Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Audacity of Politics

As long-time readers here know, I've had a lifelong interest in politics, all the way back to the 60s when Lyndon Johnson ran against Barry Goldwater, the first presidential election I remember.

As a younger man, my interest in politics was also mixed with a strong leaning toward conservatism and I usually voted for Republican candidates. I'm still pretty conservative and usually vote Republican but over the past decade I have mellowed a great deal. I have voted in the last two Tennessee gubernatorial elections for our current Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen, who was also once the mayor of Nashville. Just as he was an outstanding mayor, he's been an outstanding governor. He's a shrewd businessperson and I believe business skills are extremely advantageous when one is running something as big as a state.

As I said, although I am still interested in politics, I don't get nearly as worked up about it as I once did. I look at candidates and I vote according to my conscience. Usually my preference will be Republican but, as was the case in the last two gubernatorial elections, occasionally I'll "cross over." I rarely display yard signs or bumper stickers anymore and, although I'll still participate in a spirited debate, I am careful when I discuss politics among my friends and never presume that someone has the same leanings I do.

This leads me to a telephone call I received yesterday. To give you some background, about a week ago Wife and I received in the mail an invitation to a "reception" which will take place next week at the home of some good friends. I put reception in quotes because it will actually be a fundraiser for one of the candidates running for governor of Tennessee. There's a primary election this summer and the general election will be in November.

We didn't mind receiving the invite from our friends but we also didn't mind tossing it when we saw that the price of admission was a minimum of $500. There was no reply required and I'm guessing our friends hosting the event gave a list of quite a few names to the staff of the candidate. We promptly threw it away and have not given it a thought since.

That is, until I received the aforementioned phone call yesterday.

"Bob," the voice on the other end said when I answered, "this is ________ and I am a friend of ______________ (our friends hosting the reception)."

He went on to say that he was following up to see if Wife and I had received the invitation. I told him yes, we had received it and then asked him, "Doesn't this require a pretty hefty contribution?"

He confirmed that a $500 contribution would get us in. I told him thank you for the invitation but we would not be attending, although we would give consideration to voting for this candidate. Our friends' endorsement carries some weight with us and we've had some other friends express an interest in this particular candidate as well. He thanked me for my time and we said goodbye.

Within about 30 seconds my phone rang and it was this guy again.

"Bob, this is _________ again."

"Yes?" I said, mildly annoyed.

"Well, I was just thinking after we got off the phone that I should call you back and tell you that, if your finances are tight right now . . . . "

And then I became more than mildly annoyed. I interrupted him and told him to hold on just a minute. I didn't say one word about our finances being "tight," I told him. Then I explained to him that we have a certain amount of funds we allocate for giving to certain things, and right now I had no desire to give to any political candidate, not to mention that I am undecided about the governor's race.

Then, as if he hadn't heard me, he said, "Well what I was going to suggest was that maybe you could contact some other people who have some resources and bring them with you, and you and your wife can just come."

And as if that weren't enough, he then proceeded to tell me how he and his wife were so enamored with this candidate, that they had decided to just take part of their "offering" (I guess he meant what he gives to his church) and re-direct it toward this guy running for governor.

And with that, friends, I was rendered speechless and I ended the call.

Is it any wonder the people in this country are FED UP with politics, whether it's on the national, state or local level?


Debby said...

Wow. Just. Wow.

Nothing else to say. Just wow.

Pam said...

Like Debby...Just "WOW!!" That's audacity to the max!

I'm afraid I would have dispensed with niceties long before you did!

Kelly said...

Yep, I think you were nicer than I would have been.

I have no problem saying, "I'm not interested, but thank you for calling." then hanging up before getting a response.

Pencil Writer said...

I'm sorry. I'm chuckling. His idea of "taking some of his 'offering' (presumably to/for God) and giving it to a politician?" Oh, that's def the kind of guy I want to back, having my back???? Yup. Gotta stumble off stage dumbstruck.

I'm sure the political scene will just gravitate to the more bizarre. Soon. Hope your friends know what they're getting into...just sayin'.

quid said...

OMG. Is it all about money now? It feels like it is. Tell me it isn't.