When I voted early and looked at all the choices from the top of the ticket to the bottom—from president to soil and water district conservation supervisor—I felt a surge of adrenaline. I felt warm and fuzzy to be part of a country full of aspiring public servants.
The first thing I did with that warm fuzzy feeling was cast a vote against Citizen’s United and for publicly funded elections by voting for Andrew Barnhill for state senator. Mr. Barnhill’s opponent looks like a decent guy, at least from the expensive TV spots. The fact that Michael Lee voted yes for HB2 pretty much assured I’d be voting for his opponent, but expensive TV spots and mailers telling me about “bad boy Barnhill” sealed the deal. At least a couple of times a week, from August until Election Day, Mr. Lee’s supporters sent glossy, supersized, expensive mailers to an address that may as well have a 6-foot-tall blue “D” painted on the front door. My wife and I hosted one of the first local events for Barack Obama. We have a yellow lab! Mailing our address “GOP material” is pointlessly killing trees!
Killing trees aren’t Mr. Lee or his official campaign’s idea. Official campaigns have access to voting registration information. That way Democratic campaigns don’t waste their sparse resources blindly mailing expensive educational material to GOP stalwarts, and GOP campaigns don’t bother me at all. No, these glossy, disgusting mailers were funded by the true deplorables of every campaign season—the dark money deplorables. Dark money cuts the “public” and the “service” out of public-service jobs.
As for the message of the mailers, maybe Mr. Barnhill was a bad boy for a day, but he’s an aspiring public servant. I figure if anyone wants to be public servant, I’d rather they repent early and start small than wait until they are 69 and try to jump to the top of the ticket.
After voting for Mr. Barnhill, I turned my attention to the rest of the races. To the dismay of my yellow lab, I contemplated voting for apprentice public servant Donald J. Trump. Standing in the voting booth, I finally heard the candidate’s desperate cry for help. His was not a campaign of racism, misinformation, bluster, bullying, and hate. Far from it. Had I—had any of us—been willing to scratch beneath the surface of his incendiary rhetoric, his occasionally misogynistic missteps, we would have seen a campaign of compassion from a man desperate for redemption! After a privileged 69 years of thinking only of himself, this penitent man finally was looking to serve the public good.
God be praised!
I scanned the voting screens to find the proper place to cast a vote for the candidate. Because I felt this inexperienced but penitent soul should start small and in the dirt, I wrote Donald J. Trump for soil and water district supervisor. I felt a rush of far left-wing holier-than-thou altruism for about a nanosecond. Before I clicked “confirm” to cast the vote, I saw a vision of my choice bragging about grabbing the petals of every rose bush and splashing “Trump” on every loblolly pine tree in our district. Much like Paul Ryan, John McCain, Michael Steele, and most of the GOP, I suffered an extreme case of buyer’s remorse. The GOP is stuck with him, but I was able to backspace out and reconsider.
After considering Jock Brandis and Andy Wood, I chose the best candidate for the job. I wrote in my wife. She’s been serving others as a nurse for over 30 years and a mother for 25. She’s also a master gardener, a teacher, and understands the reality of climate change. Whether it’s for president or soil and water conservation district supervisor, sometimes a guy’s just got to put on his big boy pants and vote for a woman.