We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
An occupational hazard of writing in the newspaper is that people will often ask for advice.
Today’s Election Day is no exception.
Friends and family will slip up in a hallway or slip into a conversation, “So ... who should I vote for?”
Well, let me say this about that. I’m the last person you want to ask.
I have voted for an Augusta mayor, a Richmond County sheriff, a state school superintendent and several state legislators who went to prison.
I have voted for two presidents, one Republican and one Democrat, who didn’t go to prison, but should have.
My goodness, I picked the Miami Marlins to go to the World Series.
Obviously my crystal ball is cloudy.
But yours probably is, too.
As I have written before, most of us lack the confidence of party zealots, the faith in political systems or the money to contribute to a campaign and thus buy a share of future fortune. But we cast our votes anyway.
It’s like throwing a penny into some charity fountain – we hope it eventually adds to the greater good, but there’s no way to know.
What’s a thoughtful, patriotic, well-read, independent American to do?
Here’s my best advice – you choose a candidate the way you make other choices in life.
• Choose your candidate like you choose your dentist. Ask yourself, will he hurt me? Will he cost me? Will he make me smile?
• Choose your candidate like you choose an auto mechanic. Does he know how things work? Does he know why things break? Can he fix them when they do?
• Choose your candidate like you choose your pastor. Will he visit me if I’m sick? Will he explain the big picture? Will I ultimately benefit in the very long run?
• Choose your candidate like you choose a doctor. Does he know why I feel bad? Can he make me feel good? Can I afford it?
• Choose your candidate like you choose your insurance agent. Will he be there when I need him? Will he have my life covered? Will I get a nifty calendar every year?
• Choose your candidate like you choose your exterminator. Will he find the pests hidden around the place? Will he get rid of pests? Will he keep them from coming back?
• Choose your candidate like you would choose your attorney. Does he know the law? Does he know the judge? Will he keep me out of jail?
• Choose your candidate like you choose your plumber. Is he not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work? Can he get the process unclogged? Can he keep working when something stinks?
Choose well. As my father told me long ago, we might elect someone who embarrasses us, but this is too great a country for one person to ruin.