ‘but think of the children/whales/ferry shrimp’ it’s possible that even I still don’t necessarily support that position I could go from an opposing view to a neutral one. On the other hand, even if I agree with you on something, if you approach from an emotional viewpoint, or have some out-of-left-field theory on it, I could move from supporting you to an ‘I won’t campaign against you, but I sure as heck won’t support you’. It’s not just the ends, it’s also how you get there.
9. Ability to think on their feet – Not quite the same as saying cool-headed. This more of me gauging what happens after they remain calm. Are they actually answering the out-of-nowhere question with a bit of thought and substance, are they completely flustered and shut down, or spouting off talking points with only a vague relation to the topic at hand? Also, are they boring as they respond, or do they find a way to weave the crowd into it? That last is one of those things that seems to be hit or miss with most people, no real middle ground.
10. Where do they stand on leaving me the hell alone – This, while the last of the big ten, is quite possibly the most important. I don’t want somebody who wants to protect me from myself, or from all the ‘bad things’ out there. I want them to trust me to care for me. Don’t try to regulate me into health or ‘societal norms’. Just let me be. While a red flag on some of the earlier ones is still survivable, this one is a no-go. If they don’t meet it, they don’t get my support.
Those are the ten things I look for first in anyone seeking my vote, regardless of the office they seek. Anything not clear, or not make sense? What are your top ten/five/three/eleventy billion things?